Competitive dynamics in foreign markets

Competitive dynamics in foreign markets

I like to think that wait staffing is a pretty standard economic activity in any country but watching carefully in Florence, Verzanna (Cinque terre) and Santa Margherita (Portofino) is giving me second thoughts. All the waiters and waitresses we’ve encountered seem harried and overwhelmed. Its especially puzzling because they appear to handle volume which is half or two thirds of what someone might be responsible for in a larger establishment in the United States.

Its got me wondering…

–what are the average ratios of tables/patrons to waitstaff in the US vs Italy?
–average sales per wait staff?
–average profit?
–average kitchen size to waitstaff?
–average profit per restaurant sqft?
–average patrons per sqft per day?
Etc.

Another thought I had as we were waiting for the ferry in Vernazza was that I might see the prospect of a tourist business in Italy as appealing if I were a local but I’m not sure I could summon the same enthusiasm for potential market entry as someone looking from the outside in. I wonder how many others like me had that thought?

Ignoring possible legal restrictions, it seems most of the businesses are local owned whereas in the United States people come from all over the world to compete. It seems like that’d be a recipe for great, protected profits and market position. But its such a grind! I can’t stand tourists. And El Dorado rarely exists. So there must be some catch here I’m not getting.

Maybe its just the high taxes.

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