If you have a business you have a story!


by Marta Leite Castro

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Time Out Market

Miami the next destination

1. You launch the challenge of living the restaurant business in a completely different, disruptive…

Very different, the people don’t want any more to go out and have dinner in a traditional environment, with a formal table with another person. They want another kind of experience, they want to experiment different types of food, wine and they want to see other people. We, with this concept manage to give them more than that.

2. Having those factors in mind, the big affluence, the volume of business, the sustained growth takes us to the question of internationalize this brand.

The first thing that we realized was that in an internationalization process the best thing is, probably in this context of the modern world, start with the USA. It is a more predictable market, it is a market where is easier for us to get licencing projects and therefore go from there. The first cities are Miami, Boston and Chicago. It will be three business to open soon in the USA.

3. You are in charge of this whole operation, how is it to manage all of this?

My share of work on this is the best part, which is to give body to the concept, which lives from the architecture, design and curatorship. It is indeed a challenge because all of the cities in the world are going to be completely different. We have to create a custom project to a unique city, search for the local restaurants, who are the local artists, the local designers and therefore that’s not an easy task. But it is a lot of fun and there is no other project like this one. It is a project which is our and with these all good things that each city has, it is perfect!

4. When does this idea came up?

Six months after the market opens, the success was huge that the group decided to buy us out, the brand Time Out, the headquarters decided to buy our company. And then they hire me to help them to spread this concept throughout the world. We are doing this for the last two years.

It is needed to have in mind that these projects take a lot time to achieve. The Lisbon project took almost three years to complete. It is normal then that in order to build it, licencing it takes time and it is not easy, especially when we want iconic spaces with potential to grow. Adding all those factors that are needed to make this Market possible, like it happened in the “Cais do Sodré”, with the “Mercado da Ribeira”, in this space it is going to be harsh but then the result will pay all of that effort.

5. What attract you the most in this next destination?

There is a bad spot that I see just like in the “Cais do Sodré”, 5 or 6 years ago, and that drives me to know that I could be the one to change that and make a difference. A good thing to a city, when we are able to help when the city needs the most that is remarkable. And city wants to change, it is very important. Lisbon wanted to change, Lisbon knew that would be great, most of the people were distracted with our quality and all of the sudden that changed.

I think Miami, most of all to the area that we are going to, the touristic area, the South Beach, there is a huge motivation from the locals to change, in giving more interest to the city and not being trashy. And I think we know how to do it and do it in a city that yearn that it is amazing for us.

6. And will we be able to see things Made in Lisbon, or Made in Portugal?

Definitely, that is the commitment in this room, the creative room, all the creative project is here at the “Mercado da Ribeira”, like Hugo Neves and with three architects that only work on international projects.  And one of our biggest missions is to implement some of our key elements overbroad. We are already working on it, from chairs to furniture.

7. More than taking a Market, is taking Portugal?

It is one of the things that I most appreciate, is when I present this project, an idea which came from Lisbon. The Time Out is a British brand, but the Time Out Market is a brand that was born here, in Lisbon, from us, from our concept, and that was only possible because of this team, this city and all the interest that surrounded it.

Every time we pitched this idea, we always make a point of remember that, I may say that in the Miami presentation, we had “pastéis de nata” (Portuguese pastry) in the press conference. And why is that if it is a British brand presenting this idea? Why? Because there is where our brand was born, it is a Lisbon mark. And like I said, we are going to have a lot of Made in Portugal signs in small elements, but more than that it will be our Ethos because it was us that made that with Portuguese creativity.

“Ideally it will be open every six months.”

“Oporto is in standby, it is being discussed.”

8. Were you being able to find a building…

An iconic building, maybe half the size of the Lisbon one, but it had some characteristics like a huge hall where the people could find the strength and the power of this concept, that was important. Besides it is an iconic building, mas designed in a very interesting way. Recent, it has 8 or 9 years old, but a building very strange in Miami, we think that it has the spirit for us to fit in.

We want to open it in the second semester of the next year, sooner the better.

We keep very strong for European projects, Oporto continues to be a city that we want. London as well. In both cities we struggled with important issues of patrimony but we respect that. And we are always looking for cities and we would like to confirm over the next six or seven months three more markets.

9. The Time Out Market has a lot of valences…

The Time Out studio is a case of specific love because it has all parts of the world in it. Making a cultural space is always either a case of unsuccess or making a space that is looking for subsidiary money because ultimately Culture does not have a price tag. And we with a mix of balance between corporate events, entertainment events, we made it to be not only a good to go project as well as a profitable business.

And that is only possible with hard work, with the right people working on it. On that base, be able to have a room where you can have more than food it is amazing. Because allows me to say one thing, we are the first Food Culture and Market. We are the first market that combines food with culture and adding the element of culture to the trend of the food it is a very hard task to do, but we did it.

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