Chefs' recipes for a restaurant to be successful

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He knows what it's like to have to close a restaurant. Paco Morales speaks naturally about the two locks he experienced: one at the Hotel de Las Letras in Madrid, and the other at the Hotel Ferrero, in Bocairent (Valencia), where he had a Michelin star. An experience that he, he recognizes, adds up. So much so as to set the stage in 2016 for what is, until now, his great success: the Noor restaurant, in his hometown, Córdoba, which this year has given him one of the greatest joys for a chef, as it is the third Michelin star. With his background, he knows that success is increasingly complex. Several factors come into play, such as people and an increasingly changing society. “The key is day to day. There is no magic formula, given that the paradigm of gastronomy is changing, from the relationship with suppliers, with workers, collaborators or clients, where only understanding fits. “He also knows what failure is Dabiz Muñoz. The lights shine brighter than the shadows on the three-time best chef in the world, according to The Best Chef Awards. His restaurant DiverXO is, with three Michelin stars, in third position in The World's 50 Best Restaurants, waiting to move in 2025 to the exclusive urbanization of La Finca, in Madrid, where it plans to invest 14 million euros. in the new location. In addition, he has just opened a replica of one of his most informal concepts, such as StreetXO, in Dubai, a format that he had to close three years ago in London. One of the secrets so that everything he touches – this includes the RavioXO restaurant or the Pollos Muñoz food truck – becomes a success, he explains that it is due, among other reasons, to the fact that «we try to make creative philosophy and demand the best in the world, given that any project we undertake has to be important for the bottom line,” says Muñoz. Another key is order and organization. One of the big changes in the UniverXO group, chaired by his wife, the television presenter, Cristina Pedroche, has to do with all this: “We have gone from being three people to being 28.” The professionalization of the company has been decisive for its growth. “It has helped us open our minds, to organize ourselves better, to realize that success not only lies in the restaurant but in the people who work in it. To know that an operations director is necessary and that the great deficiency we have in the sector is the lack of professionalization.”Paco Morales, chef and owner of the Noor restaurant, in Córdoba.INMA FLORESPeople are also relevant for Joan Roca, who emphasizes the management of human resources, resources of all kinds and the professionalization of business. And he warns that “today more than ever you have to be aware of what you are getting into, since the difficult thing in this sector is to make a business of this type reasonably profitable.” He doesn't want to lecture anyone. Everyone has their recipe, their dreams and their hopes, but they know that the profession has changed, as have the concerns and priorities of those who dedicate themselves to it. It has nothing to do with the dedication and sacrifice, for example, of their parents, Montserrat Fontané and Josep Roca, who in the sixties opened Can Roca, a few meters from where years later their three children —Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca achieved glory with El Celler de Can Roca, twice voted the best restaurant in the world. “My parents, who were hungry when they were little, never closed the restaurant and neither did we when we were young. We worked 16 hours every day. Those were other times, when personal life was mixed with professional life, it was a way of life, and it was what allowed you to be sustainable over time.”More informationAll this has changed. He lives it firsthand: his son Marc and his nephew Martí—son of Josep Roca—have joined the family business. «Now to retain talent and prevent it from migrating to other sectors, we must take care of it, and that involves maintaining the quality of life and improving working conditions, to dignify not only the job of cook, but also that of waiter, and to do so It is necessary for society to understand it.” The entry of investment funds into the restaurant business has changed the landscape, observes Roca. “They have modified the way they earn money, they seek to obtain a higher profitability than what the banks offer, and that makes it more difficult for those who intend, as was the case of my parents or ourselves, to have a way of life. ”. Despite all the siren songs that may appear, the Roca brothers' motto has always been prudence. Do not seek success for success's sake, «do not stretch your arm further than your sleeve», but bet on the environment, on what happens around the Taialà neighborhood, in Girona, where they grew up and where they continue, and on everything that entails integrate the family. “We do not want to grow for the sake of growth, we do not want to add more benefits, since we give more importance to being than to having.”The chefs Dabiz Muñoz and Joan Roca, during a meeting held in the economic newspaper 'Cinco Días'.The chefs Dabiz Muñoz and Joan Roca, during a meeting held in the economic newspaper 'Cinco Días'.Juan Lázaro18 years have passed since Nino Redruello—fourth generation of the La Ancha family—began his adventure, following in the footsteps of his father and of his uncle, Antonio and Santiago Redruello, in the restaurant business, with Las Tortillas de Gabino. “Before everything was simpler, managing a business was much more satisfactory. Now you need an illuminologist, a sociologist, a decorator…, it is a very free field, but also more complicated.» To begin with, he explains, it is necessary to create an impact on the client, in addition to managing and administering the business, while betting on flexible companies, given that the world changes at breakneck speed. “What is valid today is no longer valid tomorrow.” Therefore, management must be professionalized, Redruello agrees with the rest of the chefs consulted for this report. «Before you worried about the croquette that you had to make so that customers came to the restaurant, now administration and data are essential, in addition to controlling purchasing management to the millimeter.» Despite the gear required, this chef, entrepreneur and generator of gastronomic concepts, who manages businesses such as La Ancha, Fismuler, The Omar, Molino de Pez, or Hijos de Tomás, and employs more than 550 people, is clear that the projects that work in hospitality are the real ones, “those that count for something, and it is that passion that makes you earn money, and not the other way around.” He does not believe in the business that is set up just to make money. And he also knows, he did it with La Gabinoteca, what it's like to have to close a store. “This is a job where you have to satisfy customers every day. You play it with each client. I always heard my father say that every day should be as if it were the inauguration day. Success is a mystery, with several measuring sticks. This is what Javier Sanz, chef and owner, together with Juan Sahuquillo, believes of the phenomenon that marked the emergence three years ago of Cañitas Maite, in Casas-Ibáñez, in Albacete, on the gastronomic map. That year they won all the awards, for the best croquette, for the best pickle, and they were even recognized as revelation chefs. It was the starting point for everything that came after: opening in the same town a more radical cuisine concept such as OBA, with which they obtained their first Michelin star, an award that they have also achieved at the CEBO restaurant, inside the Urban hotel. , in Madrid. “You know that with this type of concepts you achieve a different type of success, with recognitions such as the star, and where you know that perhaps you do not have as much clientele as with a more informal concept, like that of Cañitas or that of Eñe [el nuevo local que han abierto en El Corte Inglés de Albacete, que abrirán también en Madrid y en Valencia], which is being a success because it is aimed at all types of audiences.” Therein lies the challenge: “In knowing what you want to do, who you are addressing, and not mixing the concepts.” And know the strengths. Theirs, in the absence of any other financial lung other than the income they generate, “because we don't have investors,” are found in the wedding banquets they serve. «This year we are going to make 50, and if we didn't have them we wouldn't be able to have a gastronomic restaurant like OBA, which works well for us from Friday to Sunday, and at special times.» Or the foodtruck, where they serve their famous croquettes, “which bills more than some restaurants.” Both he and his partner are clear that they have to roll up their sleeves, do everything and share the business with their loved ones. “To have a solid team it is necessary to make them participate in the results, to make them feel like their own.” Because dreams and obligations go hand in hand.Chefs Javier Sanz and Juan Sahuquillo, at the helm of restaurants such as OBA, Cañitas Maite and La Taberñita, in Casas Ibáñez (Albacete). Chefs Javier Sanz and Juan Sahuquillo, at the helm of restaurants such as OBA, Cañitas Maite and La Taberñita, in Casas Ibáñez (Albacete). CLARA LOZANOYou can follow EL PAÍS Gastro on Instagram and x.