‘Dunch’ and chic dinner at home: food entrepreneur opens box of tricks again

“It is a switch again,” says Frank Streefland, owner of restaurants de Polderkeuken and Polderkamer and a catering and event company in Stolwijk, about the cabinet’s latest corona measures. The catering industry has been forced to close at 8 p.m. since last weekend.

With one exception, most adhere to this, the entrepreneur knows. However, many are not really happy. The past few months have often been difficult, Streefland says. And the perspective is missing. But giving up is not an option. “For your staff, your customers. Turn left, right or straight ahead, I always say. Complaining is of no use to you.”

call back

Streefland telephoned his reservations for the next three weeks: do you like sitting down at 3 p.m.? There were quite a few dropouts, he says honestly. Especially for its more upscale restaurant. “Eight courses and closing at 20:00? That’s quite difficult.” Anyone who has to close earlier also sees people rushing and therefore spending less, according to the entrepreneur.

Home delivery is also being rigged up again. Earlier this year, the entrepreneur introduced meal boxes and a real ‘culinary snack wall’ for stews to-go. Now special luxury Christmas and cocktail boxes are added, he says. “I ordered 5500 euros worth of boxes yesterday. It’s a risk, but I have to prepare.”

christmas box

That is why plans are already being made for the upcoming Christmas brunches and dinners in the restaurants, although the entrepreneur fears that the measures will be extended.

Streefland also works a lot with companies as a caterer. And they had already planned a lot of staff events. “I also call everyone here,” he says. A lot is canceled again. There are also new ideas: “I am now making a video with a CEO in which he cooks.” His staff will soon receive a meal box at home.

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Dunk is the answer

So think again. Several restaurants under the Vermaat Groep flag decided to join forces to promote a new concept: the dunch, or a cross between lunch and dinner. “It is an answer to the new restrictions,” says Pieke Abelman, the manager of NOK restaurant and sky bar in Groningen on behalf of Vermaat.

Vermaat’s marketing department immediately started working on the idea, so that it can now be marketed via the sites and social media. “At Vermaat we are used to working together and sparring with other catering managers. That way you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.”

Nice early dinner

The hope is pinned on guests who sit down to dinner early, in order to be able to dine for a long time. “A new trend,” says Abelman, who already put the concept into practice last weekend. Chef Joris Bijdendijk is also participating in his Rijks en Wils Restaurant. Just like Paviljoen Sterrebos in Groningen and Hemel & Aarde in Utrecht.

At NOK, food was served between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM. “With a slightly modified menu,” says Abelman. All reservations were called back and almost everyone said yes, Abelman says. On a busy day, he has about eighty to a hundred guests for dinner. “The first reactions were enthusiastic,” he says.

‘Quite a success’

They were also at gastrobar Wat andandeRRs. Owner Herman Gleis had his opening last Friday. He is also the owner of the restaurant de Rooie Reiger in Vianen. “The measures were a bit of a shock, but this weekend went very well,” he says about the opening.

Friday all guests for the weekend were called and persuaded to a dunch. There was also a lot of wind blowing in. “People are interested in it.”

Support wanted

But that especially applies to the weekend, says the entrepreneur. During the week people work and people go out to eat more quickly in the evenings. That’s why a dunch isn’t enough to make up for normal sales, Gleis thinks.

“We will continue to do this for the time being,” he says. However, he also hopes for some compensation from the government, especially for starters who previously fell by the wayside.

The cabinet is working on a support plan for entrepreneurs affected by the corona measures, but what that will look like is still unclear. In any case, the cabinet does not seem to feel a need for full compensation for the damage, as the angry business community is demanding.

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