"Everything is about working quickly, efficiently and profitably"
HARBOUR’S KITCHEN, BREDENE
Kim Vandierendonck and Jordy Vanderwee, owners of Harbour’s Kitchen in Bredene, Belgium, are constantly looking for smart solutions to get at least the same work done in less time with fewer staff. “Now that we have to pay strict attention to our costs after a difficult period, we carefully consider how to do things differently: faster, better or cheaper. To be honest, it has made us much more creative!”
In Bredene, near the coastal city of Ostend in Belgium, restaurant Harbour’s Kitchen is located in an old farmhouse: the Vicogne Hoeve. A sleek and modern, yet warm establishment where guests can have lunch or dinner. Several rooms are available for hire and the chefs cater for parties or other occasions. “What will delight our guests? That’s the question that is always on my mind,” says owner Kim Vandierendonck. “You really need to have an itch for the catering industry if you want to do this job. If you don’t feel it, you will never be successful in the business.”
Vandierendonck enjoys getting up every day to do her job. However, that doesn’t mean she’s unaware of the tough challenges currently faced by the hospitality industry. “Everything is about working quickly, efficiently and profitably. After the COVID years and the energy crisis, we really have to think about the cost and, hence, the speed of our operations. That is why we are increasingly working with semi-finished or ready-made products. We see if we can buy high-quality products that help us find a solution quickly. Given the time we can save this way, it is sometimes even cheaper. And there are very nice products on the market.”
At Harbour’s Kitchen, too, the work has to be done with a reduced workforce due to staff shortages. One of the reasons why they are constantly looking for smart solutions to organise the work efficiently. “Around the holidays in December, we chose to offer take-away,” Vandierendonck explains. “We keep the restaurant closed one extra day a week and we, the owners, start up a little earlier in the kitchen. During quiet times, we make products that are a bit more time-consuming. Using Debic’s cream, for example, we make our own chocolate mousse. At busier times, we opt for quicker solutions. We really like Debic’s liquid bases for desserts. We use them to make tiramisu, crème brûlée and panna cotta and can also make an additional dessert in no time if we unexpectedly run out of something. That’s how we keep our guests happy - and that’s what it’s all about in the end. We also use Debic Culinaire Original and Debic Cream Plus Mascarpone in our kitchen. Actually, we consume huge volumes!”
In all the choices she makes, Vandierendonck pays critical attention to quality but also to cost. “Sometimes I see that cream is cheaper elsewhere. But if you look at the volume when you have whipped the cream, it turns out to be more expensive anyway. The proportions are better in Debic’s products and you benefit from that both as a chef and as an entrepreneur.”
As a chef, Vandierendonck is regularly inspired by Debic. “I love browsing through cookbooks and often look at Debic’s recipe books. I also surf the internet and check social media. An explosion of ideas sometimes pops into my mind when you see how you can use everything! It is very inspiring to see which way you can go as a chef with the various Debic products. I also try to pass on that inspiration to our employees. In fact, we are extremely pleased with the possibilities and opportunities the range offers us.”
"We are constantly looking for smart solutions."
HARBOUR’S KITCHEN, BREDENE
- Look not only at the price of cream, but also at the whipping percentage.
- Don't think that it is necessarily more expensive to buy certain products; if you factor in time, you sometimes end up cheaper.
- If you have to do the work with fewer people, you have to look for smart solutions to make the work more efficient.