My wife (Polish) and I (British) are trying to decide if moving to Poland (Tricity) is a good idea. She hasn't lived there for the last 10 years and we have been only visiting for a few weeks a year (we work at sea). We have a couple of properties there and we are thinking of starting a small restaurant or opening a bar. We would like to know from other expats point of view how life in Poland is, if you are self employed and potentially make a good living? How are the people and their mentality?Can quality of life be compared to one in the UK or US? We know that currency exchange can help build a beautiful house and have a better living but is that enough to make that decision?
Thanks for your advice!
You have a lot of serious research to do before you would be able to justify such a move. Opening a restaurant or bar anywhere is risky even under the best of circumstances, especially for individuals with no prior experience. The failure rate is about 80% within five years, and about half within two years. In order to succeed, you would need to conduct extensive market research, learn all you can about the competition, bone up on your management, financial and organizational skills, and build up a pretty comfortable nest egg to tide your over for the years that will elapse before you finally turn a profit. Learning the native language would also be a big plus, rather than relying totally on your wife.
The life of a restaurant or bar owner is never good for the first five or so years they are in business. Unless you and your wife have a huge amount of capital to invest, both of you wife will be spending every waking moment working to make a go of it. If things work out, in the long run, yes, life in Poland can be rather pleasant. But you have to go in with the mindset that the good life is a very long-term goal and will require years of harrowing work and sacrifice to achieve.
For orientation's sake, you have about three to five years of study, research, planning and establishing contacts to do before you can even think of opening a restaurant or bar. The market is not very forgiving to those who are naive, and you will not have time to learn once the ball is in motion. It's a tough market even for knowledgeable and experienced entrepreneurs. The more knowledge you possess going in to such a venture, the more money you will end up making in the end.
You might want to contact Barbara and John Alaszewski, Brits who opened up a small hotel in Poland, to find out more about eventual pitfalls to avoid. Read about them here: discoverpl.polacy.co.uk/art,life_in_poland_8211_the_blue_beetroot ,3677.html
This is their e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org