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    News / Foamy Stories

    Foamy Stories
    For the love of gastronomy

    Piotr Tomalak | Trade Marketing Director at Kompania Piwowarska

    Before he joined our great company, he had worked for Red Bull and Coca-Cola. He took over as Trade Marketing Director in 2021. Prior to that, he had held the Gastronomy Development Director position for three years. He started his professional career as Sales Representative, and successfully climbed up, working as Regional Sales Manager, Key Account Manager, and Sales Department Director. As he says himself: in each of these roles, trade marketing has been an integral part of business.

    Published on 30.09.2022

    Photo credit: Rafał Siderski

    If you want to know what will happen in retail trade in a year or two, take a look at what’s going on in gastronomy at the moment.

    Let’s go back a few years, to the times when Asian and Italian cuisine, sushi and burgers were booming. How many people out of 100 had their very first burger or sushi in an outlet, and how may at home? Similarly – how many people drank their first Pilsner Urquell or Aperol Spritz in a pub, restaurant, and how may at home? I bet that out of 100, 97-98 experienced that for the first time in a gastronomic venue, and only then took it home to share with friends and family. If you want to know what people will eat and drink at home in a year or two, go to a gastronomic outlet and check what’s currently most popular on the tables and in the bar. Gastronomy builds and creates habits and experiences, which we often incorporate in our lives for ever.

    Hard times for the industry

    Nowadays, the industry is going through some hard times. Challenged by the lockdowns during the pandemic, the Polish Deal, soaring inflation and staff shortages; because if people have to give something up, it will be entertainment outside of their homes. Following the lockdowns, we had to rebuild beer stocks from scratch in approximately 17,000 outlets.

    Many restaurants, especially premium ones, had to reinvent themselves and focus on different customers. In large metropolises, like Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk or Wrocław, the HoReCa sector got the traffic back, but smaller cities never bounced back to the pre- pandemic level. I believe that this market will be recovering for another 2-3 years, and it is hard to say now what other challenges might emerge over that time.

    Suburban gastronomy

    From the perspective of Warsaw – for many centrally located restaurants, a vast majority of revenue was generated by lunches and dinners for corporate employees, wealthy organized groups and other professional groups. Today, these people most work remotely and do not feel the need to go out. There are almost no foreign tourists who visit Poland for one or two weeks. The gastronomic business is currently based on individual customers. On the other hand, Warsaw-based individual customers living in the district of Kabaty, Urysnów or Mokotów, where there are outlets too, when given the choice – take a tram or uber to the centre or eat and drink close to home – will eat in a nearby venue.

    Before the pandemic, the city centre was driving the traffic, more specifically clubs, restaurants and popular hotspots. Everyone was going downtown. At the moment, entertainment attracts people to the suburbs. That’s where we have been observing impressive venue growth. In newly built residential complexes, besides a mandatory local grocery store, more and more gastronomic venues pop up, offering burgers, stakes or pizza.

    If you want to eat well and have good beer, there is no need to go to the city centre any more. Previously, we had been focused on crowded outlets, but now we have to change our way of thinking and realize that it is not all about the centres of Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk or Sopot, because people feel the need to go out locally. And since there is no business or tourists, who were generating downtown traffic before, the playing field has evened out a bit.

    Beer in the open air

    What is also developing – as a post-lockdown phenomenon – are typically outdoor venues, for example by a river, in the mountains or at a lake, where the traffic used to be seasonal or where there were no gastronomic outlets at all. We supported our partners, providing equipment and infrastructure necessary to launch a venue. These places often grew from low volume to high volume, contrary to the big city, centrally located spots, which recorded even 80% revenue drops in the worst moments of 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile small businesses surrounded by nature, somewhere by a river or lake, started growing significantly. Poles still enjoy being outdoors; in a forest, riverside, boulevard, lake or mountain trails. The venues there offer lower prices, because their expenses are lower. We will follow other trends with our offer and skilfully allocate our development powers.