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Restaurant caters to changing customer tastes

Rotterdam’s Roman Villa emerges with new vision as The Villa

Peter Guidarelli is rebranding his restaurant, formerly Roman Villa, to The Villa to adapt to changing customer habits.

Peter Guidarelli is rebranding his restaurant, formerly Roman Villa, to The Villa to adapt to changing customer habits. Photo by John Purcell.

— One Rotterdam restaurant owner is trying to adapt to the changing spending habits of customers during a tough economy.

Roman Villa, on Duanseburg Road in Rotterdam, is getting more than just some fresh paint after Owner Peter Guidarelli redesigned the menu and reopened the restaurant as The Villa on Wednesday, Aug. 24. For nearly four years Guidarelli has ran Roman Villa after taking over the business from his brother, which operated J.G. Roman Villa. Many popular dishes will remain and new ones are being introduced, but some of the top tier offerings are being pushed aside. A new pub menu and specialty pizzas are on the menu.

“It is to keep up with the changing dining habits of our customers and taking into consideration the economy,” said Guidarelli. “We wanted to get very aggressive with the pricing just understanding that folks don’t have the money that they may have had at one time to go out to dinner.”

Chain restaurants also pit competitive price points and special offers, which local business owners have to overcome. Being connected to the community seems to be one of the best ways to standout.

“We are battling the chains every day,” said Guidarelli. “Being involved with charities has been a big part of my life ever since I have been out of college … and those are loyalties and relationships that the chain restaurants don’t have.”

Often times, he said he tries to support local businesses when things are needed or work is done at the restaurant.

“I know I am supporting somebody that is just trying to make a go at it in a tough economy,” he said.

The restaurant’s regulars have kept the restaurant afloat and allowed changes beyond just the menu to happen. The frequency of his regulars has also dropped, such as people coming in twice a week now come in once a week.

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