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26.10.08

Sustainable pleasures.

I have been thinking quite a lot about sustainability, about the crisis and the trades which will survive or even, get strengthened out of it. Really don't know why, but everything that I went through today, was linked this idea of affordable great experience coming out of well-planed and efficient processes.

Sunday brunch took place in VAPIANO, an incredibly nice place to taste great food without going bankrupt - really suitable for the moment, huh?


How can it be possible? Bueno y Barato? Several reasons.

The serve-yourself is key when combined with clarity in the service. When you hit there, they give you an RFID card that you'll then use around the restaurant, to charge everything you order and pay when leaving the place - planning to leave without bringing the card back to the entrance counter? Bad idea man... Cardless fine goes up to 750:- (around 75€)

The entrance desk.

Then, you join the queue that suits your needs the best: Pasta? Pizza? Antipasti? Or desserts, coffee and spirits from the little bar placed closer to the lounge? Dividing people into different queues increases efficiency and decreases customer dissatisfaction, they can talk with their friends while scanning the flyer containing the menu and planning what to order. Same thing with the different areas, that can be freely selected - of course.

Eating area.

Lounge, for espresso, fika or longdrinks!

Let's-grab-something-fast zone, as cool for efterjobbet as for a special chat.


One asks then to the chef, who will cook in front of you, to your taste. More sauce? No sauce? Less cheese? Extra ingredients? No oil? Not only crystal-clear and fast but also amazing to discuss what could taste best and... Delight yourself when hitting the table!



See, just in front of them - just the hygienical glass in between.


Cheap but fresh.

Once the plate is ready, you will swap your RFID card to charge the consequent amount on your bill. Zip! And done.

You carry your stuff to your place. No waitress constantly filling your glass of water but, who cares? The food tastes good within such a relaxed and glossy atmosphere.

Tables are packed with all-you-need so waitresses are no longer needed.

Some details make it even better. Like the free jelly bears placed at the entrance. Great to lick while waiting to pay - the queue can become really enormous on weekends and evenings. A cheap detail to make the customer feel considered.

Then, we moved to ZARA where I wanted to get some basics. I'm proud to be spanish, even prouder to be spectator and contributor of their umblemished successful growth: They increasing in scale, market segments and locations; becoming 62nd Brand of the world - according to Business Week.

How does one do that?

Zara's secret? It moves fast. With an in-house design team based in in La Coruña, Spain, and a tightly controlled factory and distribution network, the company says it can take a design from drawing board to store shelf in just two weeks. That lets Zara introduce new items every week, which keeps customers coming back again and again to check out the latest styles.

Zara's success is all the more surprising because at least half its factories are in Europe, where wages are many times higher than in Asia and Africa.

Follow-Up for a truly interesting article.

And again, same thing. The well-grease business that takes consumer as starting input, rather than puppet; that immediatly adapts his taste and needs, proving successful on providing just what they expect - never more.

They both remind me of Samba Sushi.
The eating place is tiny, you cannot even see a bathroom - really don't know whether they actually have one, never asked - but the variety of fish is as outstanding as their freshness, the innovation and delicacy when preparing and displaying the dishes is delighting so, if you really love sushi... Immediately fall in love with the place, too. Lagom, as they say here. Big enough to sit. Clean as a hospital and - the most important thing - full of people that love their job and care about you as a customer. More signs of affordable luxury.

The bottom line is that, only those in complete control of their end-to-end processes, using the mix of tech with their own competences to flawlessly provide what the customer expects, being flexible enough to adapt the market pace seem to actually be coming out of this crisis.

The good news - or the interesting ones - for those who look through the other side of the glass are the amount of things one can feel great and loose himself without spending a buck.

Like galleries and VICE. But how did I end up interviewing the artist being an amazing 11-month project that revolved around Britney Spears aka "Miss more google hits than Madonna" is, another story.

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