W.S.F.- When and where did Restalia Group begin?
Anne Corcuera.- Restalia's first brand, 100 Montaditos, was created 13 years ago in southern Spain. Today it is a leading multi-brand holding company with two revolutionary dining concepts (100 Montaditos and La Sureña) and another brand whose launch is imminent. This young, dynamic company, which has 300 restaurants worldwide, recently received an award from the Spanish Hospitality Industry Federation (FEHR) in the category of "Spanish food service company operating internationally"; it was also named Business of the Year 2012.
W.S.F.- Your business model has started a trend that other companies are looking to copy. How did the idea arise?
A.C.- Both brands, 100 M and La Sureña, combine several elements that make them successful: top-flight typical Spanish products, a one price policy (which is very competitive in the market and includes incomparable promotional offers), and a unique experience. The latter is one of the aspects that is most highly valued by consumers, who have classified 100 M as a "LOVE BRAND", i.e. a concept to which buyers are exceedingly loyal.
W.S.F.- 100 Montaditos and La Sureña are especially popular because they are so inexpensive. How can you offer such low prices?
A.C.- Promotions and economical prices have always been part of the brand's DNA. Since inception, we have maintained a policy of combining top quality with the lowest possible price. This is viable because of the extensive network of restaurants which comprise both brands and their positive alliances as a leading company.
W.S.F.- How are you weathering the current situation in Spain? Is it in some way "helpful" in the sense that your restaurants are always full?
A.C.- Broadly speaking, the crisis doesn't benefit anyone; it has quite the opposite effect. However, in recent years, 100 Montaditos and Sureña have continued doing what they do best: providing a good product and good service at a very affordable price. As a result, during the crisis it has become a "haven" of sorts for consumers, since they get the most bang for their buck.
In fact, in response to the new economic situation and the change in cycle, Restalia has launched its 100 Montaditos and Sureña 2.0 models with more affordable investments (starting at 150,000 euros). This enables a new profile of entrepreneur to open a franchise (and make it their livelihood) with more efficient-sized locales (80-100 m2) and with considerable flexibility in terms of location.
W.S.F.- How many direct employees does the group currently have?
A.C- Restalia, which is a holding company, has a total staff of 100 (comprising a team that is young and very dynamic) at its offices in Madrid and Miami. The two brands have created more than 4,500 jobs, and we expect to create another 2,000 in 2013 through future franchises.
W.S.F.- What types of ingredients do you use? From where are they sourced?
A.C.- Our ingredients come from authorized suppliers and they undergo several preservation processes to ensure optimal hygienic and health conditions. All of our products come from authorized suppliers, the lion's share of which are in Spain.
W.S.F.- How do you choose your suppliers and what kind of quality control must they implement to work with you?
A.C.- Our suppliers must comply with rigorous quality standards, and we especially value those that are BRC- and IFS-certified. We perform periodic audits of their facilities, and they must complete a standardization questionnaire, which our quality department uses to decide if the supplier meets our requirements.
W.S.F.- Your project seems to be advancing favorably in other countries. What are your plans for international growth?
A.C.- We currently operate in Spain, Portugal, the US, Mexico and Colombia, and we will be opening soon in Santiago de Chile, Rome, and other markets.
Our goal is to have 500 restaurants in the Americas by 2015, and another 500 in Europe—an ambitious but viable project, considering the extremely positive reaction to the brand outside Spain. In the coming months, we will be opening restaurants in emblematic locations like Washington DC and New York, where we expect the concept to continue to thrive.
The international expansion process, and the reaction to our concept, has thus far been fantastic.