Maria, Author at Maria Sundrica Restaurant Consultant
archive,author,author-maria,author-3,bridge-core-2.0.5,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,qode-theme-ver-19.2.1,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.0.5,vc_responsive

Author: Maria

We need your help!

Dear Friends,

First of all, we apologise for reaching out like this but we need all the help we can get at this time.

As you are aware, through COVID, hospitality received assistance from the Government and our VAT was reduced to 5%. This allowed us to raise the wages of our staff and maintain the same prices for you, our valued customers. Sadly, we now have no choice but to raise our prices, as many of the ingredients’ costs have increased. Some  up to 40%.

On October 1st, VAT was increased to 12.5%.  In March 2022, the Government will again increase VAT, this time to 20%.

VAT has always been a burden for the hospitality industry as food doesn’t have VAT and, unlike other industries, we have nothing to claim against VAT. (In Europe VAT for the hospitality industry is between 5 and 9%)

We need your support to help us convince the government that VAT should remain at 12.5% and not be raised to 20%.   Help us, please, so that the food prices at your favourite restaurants do not go up and so that our staff can be paid normal wages!

Write to your MP

UK Hospitality, that we are member off have created a template letter for you to send to your MP. This campaigning tool will mean that within 2 minutes you will be able to easily find your MP and edit a letter to personalise it before sending to them. Dead line for this campaign is 30th October.

Click here to write to your MP

We would appreciate if you can forward this to some of your friends.

Food industry business


So, you’ve successfully founded and run your first business in the food industry and you’re ready to expand. Your hard work has paid off. The time has come. 

A second restaurant? A take-away deli attached to your first business? A third street-food truck in a new location? Whatever the goal, the cohesive expansion of your brand will be a crucial turning point in your success story. 

Here are 4 important pointers on how to continue your concept when you’re expanding your business. 

1. Know your original target audience.

By now, you will hopefully have a good understanding of who your customer is and why they enjoy coming to your first premises: are they families or couples? What’s their pricing sweet spot? Do they crave elaborate food? Or do they come more for the atmosphere you’ve created?

2. And what about the new guy?

Take a step back and profile your customer again, like you may have when you opened your first business. Once you’ve done that, compare them to the target customer in your new venture. What do they have in common? More importantly, how do they differ? Will they have more/less spending power? Will they have less time to eat? Will they expect more value for money?

A clear understanding of your original customer


careful consideration of your new situation


successful concept continuation.

3. One philosophy to rule them all.

If you haven’t done so already, make time to nail down (and write down) your personal mission statement or philosophy. You are about to have businesses… plural. It is more important than ever that you understand why it is you do what you do. Why did you get into the food industry business? What is it that you love? 

Get your philosophy straight and then work hard to make sure it permeates your second venture as much as your first, as well as every reincarnation thereafter. 

4. Every ship needs a captain.

But a fleet needs an admiral. 

One of the most watertight ways to guarantee your concept continues from first location to second, is by having a solid manager on board: one who knows your business inside out, like the back of their hand, even better than you! This manager will run the FLEET: they will oversee the day-to-day at all your locations, keeping a keen eye on concept continuity and speaking with the brand’s voice, while deputising to location managers. If necessary, rob this admiral from the vessel they are currently steering; your original location should already be motoring full steam ahead.

There is so much to learn in the world of hospitality and restaurants. For expert advice and guidance, at every step of the way…

Get in touch with me today.

Yes, key to your restaurant success. 

By now, you will be very aware of the fact that your customers come to your restaurant for much more than a meal; they come for the experience. The fun and romance of eating out, of being anywhere but their own dining room. 

The success or failure of this experience depends upon your ability to suspend reality for a few hours, to provide a kind of magical setting where the customer can forget about the hard day they’ve had, or the one that awaits tomorrow. It is your responsibility not to break this spell, and so every detail must be meticulously cared for, right down to the humble bathroom.

One of the most common mistakes made in this area by new restauranteurs is a lack of planning, and a poor sense of priorities. Opening a restaurant soon? Don’t fall into the trap of leaving your bathrooms till last, running out of money, and settling for launching with the bathroom that was there when you got the place. Imagine how the spell will be broken when your customer gets up from their softly-lit table, strolls past the lilies and tulips by the entrance, and pushes back the swinging door into… an offensively bright bathroom, with ill-placed mirrors and hand dryers from the nineties. 

The clock has struck midnight and Cinderella’s spell is no more.

Your bathroom must be a continuation of the experience created in the main part of the restaurant. Though this is common sense, it is worth stating blatantly and taking seriously: if you’ve gone for a romantic vibe in the dining room, keep the light soft and the flowers abundant in the bathroom. If you’ve gone for a clean, modern approach, keep the bathroom simple and fresh, too. 

The word you should be looking for here is seamless. If you are to protect the customer experience, the transition between all the areas of your restaurant need to be as smooth as possible.

REMEMBER: the amount of attention you pay to the details will determine your restaurant success. Never lose focus of that idea.

Beautiful Delicatessen place

In late summer of 2005, I opened a upscale, beautiful delicatessen selling fine food products. Although the business eventually became a roaring success, the first few weeks left me wondering if I’d made a huge mistake. Almost NOBODY came through the door.

Not one to give up without a fight, I rolled up my sleeves, put on my thinking cap, and listened to my intuition. The series of observations I made next, and the actions I took, are still some of the best lessons I’ve learned in business to this day. What’s more, they are universally useful.


Whatever your business (be it a restaurant or a spice shop), I am certain that they will help you. So, here they are:


Don’t intimidate your customer. 

Wanting to impress, I decorated the delicatessen, BEAUTIFULLY. It looked fancy, top-class… expensive?

On top of this, the line of food products I stocked was special. The kind of food that’s exclusive yet fairly priced, hard to source, desirable… or so I thought. I took a step back and thought for a moment of how I, myself, feel when I walk past a beautiful clothing boutique. Even if I like the clothes in the window, if the shop looks ‘too fancy’, I’m not likely to go in, unless it is very special occasion. “I won’t be able to afford anything in there…”, “The staff will be snooty….”, and on a deeper, subconscious level… “That shop is not for people like me…”. I realised that I had unwittingly intimidated my customers. Many paused and looked in, but few opened the door. A simple and affordable redecoration, and things began to improve.


Make sure your customer doesn’t feel exposed.

Often, when we go into a shop, the last thing we want is the swooping attention of the person working there. Nor do we enjoy feeling observed while we browse.

My lovely delicatessen consisted of a small, but open space. When a customer came in, we were immediately sharing that space. I decided to conduct an experiment: if I gave the customer a few nooks and crannies to move around in, a bit of intimacy for browsing, would they feel safer? Less exposed to my presence? Sure enough, the experiment paid off. I moved few pieces of furniture to create barriers between myself and the customer. More people came in, and even better, they stayed longer, asked questions and yes…. made purchases!


Try to fit in.

My vision had been a speciality delicatessen, one to which people would flock from all over the city of London, just to buy that tin of luxury crab meat that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

And yes, eventually I had some trade like that. But I quickly realised that I did not fit in to the neighbourhood, and that local footfall was going to be the making or breaking of me. It was time to get to know the neighbours. And I knew that I would have to do this in a meaningful way: paying lip service to the idea would not suffice. I got out into the neighbourhood, made friends, attended events, researched what people liked to eat and do, invited people into the delicatessen, and made changes to my line of products which better suited the location. 


Always, ALWAYS see your business with your customers eyes. Make sure you, the premises and the product are approachable. And perhaps most important of all, be adaptable, reactive and don’t give up.

Do you dream of having your own successful restaurant? Are you passionate about creating beautiful food, but need a little help with the business end?

Running a successful restaurant is a one of life’s most challenging and rewarding experiences. But no one can do it alone. 


Sign up for the free Maria Sundrica Ebook and you will:

> improve your attention to detail
> get more customers through the door
> learn industry tips and tricks to save time and money

Send me the free Ebook!

By fill in your details you will be also signed up to my free newsletter, so your can get free tips and advice, right to your inbox.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.