Category Archives: retail

10 Years of Great Business!


Norman CescutThere might not be an actual, tried-and-tested recipe for success, but there definitely is a key ingredient to realize one’s dreams – Passion.

We were born out of this intrinsic passion for design and business when our Owner & CEO, Norman Cescut (LinkedIn), decided to make a foray into the world of entrepreneurship with the vision of establishing a full range consultancy specializing in shop concept design.

Our Genesis

Establishing a renowned international consultancy company was not a cakewalk for Norman (blog). For almost four years he walked a tightrope – discussing out-of-the-box and value generating business ideas with potential partners, convincing hesitant prospects about the plausibility of ‘new concepts’ in an otherwise traditional Retail and Franchising business that operated strictly on conventional and time-honored principles and feared trying something new, and of course facing a series of rejections.
But after fours years of…

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Facts & figures about Retail, Franchising and …

What’s a concept?

Retail design is a creative and commercial discipline that combines several different areas of expertise together in the design and construction of retail space. Retail design is primarily a specialized practice of architecture and interior design, however it also incorporates elements of interior decoration, industrial design, graphic design, ergonomics, and advertising. Read more

How big is Christmas for Retail?

Christmas is big, no doubt about it. How big depends on what type of retail. Highest honors for big holiday volume goes to sporting goods, electronics, and clothing, but general merchandise and non-store retailers (like Amazon) are close behind. Lower holiday season sales occur at car dealers, building materials stores and gas stations. Read more

MENA: Franchise scenario

The total population of MENA region is 320 Million – 60% > 25 years. Regions population growth rate is 3-5% per year. One of the highest worldwide. In the next 3 years 500.000+sqm of new Retail will enter the Dubai’s market. Read more

What a brand today?

Are you aware of this?

DESITA slogan

Follow the three cyrcles

I am currently working on a new challenging project, at DESITA, merging some of the latest food trends.

Food Retail scenario is changing and we are surfing the big wave.

After months passed studying the market and the food products related to this awsome project, I came across to the following article.

You will not read about the project (next time) or about something trendy but you should read it to understand yourself, if you wish to live in a better way:

“The universe really is amazing. There are cycles in everything in the universe. There are cycles in weather, the seasons, the economy, wars, moon, sun, animal populations, geological formations, sea, physics, clocks and a million others I don’t have room to mention.
But did you know that your body also has a cycle?
And I am not talking about the obvious, nor am I talking just to the ladies here. This information is important for Everyone, so listen up! If you are not familiar with body cycles yet, so much is about to make sense…
Your body runs on 3 eight-hour cycles per day. Formally referred to as the Circadian Rhythms, and known for thousands of years via Ayurvedic teachings, to me understanding and applying these body clock principles has been the reason behind enjoying easy digestion, keeping my weight from fluctuating, never experiencing fatigue and maximizing my metabolism.

These are the cycles:

4AM-12PM Elimination
12PM-8PM Appropriation
8PM-4AM Assimilation

During the hours between 4AM and 12PM, your body is in the Elimination Cycle. It never stops to work on your digestion and you can still eat or drink or whatever at this time, but understanding that this is the period most important for cleansing and releasing toxins (‘Eliminating’), we can make the right food choices if we are going to eat. It is best to stick to liquids and most hydrating living foods, as we let our body shed the toxins (think how you wake up tired, sweaty, headachie and with bad breath- all are signs of detox symptoms).

So if you do choose to eat during this period, it is important to go for anything that will require minimal digestion and supFreshiiGreenport this cleansing cycle, such as fresh fruit or green juices.

This is why you often hear experts refer to breakfast as ‘the most important meal of the day’, exactly so you can make a careful choice on what’s light on digestion, not so you can eat the most gigantic feast. You are breaking the fast (break-fast), so do it right or proper elimination won’t get a chance.

“The elimination cycle is without question your greatest ally in the preservation of health and prevention of disease”; “If a blood test was to be taken every hour for 24 hours, it would show that the bloodstream is most heavily burdened with the by-products of metabolism during the hours between 4am-12noon, indicating the stepped up elimination cycle, because it is the blood that carries waste material to the four channels of elimination: bowels, bladder, lungs, and skin”- Harvey & Marilyn Diamond, Fit for Life

During the hours between 12PM and 8PM, your body is in the Appropriation Cycle. During this period, we are most awake, active, present and therefore efficient at digesting, metabolizing and burning through the majority of our heavily concentrated foods. This is why the majority of meals (lunch, dinner and snacks) also occur during this cycle. The most important thing to do during this period however IS NOT to be dictated by the clock or so called ‘norms’ of mealtime, when we are too starving to care what we have for lunch and tend to shove so much food down ourselves too quickly, that by the time the body registers what happened, it is too late and we overeat, get bloated and ‘too tired’ to digest. The most important thing to do then IS to eat only when hungry and in smaller portions, so you give your body plenty of breaks and chances to break down through the food with the least required effort, so it reserves the energy for everything else you need doing, not merely wasting it on digesting your meals.

During the hours between 8PM and 4AM, your body is in the Assimilation Cycle. This is the time you are most likely to be relaxed or sleeping. This period is when all the ‘assimilating’ or absorbing of nutrients and minerals from your food occurs and gets transported to your organs, bones and cells via the blood. It is when all the rebuilding, renewing and healing takes place. It makes sense to eat dinner early, so that the foods you eat are digested and out of the stomach in preparation for this phase. As all the goodness gets drawn from the food for you to strengthen, the remains get ready for Elimination, the start of the next cycle all over again.


Try this for yourself and be mindful of these three cycles for 10 days. Once you learn to pay attention to them, it will become second nature and your body will reap the bounty of benefits.

I wish to thank Tanya Alekseeva for the above great article!

Let’s talk about food sustainability

First published on ICOLORI (Interview with Norman Cescut at TedXBocconiU)


How and when did you get to know about TED?

I have been acquainted with TED for a while no but I never saw myself playing a main part in a TED conference. So when I received an invitation to be a speaker at TEDx suddenly before last Christmas, I was quite surprised. I didn’t expect it at all.

How did you prepare for the talk?

In this period of the year I am very busy business-wise. So I tried to prepare myself in the limited free time I had available. In my presentation I managed to condense three years of experiences in 15 slides. Something crazy.

The topic of the conference is ReThink. Reinvent the World around you. How would you reinvent the world around you?

I would try to change the mentality and the culture of people when it comes to sustainability. You will see exactly how later today! (Laughing)

I see that you are passionate about food service and franchising and sustainability. How did these passions come to be?

For me business and passion is the same thing. I am doing what I like. Food service and franchising are part of my core business. Sustainability became part of my business almost three years ago. I am trying to do business in a responsible way because I trust that that’s the future, not because there is a trend of green business.


The utopia of sustainable business seems is appealing. But it seems to me, especially from the perspective of a business student, that for now sustainability is just a market trend.

That is why tomorrow in one slide I will talk about the revolution. If we treat sustainability as a trend, it will end. If we instead treat it as a revolution, the revolution has to be irreversible, without any turning back.

Do you see a future where sustainable and responsible will be equally important as profitable?


Even for big profit-oriented bureaucratic structures?

Yes. That is a dream but…

You are a dreamer.

Yes. (Laughing) Otherwise I wouldn’t be here!

Your TEDx profile summarizes your philosophy in the following quote:

“Who’s masters of the art of living, does not make a distinction between work and leisure, body and soul, education and recreation, love and faith. S/he simply pursues the highest standards of excellence in anything s/he does; whether s/he is working or playing is for the others to decide. S/he always strives to do both at the same time.”

What is the path to becoming a master, at least the one that you took?

Just put the heart in everything you do. You have to feel it.

How do you push people to trust their heart and pursue their passion? Especially, young people.

We can only show the way, we don’t have to push people. We have to show the correct way and let the people follow if the people are willing to follow. I am not a person who is willing or able to push people. It has to be your choice, not mine. Otherwise, it is not real.

I saw that you keep your own blog on design, innovation, trends and responsibility. You seem to have a broad range of passions and interests. What was your latest source of inspiration?

Oh, too many. Travelling is inspiring. I love travelling for leisure and business-wise. The entire journey is inspiring- meeting different people and cultures, eating different food (Laughing). Inspiration is in the complexity of things, not in single acts.


Thanks to Kalina Lukanova – – for the great support and pleasantness.


Add your own creations to the menu

Tokyo’s Logbar uses iPads to enable its patrons to make their own concoctions and add them to the menu for other guests to buy.

During my daily research on the web I usually find great ideas or new trends that help me to enlarge my professional know-how and related vision but today, thanks to my friend Silvia who forwarded me this news, I’m glad to share with you something which sound to me like a new era of social entertainment or social involvement and why not a new way to make profit.

20130808-130933.jpgHere how it works: “Each customer is handed an iPad Mini upon entering Logbar and is required to create an account and fill out their personal profile before they can use the device. When they do, they can access the bar’s drinks menu, place an order and take advantage of a number of social features, such as liking and sharing their favorite cocktails and chatting with friends and other guests. Each account holder gets a news feed which logs their recent orders, shows them what other people in the bar are drinking and offers recommendations based on their choices. While Logbar stocks many popular cocktails such as Mojitos and Martinis, the platform enables users to make their own cocktails by selecting the glass, alcoholic ingredients, mixers and adornments. They can then order the creation, name it and add it to the menu for anyone else to try.
Important: Creators receive JPY 50 whenever someone else orders their creation.
The video below explains a bit more about the concept:

The system aims to better connect customers through fun, creative activities and communication channels, and the possibility for guests to make money while they drink is certainly a unique one. (source)

Do you think this kind of interactivity could be healthy for the business?

Business Retail Tour e fiera del Franchising di Dubai

Vi piacerebbe sviluppare il vostro business in un mercato in crescita?

Se pensate che il vostro Franchising  sia adatto al mercato degli Emirati Arabi Uniti e/o quello del Medio Oriente in generale, la prima esplorazione da compiere è proprio nella città più in fermento del mondo: Dubai.


Se stavate pensando di andarrci per prendere i primi contatti con il mercato locale, vi sarete sicuramente chiesti:

– Come faccio ad ottimizzare la mia permanenza e di conseguenza i miei costi?

Come faccio ad organizzare le visite e gli incontri dall’Italia?

– Chi può darmi strumenti ed informazioni per prendere la decisione giusta?

Riuscirò a conoscere gli investitori locali?

L’importante occasione è in concomitanza con la 5° Franchise UAE EXPO, la Fiera Internazionale del Franchising e del Retail, di cui DESITA è promotore esclusivo per l’Italia, che si svolgerà a Dubai il 25 e 26 settembre prossimi.

Recenti studi hanno dimostrato che il 97% dei fallimenti è derivato da una mancanza di attenzione verso i mutamenti del mercato. Questo significa che lavorare in un determinato settore senza conoscerne e anticiparne in maniera approfondita le dinamiche evolutive espone il business a rischi sostanziali, fino a minacciarne la profittabilità e la sopravvivenza. Chiaramente questi rischi risultano accentuati in un periodo di crisi. Chi desidera superare questo brutto periodo deve innanzi tutto lavorare su un elemento di discontinuità culturale, modificare il proprio approccio al mercato.

DESITA, società di consulenza e progettazione di spazi Retail con forte know-how nel settore della ristorazione e nello sviluppo Franchising, presente a Dubai da oltre 10 anni, in collaborazione con Milano Retail Tour, l’unico format rivolto alle aziende per esplorare le tendenze emergenti nei luoghi del Retail milanese ed internazionale, vi propone un viaggio alla scoperta del cambiamento in atto nel mondo del Retail di Dubai, nonché la possibilità di incontrare selezionati investitori arabi, tramite meeting B2B dedicati ed esclusivi.

Per scaricare la presentazione: Business Retail Tour

Per maggiori informazioni, scrivere a


“How to make everyday a sustainable one”

TEDxBocconiU – ReThink: ReInvent the world around you!

2013-02-23 11.19.21First of all, I wish to thank all TEDxBocconiU team for the great event organised and in particular a BIG thanks to Ivana Istochka and Eraldo Cavalli.

I have been one of the 14 selected speakers of TEDxBocconiU and had the pleasure to connect with very interesting and inspiring people from all over the world.

That day I was very sick with temperature and a big cold; even the adrenaline was soft due the very bad feeling. What a bad luck. Invited to that special and prestigious stage and not be able to be at 100%. Trust me, I couldn’t slept the night before. Nightmares.

It was February and Milano was freezing while expecting the snow but thanks to the good marketing actions, lot of people came to the event.

In my speech I’ve tried to summarize three years of activities related to sustainability: the ECOFFEE project, couple of case histories on my daily business, the Progetto ParCO2 project and the Eco Mindful Message Attached t-shirts project. It has been very hard to squeeze everything in about 15 minutes.

Hope you will enjoy the video and the speech in terms of contents and the related meaning. 

And some nice photos.

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Caffè nero bollente

Il mio recente articolo – “espresso : “giornate” = Italia : business” – ha ricevuto una particolare attenzione dagli operatori del settore e canale Ho.Re.Ca.

La condivisione e successiva visibilità dovuta ai social network ha portato l’articolo ad essere letto e commentato off-line da molte persone che, ringrazio pubblicamente, mi hanno scritto. Tutti sono d’accordo con il mio pensiero ed alcuni hanno volutamente illustrato il loro punto di vista.

Daniele, che ama definirsi “l’ultimo dei romantici” in riferimento al suo lavoro da Barista (la maiuscola non è un errore ma la volontà di dare risalto ad una professione difficile e dignitosa), pensa che si stia perdendo il vero senso del “mestiere”. Scrive: “essere un Barista non è solamente una questione di tecnica”. Verissimo, per fare il Barista servono anche anima e corpo, perchè per stare anche 10 ore in piedi dietro ad un bancone a contatto con la clientela più disparata, servono doti e capacità, anche intellettuali, non indifferenti. Poi certo, dipende dal contesto.

Infatti non basta registrarsi ad un evento come la “giornata dell’espresso italiano” per far del proprio bar un locale di qualità.

“Ma dove è finita l’umiltà?” chiede Daniele. “Per operare professionalmente ci vuole umiltà e vocazione, non arroganza e saccenza. Non si diventa Baristi dopo 15 minuti di contest o solamente perchè si sono comprate delle costose coffee stations. Il vero Barista è quello che non spreca, è quello che usa anche il porta filtro da uno. Noi siamo la prima ed in certi giorni anche l’unica faccia amica per molti dei nostri clienti, i quali sono gli unici veri protagonisti del nostro locale”. Ricorda Daniele che negli anni 90, fece il suo primo corso da Barman dal Sig. Cinelli, il classico Barman d’albergo vecchio stile che parlava ben 7 lingue e leggeva 3/4 quotidiani al giorno per avere una visione completa e non di parte di quello che accadeva nel mondo, per poter affrontare qualsiasi tipo di conversazione. Daniele cita il Sig. Cinelli: “Per imparare a fare un cocktail ci vuole poco, per imparare ad essere un Barman ci vuole una vita”.

Verissimo, il mestiere dell’ospitalità si impara strada facendo, con dedizione supportata da continui aggiornamenti e tanta pratica. 

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Alcuni, mi hanno scritto risollevando la questione del “patentino” o comunque di un certificato o come volete chiamarlo, che permetta solo a chi ha seguito almeno un corso ad operare dietro un bancone. Come accade all’estero. Magari ne parleremo prossimamente.

Infine, come richiesto nel mio precedente articolo, vi informo che non ho ancora ricevuto risposta dal Dott. Zecchini, presidente dell’Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano a cui ho inviato anche una email di conoscenza dell’articolo. Vi terrò informati.

Vi lascio con l’invito a leggere “Il flop della 1° giornata europea del gelato artigianale. Le considerazioni di una ex” (Brava Alessia!) e ne approfitto per augurare a tutti una felice e serena Pasqua!

espresso : “giornate” = Italia : business

No, non è un’equazione! Comunque la mettiate.

Cosa significa? Presto detto, ma prima una giusta e breve premessa, ovvero: “il prossimo 12 aprile, si “torna” a celebrare l’Espresso Italiano Day, la giornata dedicata al nostro caffè”. Così recita il comunicato stampa pubblicato dall’Ansa che riprende la notizia dell’Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano.

Analizziamo assieme la news: la prima cosa che mi salta all’occhio è che si “torna” a festeggiare, quindi vuol dire che si è già festeggiato almeno una volta, ovvero, si è già fatto esperienza. Ma allora perchè si ripetono gli errori? La seconda cosa che noto è la confusione tra lingua italiana ed inglese. Se si vuole festeggiare un prodotto ed una tipicità italiana, perchè questa “giornata” deve diventare “day”? Perchè dedicarla al nostro “caffè”, che non è nostro, infatti non lo coltiviamo ma lo trasformiamo solamente; e perchè quindi chiamarlo caffè, quando si chiama espresso?!?!

d9bd77f9181e907cf4a1947ef829eeceMi domando: se si festeggia l’espresso, bevanda realizzata dal o con il caffè (chi ne sa di più mi corregga pure), perchè si continuano a confondere i due termini? Perchè in Italia, patria dell’espresso, continuiamo a chiamarlo caffè?

Ma avete notato la foto pubblicata dall’Ansa? Nulla da dire a loro, non sono del mestiere, ma se fossi dell’Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano o un barista professionista, mi indignerei. Secondo voi quello è un espresso? A me sembra più che alla barista gli si sia addormentato il braccio o forse è colpa del fotografo che ha chiesto tempo per mettere a fuoco? Mah!

Povero espresso!

Torniamo alla non equazione. Cosa vuol dire? Significa che mentre in Italia si perde tempo a far le “giornate” – vedi anche la giornata europea del gelato – all’estero si pensa a fare business.

Traduco: noi creativi italiani, ci perdiamo in chiacchiere e progetti macchinosi senza fine e senza esser capaci di fare rete (che sia Franchising o semplice ATI), mentre all’estero si concretizza molto e subito. Se l’esperienza insegna, ci hanno già sottratto l’identificazione del caffè (vedi Starbucks e grazie a illy per quanto fa), la pizza (vedi Pizza Hut, a breve anche in Italia), la pasta (vedi Vapiano, La Tagliatella, ecc) e probabilmente a breve anche il gelato, visto che le uniche vere “reti” italiane si sviluppano solamente all’estero e chi sta approcciando il settore lo fa più per disperazione (leggi disoccupazione) che per vocazione o vero spirito imprenditoriale.

Una recente ed accesissima discussione su facebook, con amici e colleghi professionisti del settore, proprio su questo tema, mi ha fatto ribollire il sangue verso il pressapochismo italiano nei confronti di noi stessi. Ci si preoccupa delle giornate, di fare un prodotto DOP piuttosto che DOC ma quando c’è da sviluppare un business, esempio un progetto di Franchising, che tutelerebbe a priori molto di più, ci si perde in “giornate” fine a se stesse, cavilli burocratici, organizzativi, di invidia verso gli altri ed in domande fuori luogo come quelle dei torrefattori, che davanti ad un progetto imprenditoriale per lo sviluppo di una rete di caffetterie, ancora si domandano: “ma quanti chili di caffè vendiamo?”. Forse, più che le giornate per diffondere la cultura del caffè o di altri prodotti presso i consumatori finali, bisognerebbe fare più formazione imprenditoriale, soprattutto in ottica di internazionalizzazione.

Vorrei infine chiedere al Dott. Zecchini, presidente dell’Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano cosa intende, parlando di espresso, quando afferma che: “la cultura italiana del caffé è basata sulle differenze regionali”. Ma l’espresso non è uno solo, unico ed inimitabile? Le differenze regionali non si riferiscono forse a declinazioni della stessa bevanda che viene miscelata con altre, per lo più alcooliche? Non è forse vero che anche Lavazza ha realizzato delle “ricette regionali” ispirandosi a cinque tipicità italiane? Ovvero 5 declinazioni regionali dell’espresso?! E poi, qual’è il criterio con cui un esercizio pubblico di dovrebbe o potrebbe  registrarsi per aderire a questa iniziativa? Chi controlla la qualità dell’espresso servito?

15 days of travels and food around the world

Last 12th of February, with a colleague of mine, I went to Ljubljana to meet some potential clients willing to develop a new food concept project. It was snowing and as soon as we entered in Slovenia, the panorama changed. slovenia0

Beautiful. Striking.

We arrived at the perfect time to make the check-in at the hotel and to have some free time to enjoy Ljubljana downtown. Have you been there? You should, its beautiful! Again the time was perfect to have an aperitif. We went to one of the most beautiful wine bar I ever seen, the Movia. The atmosphere you can brief there is totally brought from the vineyards. We had Movia Cabernet Sauvignon. Outstanding ! Dinner at River House.


On the 14th, I flew to Madrid to meet an architectural and engineering group for Retail and Food & Beverages projects. Their great services are complementary with those of DESITA, therefore we met to find a mutual benefit business collaboration agreement. We succeed! Later on, we went to visit some of their projects. Dinner at La Tagliatella an impressive franchising concept.

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Last week I was in Dubai to attend to Gulfood. I was there together with FCSI EAME colleagues to guard the booth at the exhibition. We have been successful. Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) is the premier association promoting professionalism in foodservice and hospitality consulting. With over 1300 members in over 46 countries, FCSI members offer a wide range of consulting services including concept development, feasibility studies, food safety, design, marketing, operations and training. FCSI is changing a lot in its structure, philosophy and mission and we are all proud of this huge effort made by the Board of Directors. The website is brand new like the “foodservice consultant” magazine that provides authoritative insight, opinion and intelligence to help foodservice professionals keep in touch with the tings that matter.

It was nice to meet with clients, colleagues and old friends.

Dubai-Burj-KhalifaFor an important meeting I went to the Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It was my second time there after its opening and to meet with my guest, I went to the coffee shop in the lobby. Time was nice so we decided to share an Italian bottle of wine. With all my surprise, the young waiter served us the ordered white wine with apparent difficulty and … the white wine wasn’t cold and not even fresh. Unbelievable.

We pointed out the regrettable inconvenience and the waiter brought us immediately a new bottle … with the same warm temperature. We had to call the waiter back and ask at least for an ice bucket and wait for a more pleasant wine temperature.

The fact is that I paid that bottle like 70 Euro and I didn’t receive any good service. It’s a shame as we were in THE Location. Now I probably understand why the f&b manager didn’t reply to my emails last year when I had my dinner at Mediterraneo. Beautiful atmosphere but very normal food. I think Armani Hotel has a lack in training human resources. Mr. Giorgio, please do something!

While I was in Dubai, I’ve been invited from a Sheikh friend of mine to attend the Peru Food Festival at Madinat Jumeirah’s Souk Amphitheater. What a surprise the Peruvian food. It’s just great! And it’s considered on the the next food trend worldwide.


So hurry up my friends, let’s organize a trip to Peru and all its wonders. Ready?

Well, I can’t write about everything happened because 15 days are quite long and things are many. I hope you enjoyed these few facts.

Traveling and sharing time with great people while having good food. Yes, that’s life!