On my way to work this morning, I noticed a new burger restaurant being constructed. As a self-professed burger enthousiast, my first reaction was one of sheer happiness. My most favourite burger place, Roxor, recently moved from just around the corner of my work to a few blocks away, so I was positively surprised to see a new restaurant open up close by. This feeling of joy, however, quickly gave way to the thought: “Really? Another burger restaurant in Bratislava?”
Bratislava has seen a booming food culture over the past years, with amazing restaurants popping up everywhere, the rise of the Street Food Festival, artisan beverages coming from all over the country, a myriad of coffee houses, and the increasing popularity of food markets like Stará Tržnica and Fresh Market. As a result, the quality of the restaurants and the food they serve has seen a major uplift compared to, let’s say, five years ago. If you love food, you will love Bratislava.
The rise of the burger restaurant is firmly part of this development, with the amount of burger places having increased a hundredfold (or so it appears) over the past years. Wherever you look, you will find a burger place of some sort. Besides the well-established burger restaurants like Regal Burger and BeAbout, you find smaller places like Roxor and Estévéčka, while any self-respecting bistro in the city will offer you a burger or two as well. Burgers everywhere! So, the question arises – do we really need another burger restaurant in Bratislava? With such murdering competition, what can a new burger restaurant offer that any of the other hundred restaurants can not?
One of the major side-effects of a well-established food culture and the enormous amount of choice that comes with it, is that people tend to get very picky and very critical. The quality of food is generally so high that, for most of the food lovers in Bratislava, nothing short of that will do. The other side-effect is that it is in most people’s nature, when offered a lot of choice, to go for the safe option and choose the restaurant they know from experience will be good or, at least, let themselves guided by review sites online. All of this means that, if you open a new burger restaurant today, you will have to be damn sure you can compete with a place like Roxor, comfortably (and righteously!) sitting on #1 in the list of best hamburger restaurants in Bratislava on Trip Advisor (check the list here), or other established places that already garner a steady amount of regular customers.
Are we spoiled in Bratislava with good food available on every corner? Yes, we probably are. Should new restaurateurs follow in the steps of other people’s success? Perhaps not. With an overload of hamburgers to find in Bratislava, you’d enter an already saturated market. Why not explore other cuisines in this city that do not have the coverage as hamburgers have? For example, where are the Spanish tapas bars when you need them? On the other hand, however, there is an argument to make that as long as new hamburger joints pop up in the city, the established restaurants can not kick back and enjoy their success, always needing to stay ahead of competition. Who knows, that new restaurant under construction might just be the new Roxor! Only time will tell!