Survival of the fittest in the hospitality industry: ‘Without a good concept, no right to exist’

Survival of the fittest in the hospitality industry: 'Without a good concept, no right to exist'

Corona pandemic, surging inflation and a huge staff shortage. According to the Amsterdam Hospitality Association, this is a very worrying cocktail for the future of the sector in the city. But not everyone sees it so bleak, according to businessman Tijn Verstappen, Amsterdam residents will always continue to eat out, even in tough economic times. He adds that only the customer is most important. Therefore, it is eaten or eaten as a catering business, in other words survival of the fittest.


Two years after Corona, Amsterdam residents were very happy to eat again last year, according to second and third quarter figures. However, the Amsterdam district of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland is worried about the future.

“We’re also seeing consumer confidence dropping in Amsterdam. The guest is becoming critical. Not everyone has been affected to the same extent by inflation, but the catering industry is still seen as a service that you can cut back first when your spending budget gets low,” a company spokesperson said.

“The quality of the food must be good, the service must be good and the atmosphere must be good”

tijn Verstappen, catering entrepreneur

Despite the crisis, Tijn Verstappen will soon open two new cases. “I think Amsterdammers will always continue to eat out, but they are eclectic, so everything has to be fine. Food has to be good, service has to be good, and appearance has to be good.”

With these things coming, Verstappen’s counter will soon be at 12. His secret? “I put a lot of love into a case.” This way he travels around town and country for the perfect interior. The hospitality staff brings the businessman from abroad. “I went to dinner with my partner in Madrid for our new Spanish restaurant. We found a chef there who was willing to come and cook for us in Amsterdam. I just bought it. It’s not very special, but you put a lot of time and energy into it. I think that’s what the customer notices with us” .

hard work

But not every entrepreneur will be able to take part in the battle for the important customer. According to KHN Amsterdam, some companies have been on the loose for some time now.

“The effects of two years of Corona, high tax debt, massive cost increases leading to high rates of inflation, and a massive staff shortage mean that the restaurant industry remains under pressure. Also in Amsterdam. More and more entrepreneurs are counting this at margins at the moment. It doesn’t make sense. It should continue on an equal footing. We are seeing that many companies are up for sale and owners are changing, and many entrepreneurs are starting new businesses or modifying their concepts,” a company spokesperson said.

Catering broker Lukas Arends also sees several changes to the guard. Although the interest in starting a catering business appears to be waning. “We have fewer views, But the parties involved have better quality and are more focused on acquisitions.”

How is that? Because of Corona, banks are less keen on financing catering projects. Plus, there’s less security for employers due to a labor shortage, so people without experience are less likely to go on a catering adventure, Arends says. According to him, this is not a bad development. “It separates wealth seekers from more serious entrepreneurs. This ensures that the catering industry gets better quality, people stop less quickly and increases stability in the market.”

Can’t you start anything at this time without experience? “Wealth seekers can make an effort, but it will be less. They end up mainly serving light food. When a man or woman who is able to bake well at home starts a pastry shop. You need less money for that, but you still often notice that they find it hard work and consider stopping after 2/3 years.”

“Amsterdam ultimately decides what works and what doesn’t.”

Lucas Arends – Catering Broker

But will everything soon be in the hands of the adults? It’s possible, but it’s all the time, Arends says. It’s not up to him, says Verstappen, but about the market: “I understand where you want to go, that there will be a kind of monopoly through the existing system, which I don’t consider myself, by the way, but yes defines the market.”

Arends also points out that it is the people of Amsterdam themselves who ultimately decide which concept works and which doesn’t. “Fortunately, you see that there are always enough concepts to coexist in the city,” Arends says.

And even if you are a sought-after entrepreneur now, it may be different tomorrow. “People may be tired of my concepts in ten years, I hope not of course, but you don’t know. Maybe I should come up with something new or develop the concepts further. You just have to stay careful.”

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