Underutilized Spaces Are the Next Frontier for Independent Restaurants

July 1, 2021
Barbara Castiglia

Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.

 

Food markets are centuries old, but the modern equivalent is a customer-driven experience, blending cuisines from around the world. One incarnation of this is Manifesto Market, which has two locations in Prague with multiple vendors. Its founder and CEO, Martin Barry, joined host Barbara Castiglia on The Main Course.

“I wanted to make a good place to bring people together, using food and culture as the medium.” -Martin Barry

Barry’s background isn’t in the restaurant business. He started his career as a landscape architect, building large-scale urban landscapes for developers. This led him to establish the nonprofit reSITE. “The concept is about creating a more sustainable city and better place to live.”
The organization hosts events and works to bring people together, which led Barry to the idea of modernizing the urban food market in Prague. “I wanted to make a good place to bring people together, using food and culture as the medium.”

Manifesto isn’t just a food market. It hosts live free events and has a mix of offerings from fine dining chefs making their food more accessible to first-time restauranteurs.

In building Manifesto Market, a gastronomical ecosystem was born. Barry described, “It’s diverse flavors of the world coming together and empowering chefs to have the tools they need to deliver food to customers. It’s creating an environment where it’s easy for them to operate. We run the operations.”

Those operations include a high reliance on technology to manage the business side, from automation to communication requests to data collection. The concept is cashless, so they collect data on every transaction. Barry said, “We have a high level of data and generally know what customers like. We have a data scientist on board to identify patterns and tweak menus. This was very important in 2020, as we had to retool slightly for delivery to provide the same culinary experience at home.”

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