City Grill Group celebrates 20th anniversary, focuses on employees’ retention

The profile of the group's customers and what guests expect from restaurants.


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City Grill Group celebrates 20 years of activity in the hospitality industry in Romania. City Grill Group restaurants are top destinations for Bucharest residents and foreigners as well, being visited daily by nearly 20,000 customers. According to the group’s representatives, their focus is on education and retention of the employees, and, of course, on the customers’ needs.

City Grill Group started in 2004 with the opening of the City Grill restaurant in Primăverii and 50 employees and it currently includes 10 brands and 24 restaurants, and 1,000 employees.

The representatives of the group told a press conference today marking 20 years of existence that their employees benefit from training courses, training sessions, and a safe and balanced work environment that fosters performance and creativity.

Dragos Petrescu, founder and president of City Grill Group, believes that, within 5-7 years, Romania will outrank Hungary or Greece as hospitality and cuisine destination.

“Twenty years ago, I set out to develop a business in the restaurant market in Bucharest where I could make a difference, set the tone, and set the standard. Together with a solid team, I have succeeded not only in achieving this goal but also in maintaining our top position, remaining the most important local restaurant group, building durable brands loved by the public and recognized internationally,” says Dragoș Petrescu, Founder and President of City Grill Group.

Restaurants that are part of the City Grill Group, such as Caru’ cu Bere, Hanu’ lui Manuc, Pescăruș, Hanu’ Berarilor, City Grill, and Buongiorno Italian, are reference destinations for the Bucharest public, as well as nationally and internationally.

Recently, City Grill Group has completed several major investment projects, including the modernization of the Hanu’ Berarilor – Oprea Soare restaurant and the opening of two hotels under the La Boheme brand, as well as the renovation of some locations in the Buongiorno network.

For this year, City Grill Group estimates a turnover of 60 million euros and has budgeted investments of over 20 million euros in its portfolio restaurants, as well as in development in the restaurant and hotel segment. A particularly important project is the renovation of the locations at Otopeni Airport, which will ensure a remarkable presence of the group in the Departures Terminal.

What do guests expect from restaurants?

According to a survey conducted in April 2024, City Grill Group restaurants are a preferred and frequently visited destination for a large part of the Bucharest public. Conducted on a representative sample of 520 Bucharest residents, the survey revealed that the group’s restaurants are the number one choice for 17.3% of respondents, and in the top three choices for nearly a third of them (31%).

Additionally, the same survey shows that 86% of respondents have visited City Grill Group restaurants at least once, and nearly 40% have visited them in the last three months (39.3%).

More than a third (35.8%) of respondents indicated a City Grill Group restaurant as their favorite, and one in five (22.2%) mentioned the group’s restaurants as the places they frequented the most in the last 90 days.

“Over time, we have continuously learned about our public’s expectations and preferences. Traditional and Mediterranean cuisine remain public favorites, but modern influences from international cuisines, along with exposure to new experiences through travel, urban culture, and a dynamic lifestyle, have changed the filters through which the dining experience is evaluated. If 20 years ago taste dictated the choice of a restaurant, today, the triad of taste – quality of service – atmosphere and design has become an equilateral triangle, with each side being essential for a restaurant’s success. By balancing these elements to a very high standard, we manage to offer an exceptional culinary experience, appreciated by both the local public and tourists visiting our restaurants,” says Daniel Mischie, CEO of City Grill Group.

The Restaurant Market in the Post-Pandemic Era: How much the customers spend, when, and what they want

The survey conducted this spring also captures the consumption behavior of the interviewed public. According to the analyzed data, the public is almost equally distributed between weekends and weekdays, as well as times of the day, with similar percentages indicating that the last time they went out to a restaurant was for dinner on the weekend (23.8%), lunch on the weekend (23.6%), dinner during the week (23.1%), or lunch during the week (21.6%).

Regarding the budget allocated per person, almost half (46.5%) allocated less than 100 lei for their last meal out, 36% allocated between 100-199 lei, 13.8% spent over 200 lei, while the remaining 3.6% did not indicate an individual budget.

Romanian cuisine is favored by 88.4%, Italian cuisine by 64%, followed by Greek (58.5%) and Turkish (40.2%) cuisines. Restaurants with Asian specifics (Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean) also attract growing interest from the public in the Capital.

More than half (55.3%) of respondents dine out with their family, 45.6% go to restaurants with friends, and intimate meetings with a partner are popular for 43.3%. A quarter of the respondents go to restaurants with colleagues (24.4%).

Regarding the frequency of dining out, 16.5% say they go to a restaurant at least twice a week, 20% once a week, and 23.6% 2-3 times a month. The rest dine out once a month or less frequently.

Pizza, cooked food, and steaks are preferred by more than half of the respondents, while burgers, fries, and pasta are chosen by over 40% of them.

The study was conducted between April 26-30, 2024. Online data collection, on a panel with ESOMAR certification. Final sample 520 respondents. Statistical error margin +/-4.3% for the entire sample, for a confidence level of 95%. Target population: Bucharest & Ilfov. Restaurant consumers in Bucharest in the last 30 days. Age: 20-60 years. 

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1 Comment
  1. Panagiotis Spyridis says

    Ambitious goals! If he wants to outrank Greece in Restaurants of his category, he simply has to do 2 things: upgrade the quality of the ingredients used in the Restaurants and increase the wages of the employees in order to attract educated people. This advice is for free, but if he wants more… he can call me.

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