«More affordable restaurants for people living in Bucharest.» This is the principle that started to shape Dragos Petrescu’s business in the early ‘90s. He had his first contact with this industry while working as store manager at McDonald’s.
This experience made him start his own business in an industry that was extremely new at the time. He didn’t study the field or anything related to it at University – he had graduated with a technical degree in Transports from the University of Bucharest. At first, no one encouraged him to pursue his ambition. But he started his business with some insane courage and the confidence that his project would become valuable. He had earned his first money as a child, selling papers.
With a visionary approach, Dragoș Petrescu was the first to believe in the potential of the hospitality industry in Bucharest. And he proved that by building several local brands. In 2017, he became the group’s president, after having been the CEO, a position now held by Daniel Mischie.
In the 15 years he’s been doing business, he managed to transform his restaurant chain into the biggest player on the market. The City Grill group operates several restaurants and coffee shops under brands like Caru’ cu Bere, Hanu’ lui Manuc, Pescarus, Hanul Berarilor, Trattoria Buongiorno, City Grill and City Café. The main idea at the core of his business is creating an environment where anyone could bring their business partners, but also relax with friends and family. His restaurants are dedicated to people who are used to eating out and have a lot of business meetings outside the office. The restaurant menus are rich and affordable and combine Romanian cuisine with international food.
Lately, Petrescu has been delivering strong messages for the industry regarding investment opportunities in the sector and how one should approach the current situation. He has also underlined a lot of the issues entrepreneurs are facing nowdays.
First six months on a high
Sales grew by 15 percent in the first six months compared to the same period of 2017, up to RON 81 million. The growth is due to the new restaurants that were open in 2017: Trattoria Buongiorno (in the Historical Centre), and Trattoria Buongiorno – Arena. Major investments in modernisation were also made in the Hanu’ Berarilor and Pescarus restaurants. Over EUR 1.5 million will be invested in a new project – Casa Soare, which includes a 180-seat events hall.
When you draw the line, you realize the drastic way in which City Grill has reinterpreted traditional Romanian values from a gastronomic point of view. It has also been a supporter of communities through a proactive involvement in humanitarian projects and sports competitions.
For example, the group has joined the Principesa Margareta Foundation in its “Never alone” campaign. They have also supported Andrei Rosu, the first Romanian to ever run the North Pole marathon, who also has several national road running records, and who managed to be mentioned in the Guinness Book by becoming the first man to ever run seven marathons and seven ultramarathons on seven continents in 582 days.