Businessman, owner of BrandFood (Bars/Pubs)
POUR US A DRINK, YOU’RE THE PIANO MAN
The television show Cheers depicted a friendly bar where “everybody knows your name,” and we firmly believe that if the show were set in Vilnius, it would be called “Piano Man”. While considering the interviews for this section of Passport, we decided that Piano Man need to be on the list, and then we realized that we had agreed have the meeting to discuss this very question at Piano Man. Unlike the UK or America, Lithuania never had a pub culture. It took someone like Saulius Galdikas to see success elsewhere and then import it here. The story of this success is written up and down Vilnius and Islandijos Streets, and the details of that story can be found here:
Vilnius has a lot of places to get a drink. How do you stand out?
Compared to Western countries, bars and pubs in Vilnius are at the beginning of their evolution, at least in terms of their cultural and social meaning. Due to historical circumstances, we have no “pub tradition,” no understanding of their relationship to a neighborhood or to society as a whole. My idea was to bring the Western model of a pub to Vilnius and prove that it could work here as well. It might sound funny now, but four years ago there were barely any pubs, and this is the capital of an EU country! We opened then, and now, four years later, each of our bars/pubs has its own community of successful people around it. We are very proud of this growth. It’s the key to our business success.
Is this a difficult time to start a new business?
We opened our first pub in the beginning of 2010, in a depressed economic climate and at the peak of the worldwide market crisis. The times may have been tough, but they brought many new opportunities as well, and this was one I couldn’t pass up.
How would you describe your customers?
Many of our customers became personal friends of my colleagues and myself…what else can I really add? Most of our customers are successful and responsible people, and we’re grateful to have met them.
What keeps your business humming?
Creativity and responsibility. The former because when you’re able to create something new and relevant, the ball is in your hands, and the latter because when you act responsibly, others will respect you.
What are the biggest challenges for a young business owner?
To stay on top and keep growing. Some think we’re going to peak this year, that we’ll start to slow down. Well, our team thinks otherwise and has made plans for the future, so stay tuned.
What is your advice for young entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to fail, but be afraid of not trying, because you might not get another chance. If you feel it’s your time, go for it with all of your heart.
Creativity and responsibility. The former because when you’re able to create something new and relevant, the ball is in your hands, and the latter because when you act responsibly, others will respect you.Saulius Galdikas