Thematic restaurants in Mexico are experiencing a boom

More and more people socialize in thematic restaurants where, in addition to finding products and food, they also build a community around their tastes and interests.

Thematic restaurants in Mexico are experiencing a boom
Photo by Gadiel Lazcano / Unsplash

The thematic restaurants have become popular among the new generations; the ambiances, food, and drinks are the factors that have driven this market in recent years. More and more entrepreneurs are creating businesses aimed at fans of different films, series, or books to turn these tastes into money, however, must bet on attractive schemes if they want to survive the passage of time, otherwise, run the risk of failure.

Hogwarts, Springfield, Gotham, and Forrest Hill were no longer imaginary worlds. For years, books, TV series, and movies have inspired the creation of themed businesses and restaurants as well as bars, cafes, shops, and even amusement parks.

Over time, this boom has allowed more and more people to socialize in spaces where, in addition to finding products and food, they also build a community around their tastes and interests.

The objective of opening places inspired by series or films has to do with the fact that more and more people are seeking to provide added value to characters outside of the screen or books.

The restaurant industry and related segments in the country have an estimated value of approximately 250 billion pesos and contribute 13 percent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to figures from the National Chamber of Restaurants and Seasoned Food Industry (Canirac).

Pop culture is an element that has taken an important turn and with the release of films strengthens its muscle in the consumer sector. The most profitable film franchise in the world is the Marvel Universe, whose profits amount to 21,245 million dollars, according to Box Office Mojo. It is followed by Star Wars with 9.307 billion dollars and since 2001 when Harry Potter made the big screen, it has raised 9.185 billion dollars in box office takings.

These three brands are the most used as inspiration when it comes to establishing spaces for fans (although they are not the only ones), since, with the launch of spin-offs and special editions, they recover a boom among the fandom.

The magician created by J.K. Rowling is the clearest example of this; the key to his success among Mexicans is that many of his followers, who at the time were involved with the plot, today are young adults who work and can acquire the commemorative products that come to market.

Gerardo Torres, the editorial coordinator at Marvel Mexico, assures that the thematic places are not new, even though at this moment they are experiencing an important boom among the new generations, but the difference with previous decades is the strategy that the businessmen have implemented.

These places are a meeting point because people can meet and connect with other fanatics, something that transcends the barriers of the Internet.

Opportunity to grow

Although this trend began in the 1960s and 1970s with the creation of personalized spaces, little by little Mexico has adapted to the degree that today it is very common to see thematic places and restaurants throughout the national territory.

In bars, restaurants, or cafeterias diners enjoy drinks and dishes with a personalized touch while living with other fans of their favorite series or book.

Adolfo Cotero, a business developer and consultant, says that another important factor in these kinds of places is that when the seasons are over or the latest edition of a book is published, fans can always come back to relive and recreate their favorite moments.

Currently, the restaurant industry is made up of more than 500 thousand businesses, of which between 1 and 2 percent are thematic.

"It is not bad that thematic establishments are opening in Mexico, but their owners must offer additional value to the rest so that they can survive the boom, so it is necessary to offer experiences and not just food".

Restaurants, bars, and themed cafes broke with the boundaries that existed between fantasy and reality through their settings, food, and beverages, making it possible for all types of public to experience what it feels like to be in a different era or within a series, film or book.

The thematic restaurants have become popular among the new generations; the ambiances, food, and drinks are the factors that have driven this market in recent years. Gastronomy is one of the most important factors influencing customer preference, as they offer unconventional menus that adapt to the symbolism of their decoration.

Alex Ortega, named the Simpsons' number 1 fan by the producers of the series, assures that bars or restaurants of this type are capable of transporting people back to their childhood, as it makes them feel as if the characters on the screen were present.

"The coolest feeling is when you know you're going to try a hamburger or drink from the series. They are also important social points because they help to find people with similar tastes," says Ortega.

These kinds of places are mostly attended by individuals between the ages of 25 and 30. The advantage of going to these establishments is that, in addition to being different places, they promote local consumption and commerce.

A touch of fun, added value for restaurants and businesses

People who want to open businesses or restaurants of this type should bear in mind that a large part of their budget will be invested in the environment, as it is the most important added value of these establishments, the basis of the business concept, and the real attraction for the clientele.

For Rubén Dario, creator of the Lovecraft Café concept, the added value is important if you want to have a themed cafeteria.

"It's not just about tasting the food, there must be a fun concept. People like video games, literature, movies, and series, before there were no such spaces and now, with them, we can offer new experiences".

The new generations are the ones who have been most open to these proposals, now prefer to have a coffee in unusual environments, taste foods, strange drinks and drink selfies next to the decoration.

"Imagine an atmosphere oriented to give a construction to the myths of Lovecraft from the dark, distressing and without limits of time and space, these places give a twist to everything, from the decoration, the menu, and desserts that are thematic, an experience that goes far beyond a coffee, here everyone can live with the cosmogony of Lovecraft," says Ruben Dario.

The risky side of themed restaurants

Raising the curtain to a thematic space is the dream of many, however, the main mistake that is made is that it does not analyze the risk of what it means to venture into this world.

Figures do not lie. In Mexico, the average life expectancy of businesses in the country is 7.8 years, but this number is reduced to 6.9 years for the case of the economic sector made up of restaurants, bars, and cafeterias, according to figures from Inegi.

The situation is more complicated when looking at the thematic spaces, because, although there are no exact figures on their mortality, it is enough to review those of the industry, in general, to know how consumer trends are moving and what they are exposed to.

To enter this type of business, it is necessary to know about intellectual property and copyrights due to the legal implications that may arise in the long run due to the improper use of registered trademarks.

In the business world, fashions are fleeting and if restaurateurs cannot adapt to this, not even the magic of Harry Potter or the Marvel Universe can save them from failure.

Adolfo Cotero, a business developer and consultant, believes that these kinds of establishments should be divided in two ways: between those who have survived the passage of time and those who are coming to market as a result of a boom.

He also points out that the risk of entering a monothematic niche is high and if there is no solid strategy, the path will be more complicated.

"Those who venture to undertake inspired by their passions must measure the pulse of the market to know whether the business will remain in force over the years and survive the demands of consumers, otherwise they are doomed to die," says Cotero.

From fantasy to reality

Preparing food and beverages, as well as installing replicas of scenographies allows creating atmospheres where innumerable fans meet. However, to implement concepts inspired by original creations, entrepreneurs need to know more than labor laws, since these are concepts with copyrights and registered trademarks.

In the particular case of Mexico, crimes against intellectual property are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of two to twenty thousand days, by the provisions of the Federal Criminal Code.

For that reason, many establishments avoid elements with registered marks, to avoid infringing some copyright, because no restaurant will want to deal with the legal muscle of the giants of the entertainment industry.

Gerardo Torres, the editorial coordinator at Marvel Mexico, says that beyond the legal issues, another of the biggest mistakes that are made when establishing this type of business is the bad imitations or lack of details that give the magic.

However, the host of the radio show Fan Boys Mx believes that the subtlest tributes are also a good formula for success, because if the boom in the series and movies they are inspired by loses power, other elements can come to the rescue.

By Nayeli Meza and Viviana Bran - Source