“I think it is unlikely to exist any direct influences on the market. However, in case the expansion proceedings are based on crediting, on exterior investments, the effects will be significant. I think that in the future, those who will decide to invest in coffee-shops, will be more moderate,” said Catalin Mahu (photo), owner of La Mama and Cafepedia.

The main contributing factor to investors’ reluctance in opening restaurants and coffee-shops consists in high rents, and narrow demand.

“High rents for spaces necessary to open a coffee-shop, as well as low revenues as compared to newcomers’ expectations, have led to a consistent offer of coffee-shops for sale in Bucharest at this moment, amid sagging demand. I also think that the market will stabilize”, Mahu added.

For the moment, La Mama and Cafepedia are not gripped by the effects of economic crisis, as the development of new units is carried out from own resources. The company will open three new coffee-shops in Iasi by yearend.

“We have not overhauled the expansion blueprint, as we were relying on inside sources from the beginning, however we do consider a reset of prices in real estate”, stated Mihu.

As for franchising, he sees it as a positive idea in the context of financial crunch: “those who urge to have an own business in the field, they will rather go on something safe, than risking. I believe this crisis will reset the workforce market as well as other aspects of the economy. From my point of view, we are only at the beginning and the year 2009 will be edifying,” Mahu added.

In first nine months this year, Cafepedia coffee-shops registered 25 million lei turnover, having three units in Bucharest , and one in Cluj. Up to now, investments in coffee-shops climbed to 400,000 euros.

For 2008, Mahu forecasts similar turnover announced mid year for Trotter Restaurants, of 10 million euros, up 30% from 2007.