Editor-in-chief's travelogue

I really love the work our company does as it takes me to diverse cultures not only throughout the U.S. (the U.S. is amazingly diverse), but also throughout the world.

This month I had the opportunity to travel to Berlin, Germany for site evaluation and market feasibility for a social-tainment project (a type of family entertainment center) to be called Funomenal that our client Carl White (no relation) has been pursuing for a number of years. Carl first contacted us back in 2010. He then attended Foundations Entertainment University in 2011.

If you think finding a site for a project in the U.S. is tough, just try it in Berlin. Carl found that Berliners, as typical conservative Germans, were not receptive to leasing to an American for a concept that doesn't yet exist in their city. Carl finally secured an option on a building, coincidently that was not owned by a German, and I was off to Berlin to evaluate it and its market.

The site Carl is considering is a historic industrial building built in 1908. During World War II, carpet-bombing by Allied forces leveled more than 80% of the buildings in Berlin, so Berlin takes the preservation of historic buildings very seriously.

Berlin in 1945 at the end of World War II.

Carl has been documenting his frustrating search for a site on his FUNomenal blog. It's worth checking out and following.

Germany is the 34th country I've had the chance to visit to work on projects. As you can see from the map, the only two continents I haven't made it to are Australia and Antarctica.

I need to do a count of all the different states in the U.S. I've worked in. I'm sure it's at least 40.

I found Berlin very interesting. It is an incredibly public transportation and bike friendly city. Carl and I went everywhere, and by that I mean to just about every neighborhood in the city, exclusively using mass transit - the subway (U-Bahn, (short for Untergrundbahn, meaning "underground railway"), mostly elevated trains (S-Bahn), buses and trams (light rail). Berlin is not only user friendly for people, but also for their dogs. Dogs are allowed just about everywhere - in stores, restaurants and on all public transportation. Here's the sign at the door of one of the trams inviting you to bring your dog along for the ride (bottom middle yellow sign).

The foodie movement is alive and thriving in Berlin. The variety of restaurants is very diverse. We ate at Polish, Asian, Egyptian and Syrian restaurants. And those countries are only the tip of the iceberg of the ethnic variety available throughout the city due to Berlin's diverse ethic population.

One fast casual restaurant we ate lunch at was Tak Tak, a polish organic street food deli near Rosenthler Platz, were I had a variety of organic pierogies, a type of Polish stuffed dumplings. They were great and more than reasonably priced at €7.90 ($8.90). Here's a photo of Tak Tak and a foodporn photo of my pierogi lunch.

Thursday night we went to Street Food Thursday at Markthalle Neun (market hall 9), a food market where they invite in street food vendors on Thursday evenings. We had planned to eat there, but it was so crowded we could hardly move (testament to the foodie scene in Berlin), so we walked to a Syrian/Egyptian restaurant for dinner.

Street Food Thursday at Markthalle Neun

In addition to my trip to Berlin, this month I have also been to the Salt Lake City area and to Maryland for two new projects.

This month's issue
As always, you'll find informative articles is this issue of our Leisure eNewsletter including commentary on topics that you won't find in any other industry publication. Those industry publications depend on industry advertising to survive, so they'll never write anything that isn't positive for their advertisers. In our eNewsletter, you get the real truth about what is going on in the leisure venue industry.

A number of articles are about food and beverage, an increasing focus of our work as it now has anchor status for entertainment venues. In several weeks I'll be heading to the massive National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago to stay up to date on the fast moving trends for bars and dining out. Two of this issue's articles discuss trends and the changing nature of what it takes to develop and operate successful community-based leisure venues today and into the future. Another article discusses our sustainable ‘social hub' project that is now under construction. We also have an article about some new emerging social game venues.

I hope you enjoy this issue and find some articles of value to your work.

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