Food

Interview: Igor Belyavsky, creator of Global Point Family

Last December, a branch of the St. Petersburg restaurant Happiness was opened on Chistye Prudy - with this project, the Global Point Family group of companies managing the Happiness, 22.13, Barbaresco and Soho Lounge restaurants in St. Petersburg entered the Moscow market. Two months ago, another place was opened in Moscow - the Barry Bar, and in September small candy stores under the sign "Happiness" will open. Life around talked with the company's founder Igor Belyavsky about the work done and future plans: a restaurant in New York and the creation of an independent cluster in St. Petersburg.

 
Igor Belyavsky - Managing partner and ideological inspirer of the Global Point Family group of companies. In 1998, together with partners, he created the event-booking agency Boomerang Promotion, from which in 2001 the promotion company Dance Planet grew up, and two years later - the communication agency Global Point, which is now one of the largest players in the market and has offices in St. Petersburg, Moscow, New York and Hamburg. In 2008, the company expanded its business by opening its first restaurant in St. Petersburg, Happiness, on Rubinstein Street. Three more establishments followed, and last year Global Point Family entered the Moscow market.

FIRST RESTAURANT

- You have been organizing events and advertising for many years, and now you have restaurants. We decided that you can earn money, or is it some kind of personal story, a dream?

- At heart, to open a restaurant in which I would be pleased to myself and which would reflect my inner world, I wanted to back in the early 2000s. But at that time I did not understand how everything should be. In 2008, the agency went through a period of formation; from a company of 10 people, we grew into a company of 150 people. Then I wanted some outlet, and again I remembered the dream. We found a room on Rubinstein - this is how Happiness appeared, the concept of which we came up with during construction. Moreover, the designer flew at the last moment, and I had to do everything myself, absolutely without experience. Light color and angels - for me it is a symbol of good - yes, I'm pretty straightforward, not a very conceptual person.

“And everything went head over heap. Guests came when we just opened, and we could wait hotter, for example, two hours”

- But, besides the angels, in Happiness someone had to do other things. Still, the food is important in the restaurant.

- We watched various chefs coming even from some rock clubs and canteens. There was no sense from this, and we began to search by friends, we simply asked everyone in a row. So we met with Dima (Dmitry Reshetnikov - the brand chef of all Global Point restaurants. - Approx. Ed.). He hooked us with his approach, ideas, and he also said that he had put three restaurants on his feet, and we bought it. Then, when we brought him to Happiness at the time of construction — it was necessary to order equipment, select a team — it turned out that he had never been a chef anywhere. And everything went head over heap. Guests came when we just opened, and could wait hotter, for example, two hours. Not all, of course, but maybe two out of ten. Despite this, people still came to us, I don’t know why. “Happiness” began that way, but after a year everything turned chocolate.

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EXPANSION TO OTHER CITIES

- You specifically did not change the word "buckwheat" in the Moscow Happiness menu?

- You see, they still say about it: "Let's go to Happiness, there is buckwheat" - good PR!

“But at the same time, they treated drinks in a completely different way: they hired a young, energetic bar manager, and added a bunch of cocktails to the menu.”

- Yes, everything is so, and now St. Petersburg “Happiness” will change under this Moscow concept. This is most likely connected not with Moscow, but with our experience. We ourselves simply grew up, understood a lot and are now integrating this experience into our establishments. To look at others and do something similar or even different, while losing your personality, is partly evil. You can make absolutely the same menu as in other restaurants, but at the same time remain unique, and this will attract people. The guest may like how the waiter greets you or how he falls on the podium at the entrance ... I exaggerate, of course, but it’s true: often there is something elusive. Once again I will say: I do not like to analyze.

- And why did you open the Barry Bar in Moscow?

- Barry Bar is not like any of our Petersburg establishments. A bit similar in atmosphere to "22.13", but ten times smaller in area. This project was originally invented near Moscow, as part of its founders there is a person who wanted to make a place in this city, this explains everything.

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- Why do you open the first restaurant outside of Russia in New York?

- In Europe, it’s more difficult to switch people to new restaurants that came from outside. If New York is open to this, then in Barcelona, ​​for example, they will find out until the last - who discovered Juan or not Juan? There are no plans to go to Europe so far.

- And where is the confidence that Happiness will take root in New York, the almost gastronomic capital of the world, where there is already everything?

- The concept of "Happiness" should not suffer much, which means everything will remain simple, homely, without any claims to gastronomic delights. "Happiness" is a place for communication, where you can eat delicious homemade simple food. In America it will be the same. And, besides people spoiled and seen everything, there are ordinary people there, reaching for simplicity. Look at me a little skeptically now, right?

"If you open a restaurant with the thought" I’ll go to New York, there’s a lot of dough "- nothing will come of it"

- Well, let's take Isaac Correa, who has recently grown from a chef into a restaurateur. He thinks about the idea of ​​creating a restaurant in America, but even he says that this is a very serious matter. And he grew up there, knows all the corners.

- Time will tell. I think it’s absolutely not important where you open the restaurant. If you want to do this and you have an idea and a mission that you carry, everything will be cool. And if you open a restaurant with the thought "I’ll go to New York, there’s a lot of dough, I’ll earn money," then nothing will come of it.

Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"Restaurant-bar Global Point in St. Petersburg - "22:13"

NOT ONLY BUSINESS

- Do you seriously plan to develop the territory on Konyushennaya Square in St. Petersburg like a cluster?

- We have serious plans, yes. True, now we are faced with the fact that there is a city parking lot and the mayor’s office is reluctant to replace it with our project with a winter ice rink, a summer cinema and a concert and park area. But the process is on. This is an expensive story, but we are very active in it and we hope that we can make a good tandem with either the city administration or the brothers Zingarevich of the Lotte Group, who are building an elite residential complex opposite us.

In the coming years, several underground parking lots may appear in St. Petersburg.

"If there is an opportunity to make the city better and at the same time increase profits from our restaurants - we are more interested

- And this story is also a dream, as with restaurants?

- No, we are not philanthropists. On the one hand, I want the city to become more beautiful, but on the other hand, it’s hard to do it in a place torn away from our restaurants, we take money on credit and need to return it. If there is an opportunity to make the city better and at the same time increase the profit from our restaurants, this is more interesting for us. So this is more of a business model. We could, of course, be able to invest money simply in advertising and thereby increase the guest flow, but to invest in an interesting place for the city and thus increase this flow is much more correct on all sides.

So now looks Konyushennaya Square in St. Petersburg. There is a car park on it.So now looks Konyushennaya Square in St. Petersburg. There is a car park on it.So now looks Konyushennaya Square in St. Petersburg. There is a car park on it.

PRICES AND NICE

- Global Point restaurants are not at all affordable in terms of prices, although the atmosphere and service are, so to speak, on a short foot. As if you want to please everyone at once. How are things really?

“And it's expensive here, right?”

- For example, next to your Moscow “Happiness” there is “Propaganda”, constantly clogged and invariably popular - it is tasty there and the prices are fair. There is Delicatessen, there is Ragout - there it is also cheaper than yours.

- Maybe we made a mistake somewhere in our calculations. In St. Petersburg, "Happiness" is growing, they are coming to us. But the audience has changed, it has grown over the past three years. If earlier it was a fashionable young audience, now it’s people closer to 35, not so fashionable, but striving for peace of mind, a pleasant atmosphere and something simple. But "22.13", on the contrary, is just a more youthful place for a party. "Barbaresco" was immediately made for adults, for such gourmets-hooligans who are not prim at all, but well versed in food. Soho is a symbiosis between 22.13 and Barbaresco. All these places are developing equally well.

"For family restaurants in Moscow and St. Petersburg, brave people are needed who will not be afraid that their point will be smashed"

- In Moscow there are Novikov, Ginza, Restaurant Syndicate, many large serious restaurants and almost nothing to eat on the street, terribly lacking small pleasant places with food. And for some reason you decided to open a candy store now.

“Our pastry shops will include takeaway sandwiches, but of course we will focus on sweets: cupcakes, cakes, cakes, chocolates. We are going to open 4 or 5 restaurants and 10 Happiness confectioneries in Moscow. First we will open in the historical center, but, perhaps, we will go to shopping malls, for example, in Tsvetnoy. As for the small dots throughout the city, the problem is that people have no trust. I judge by myself: I come to New York and enjoy eating sausages on the street, I come to Europe and buy a sandwich on the street. But in Moscow I can’t do this, because I don’t fully trust the same “Dogs”.

Global Point plans to open 10 Happiness confectioneries in Moscow in 2012. The menu will mainly include desserts, but also promise some quick food.

- Here you go.

- It will come someday. Now people here have prejudices that they will deceive you, they will give a stale product. And bold people are needed for family restaurants in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Perhaps you would like to put up your tent and sell anything in it: sausages, sprouted grains. But there is always the possibility that some kind of demonstration will take place and your point will be crushed, or they will draw graffiti on it overnight, or the power structures will come and ask for money - there are too many restrictions that interfere. And you think: I’d better calmly work in someone’s office. That is why small and micro-businesses are not developing. We were also afraid of all this and went through all this, but now we have become strong and are opposed to the system.

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