‘Taste of the South’: Southern California’s newest eateries open in new locations
Posted On July 15, 2021
Los Angeles, California (Reuters) – Southern California is home to some of the most popular Southern cuisine in the world and many people crave a dish or two there.
But when it comes to dining out in the big city, the dish that can make or break a restaurant’s business model is the food.
As it has for years, the industry is booming.
And Southern California has some of its biggest openings in years, with a slew of restaurants opening in major metropolitan areas including Los Angeles.
The region is experiencing a new wave of restaurant openings in the last few years, and in recent years there has been a surge in the number of restaurants and eateries.
“It’s a great time for Southern California, with many restaurants opening and many more opening every day,” said David Burdick, president of the Southern California Restaurant Association.
“The number of new restaurants is exploding.”
There are a number of factors at play here.
First, restaurants are finding new ways to monetize their services, said Jeff Anderson, CEO of New York-based Anderson Capital Partners, which invests in Southern California restaurants.
Anderson said restaurants are also finding new outlets to serve people.
They are also opening in new places and, in some cases, they are expanding beyond the old haunts.
“In the past, you have the big chains, the chains that have been successful and had a lot of success, and then you have smaller chains that are struggling,” Anderson said.
“They’re finding places where they can grow, and they’re finding ways to do that that are sustainable.”
Many of these smaller operators have struggled with the high costs of doing business and the high levels of turnover they encounter.
That is partly why they have been moving into more innovative ways to attract new customers and to attract more cash flow.
“For some of these newer chains, there are ways to make the business more sustainable, which are just different ways of doing things,” Anderson added.
In some cases that means cutting back on the number and number of employees that the chain will employ and using technology to increase customer engagement and retention.
“I think there’s a lot to be learned here, but we don’t have the answers yet,” said Steve Shultz, an economist at the University of Southern California.
Shultz says there is a lot more innovation going on in the food industry in Southern Californias food culture, and he expects that to continue as more businesses start to open in the region.
The number and size of restaurants is one factor, but the biggest catalyst is the new generation of restaurant owners and managers, he said.
There are about 50,000 restaurants in Southern America, most of which are privately owned, according to the Southern Association of Restaurant Associations.
“You’re seeing a lot new restaurants that are not as well-known in other areas,” Shultz said.
“They are starting to open and they are attracting new people.”
Some restaurants have taken the same approach to attract younger, less experienced customers, he added.
“Many of them are just looking to grow their business,” Shulz said.
In recent years, there has also been an increase in restaurant openings, said Shultz.
That is due to the high cost of doing so, and many restaurants have also been able to offer more value for money and to keep their business costs down.
“A lot of people are not seeing a benefit from restaurants that aren’t open a lot,” he said, adding that it is possible to serve the same value for less money.
The business model of a restaurant can also change depending on the restaurant.
For example, restaurants in the South may be more likely to serve a more casual meal, but a restaurant in the Midwest may be willing to serve more sophisticated fare, he noted.
That brings us to the food that is opening up in Southern cities.
Restaurants in the major metropolitan area of Los Angeles and San Francisco are doing well.
But those in the greater Los Angeles area, such as Los Angeles’ Koreatown and Pasadena, are struggling.
“When you see restaurants in smaller cities opening, it’s because they want to compete with the big chain chains,” Anderson noted.
The same goes for the more popular Southern California neighborhoods, including the Hollywood and Long Beach area.
And it is not just in Southern Los Angeles that this is happening.
“That’s a trend across the board,” Shuler said.