The Restaurant People

South Florida Business Journal: YOLO Reimagined

Listen To Podcast

Click on the link above to access the free podcast, where Petrillo shares insights on the state of the industry, how Covid-19 impacted the sector and provides tips for entrepreneurs looking to open their own eateries.

The following is a brief excerpt from the Petrillo interview:

Meléndez: How has the restaurant sector changed since you launched The Restaurant People in the late 1990s?

Petrillo: The industry overall, just like South Florida, has changed. When we first launched, Fort Lauderdale really didn’t have a real downtown. No residents were living downtown. And Las Olas was a retail corridor and was still very seasonal. But Fort Lauderdale, like South Florida, has just boomed. When we first opened, there were probably 1,200 residents in total downtown. Now there are close to 25,000. And like all retail, restaurants follow the beds, right?

Meléndez: As you know, economic challenges often spark new trends. Can we talk about restaurant trends sparked by Covid-19?

Petrillo: Sure. There were good and bad trends sparked by Covid. One trend that is really great for the consumer but really bad for restaurants is delivery services. Because this service results in tremendous cuts to your margin because they take up to 30% of your margin. So that means that restaurants also have to deliver a much more well-rounded experience [for dine-in clientele].

Meléndez: What do you think makes South Florida’s restaurant sector different from other metros?

Petrillo: South Florida in of itself is a very international place. So the diversity in our market’s [restaurant scene] is greater than most places anywhere in the states, especially in Florida. I think people want to experience new things and… that’s why our restaurant market has so many different styles of restaurants, and I think that makes our market special.