Patrick Brouder* - Mid Sweden University & Umeå University
Robert A. Macpherson - University of St. Andrews, Scotland
The restaurant sector offers economic opportunity to anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. Despite the relatively low barriers to entry and increasing support from policymakers for food services development in rural and peripheral areas, success does not come easily. New firms face high rates of attrition and long-term survival and growth is rare. This paper assesses all new start-ups in the restaurant sector in Northern Sweden at the turn of the century and follows the survivors over an eight year period. Descriptive statistics show that new firms (n=385) include more foreign-born entrepreneurs than comparable sectors (104 from MENA countries) and that long-term survivors (n=63) create some new jobs in the region. Survival analysis, using both descriptive graphs (Kaplan-Meier Survival Curves) and regression analysis (Cox Proportional Hazards Model), shows a positive effect of related and local experience on firm longevity, as well as a modest positive survival effect for firms operating in rural areas. The discussion reflects on the notion of the 'outsider advantage' and knowledge transfer in low-technology service sector firms.