Restaurant chain City Grill to open hotel in historic Bucharest building
Romanian restaurant group City Grill is planning to open its first hotel in the historic building that also houses its Hanu' Berarilor (Brewers' Hall) restaurant in Bucharest's Old Town, the first part of its expansion plans.
The hotel will open on July 1 and will have 22 rooms. Dragoş Petrescu, head of the City Grill Group, said that the new hotel, just like the restaurants, will cater to middle-income customers.
The group intends to invest in a second, 18-room hotel, also located in the Old Town.
City Grill had plans to expand before the pandemic, but it paused them to weather the period of restrictions that hit the hospitality industry especially hard.
Opening a hotel after the pandemic might seem risky, but Petrescu plans to use technology to limit the number of employees and cut back on operating costs.
"It will be a smart hotel, a place where technology and digitalization have an important role with regard to reservations, orders, opening the room – all of this will take place through a smartphone," Petrescu said in an interview with Ziarul Financiar.
He argued that people who had to leave the hospitality industry during the pandemic are not likely to come back.
"In today's market conditions, when it is so difficult to find people willing to return to an industry so affected in these two years, it is something to think about," Petrescu added.
Despite the pandemic, the restaurant chain saw a 12% increase in the frequency of orders.
City Grill, which operated only restaurants so far, has roughly 1,400 employees. Of these, 160 are foreign workers from Asia.
The group's investments, which also include new restaurants and a central kitchen located in Bucharest's District 1, require 300 more hires.