42 restaurants, 21 delivery outlets and counting. Franchise catering chain De Beren (Dutch for The Bears) is growing quickly. "We want the whole of the Netherlands to know us and come to enjoy our famous spare ribs, tender chicken satay, hearty burgers and all our other goodies," says Wouter Langhorst, IT Manager at De Beren.
Beary good since 1984
"Using high-quality, fresh ingredients and treating guests like they’re friends, that’s what sets De Beren apart," Wouter begins. As IT Manager, he facilitates the organisation's growth day in, day out. Wouter has been with the company for a whopping 13 years, starting out as a dishwasher at the Dordrecht branch.
“Waiting tables, welcoming guests, working behind the bar and in the kitchen: I loved it all. In fact, I found it more interesting than my degree in IT," he continues with a smile. He became De Beren's youngest ever chef and was given the responsibility of opening new branches throughout the Netherlands as kitchen manager. The practical knowledge he gained in the process still comes in very handy in his current position as IT Manager. "I know the processes on the front line and also speak the language of the techies, which makes it easier to translate needs.”
“The aim with De Beren is to attain full national coverage. Five new branches were opened last year and at least eight are already planned for this year, but I only expect it to increase. We are looking for franchisees who are interested in building a future with us. People who fit the culture and who have great knowledge of the local market.
Prospective franchisees are given intensive training. First, they come in for an internship to get to know the business inside out and to allow both parties to find out whether there is a good fit. The advantage of this franchise approach is that we do a lot from headquarters to make life easier for franchisees. By giving them the tools they need for efficient management, they get to focus on happy employees and enthusiastic guests."
“Workforce scheduling was an area in which there was a lot to be gained, which is why we reviewed several scheduling packages in our quest to find the best one. In the end, the booq Staffplanner emerged victorious.
Firstly, because it is very user-friendly . It’s just very intuitive and easy to use. Secondly, because
booq provides excellent support. We’re growing rapidly and every new branch will start using the booq Staffplanner right away. To make that happen, you need to offer high-quality training in a very short timespan, and we’ve always succeeded so far. Our third reason for choosing booq were the many options for commercially viable scheduling offered by the platform. Simply creating a schedule is one thing, but a good schedule is something completely different!"