New Restaurants, Change of Plans
read time 8 minutes | by Renske Mehra
April 2 –– 2020
You put months of work in opening a new restaurant and then suddenly everything gets cancelled. Three entrepreneurs who just started their business about being creative in times of corona.
Tim Elfring answers the phone while packing meal boxes. He’s the owner of PHOOD Kitchen, the brand new restaurant he started this month with Sabine Feron. The idea: a place to enjoy sophisticated street food, located on the monumental Campina grounds. Unfortunately, the doors never opened.
Even before the hospitality industry had to officially close because of corona, he planned a meeting with his suppliers. Everyone was affected by the crisis with at least eighty percent of their orders being canceled in a few days time. The local entrepreneurs decided to join forces and set up the Farm Box. A healthy meal box with local vegetables. PHOOD's chef developed the recipes that you can make yourself at home.
Phood: a place to enjoy sophisticated street food
- Tim Elfring and Sabine Feron
You can choose from three meals, all vegetarian. The box contains many delicacies from local growers, such as strawberries, rhubarb, mushrooms, organic eggs, and super fresh asparagus. The takeaway service, which PHOOD had already planned, has also been set up faster. "So we also prepare meals that you can pick up on-demand or have delivered via Deliveroo."
The meal boxes have become a success, a 'private cooking club' has even come into being: a private Facebook group in which customers exchange tips and the chef answers questions on how to best prepare asparagus.
"Friday the thirteenth would be our grand opening party. A few hundred guests, DJ, live music and a lot of fun, but we called it off." On the phone is Boris Gaubert who was supposed to open Mooie Boules this month, a pétanque and food hall in one on the Kleine Berg.
“ "Hopefully, we'll reopen soon. We're ready" ”
Mooie Boules has more branches spread over the Netherlands. The core of all activities: getting together to play games, have a drink and make new friends. The latter is a bit tricky now, admits Gert Jan van den Brink from the head office. But you can still play and enjoy good food at home. And so he came up with a game package with tasty beers and yummy snacks. The packages can be ordered online and you can choose from board games, dice games and of course: a real jeu de boules set. This way, we hope to be able to offer something fun to our customers. And it created a nice, spontaneous collaboration with all our partners, like beer brewers, cheese makers and of course game manufacturers."
At the Kleine Berg they use this time to do some extra construction works. "At the beginning of March we organized two testing weekends", says Boris. "Everyone had so much fun, it was great to see. Hopefully, we'll reopen soon, we're ready."
Jungle Café on the Edisonstraat opened its doors in February, but already two weeks later it had to close down. A disappointment, says co-owner Niels Voorhout. Although he is happy with the small clientele they have been able to build up in those two weeks. Even now some of them continue to come.
'We want to do something for the local community'
- Niels Voorhout
The set-up has completely changed, though. From breakfast, coffee and lunchroom, Jungle Café has become a takeaway and delivery service focused on lunch but especially dinner. "We've noticed that that's what's most in demand." Bestsellers are the healthy bowls with smoothies or juices for extra vitamins. The meals are delivered at home or can be taken away. "We've placed a table outside where you can pick up your order yourself. You pay in advance via a Tikkie."
So far it's going reasonably well and he manages to pay the rent. "One day is busier than the other, but we're happy to do it this way. In addition, we are now looking at how we can do something for the local community in return. For example, by delivering leftover meals to elderly people."