Text: Iris Kranenburg article from entreemagazine.nl
"It is an exciting and uncertain time, but sometimes you have to listen to your feelings and just act,"Says Thom Groenendal about his step from salaried employment to entrepreneur. He is taking effect from 1 April Mats at the Pompplein in the center of Egmond aan Zee.
Congratulations on this new step! How did this restaurant come your way?
“I had a crush on the restaurant for some time. The location in the center of a busy seaside resort is ideal. I see a lot of potential in this restaurant. Moreover, I wanted to take the step to entrepreneurship. ”
“I recently worked as f&b-manager at catering group blooming *. Among other things, I have a large-scale renovation of it 2,5 million euros, including the development of a new beach club. I felt like I was doing business, but then as an employee. After that, he felt ready to really do business himself. Running a busy business that guests are enthusiastic about: that sounds great. However, this is by no means self-evident. It takes hard work to achieve that. Yet I can already imagine that it gives so much energy to raise that bar higher and higher. The freedom to give your own company a conceptual impetus also gives a good feeling. ”
*blooming consists of the eponymous hotel in Bergen, restaurant De Zandhoeve, a beach pavilion in Bergen aan Zee and Landgoed Het Hof for conferences and parties.
It is exciting to take over a company during the crisis!
“Of course this is a difficult time with many uncertainties, but in my opinion this also offers an opportunity. You have to be creative, flexible and courageous in this day and age. I do a lot by feeling and I am also prepared to fall. As long as I learn from it and always get up one more time than I fall. Due to the lockdown, I now also have the opportunity to work out the concept well and immediately place the brasserie at the guest. And in the end we all want to go out on the terraces again, go out for dinner or get that cold beer in the cafe. So the question is not whether, but when that is possible again. ”
What are your plans for the restaurant?
“I'm not going to do big renovations, but only the interior, tableware- and glassware to the new concept. The name will be brasserie Zilt. It will be a brasserie where guests can come and eat and drink informally. I just want to do it slightly different from the rest. Egmond aan Zee is overrun with tourists and so most restaurants are logically adapted to this. I want to enthuse the tourist and stay true to myself. ”
How will the guests notice the latter?
“I like warm
restaurants that are not too big - a maximum of sixty place settings - and that feel like a living room. Think of a table full of good food with fine wines for a friendly price. With some distinguishing factors. For example, in my new brasserie I do not opt for standard house wine, but for different wines by the glass. Also, I will not work with a three-course menu in the beginning, but opt for a different concept. Of course guests can order a nice bottle of Amarone with a tournedos Rossini… that's just my guilty pleasure!”
Experts expect a staff shortage. How do you get your staff??
“We must prevent the catering industry from not being able to meet the guest's demands. Employers must rest, provide clarity and future prospects. Even if it is difficult given the time, yet you should be able to provide this with some creativity. I do the recruitment and selection myself through my own network. ”
How do you think the reopening of the catering industry will go?
“My expectation is that halfway through Q2 we will be able to do something in the hospitality industry again. It will be step by step. I personally think that the lost first quarter was made up at the end of September, then of course I am talking about restaurants. Incidentally, a lot of respect for the management of the Koninklijke Horeca Nederland for how they continue to commit themselves to our industry. That may sometimes be said. ”
What influence has corona had on your function as f&b-manager?
“I had to switch concepts several times in one year, set up the team again and change processes. In recent years I have become a manager who knows a little about everything, while the people around me are the specialists within the department. I think this time requires more specialism. There must be less action on the ball because the hotels will start from scratch again. Several job layers are cut from an organization and then more is required of the specialists within f&b. Think of a restaurant manager, sommelier or chef-cook. ”
Finally: what are your future plans?
“My long-term dream is to efficiently run various beautiful catering concepts. I hope it works, but dreaming is always possible and allowed. In the short term, the newly purchased brasserie will receive all the attention. From there I will soon be able to take the next step. I am really looking forward to the opening!”
About Thom Groenendal
For the past eight years he worked as f&b-manager of the blooming group of companies (known from a.o. blooming hotel in Bergen). From this position he managed several companies in the field of food and drink. He was responsible for, among other things, financial budgets, development within the departments, concept monitoring and social accountability. In high season he was in charge 95 Staff members. Groenendal lives in Bergen, has a three-year-old son and a girlfriend who is also f&b-manager is from a hotel. Groenendal completed the Hotel School in Amsterdam.
Source: magazine entry