Business Lessons from Barcelona

by Susan on July 1, 2013

The vacation portion of my trip to Spain was all about walking.  Walking, walking, walking.  Holy crap – I blew through a new pair of flip flops in six days – that’s how much walking.  In between walking, we ate.  We ate our faces off. Here is a partial list of the delicious food I consumed:

  • Fresh cockles
  • HAM. Ham, ham, ham, ham, ham.  My husband made it his personal goal to eat ham every day, and we totally succeeded.
  • Tiny snails (not escargot) in their shells.
  • Squid stuffed with sausage.
  • Blood sausage of several varieties.
  • More bread than I had consumed in the previous six months combined.
  • Crack.  (Tried to find a link, but this was basically the best junk food ever of all time, kinda like a Cheeto wrapped around a peanut.)
  • Razor clams.  The best thing ever.

Other stuff I observed:

There are separate stores for fruit, bread, and other groceries, and this wasn’t just an occasional thing to notice.  They were everywhere!!!  To me, the lesson in this was that staying true to a niche can pay off – i.e., not trying to be too many things to too many people.

EVERYONE speaks multiple languages, with English being one of the most common.  This made me A.) feel stupid that I can barely speak Spanish, and B.) realize that embracing a global economy is important.  Having said that, we tried to steer clear of restaurants that were too good at other languages, because we learned early on that it would be a less authentic and more watered-down experience.  I think this gets back to the idea of not being too many things to too many people.

Wine was served with lunch – even at the business lunch I attended.  Despite this, everyone was very skinny!  In fact, we theorized that the people of Barcelona had to stay skinny because their bathrooms and sidewalks are so small.  Good grief.  I was the fattest person in Spain.

What do you think about my niche idea?  Do you think that bakeries, butcher shops, and other places make sense, or is the American supermarket a smarter way to go?

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