Eat, drink, dance and work: Groningen-based WERKMAN wants everyone to feel welcome at any time of day. If the spectacular multi-floor glass façade won’t impress you, the guest experience surely will. "We want to offer more than a delicious steak and perfectly poured drink. Above all, we strive to create beautiful moments and memories," says owner Maurijn Westerhof.
“Finding the right location can make or break your business. The best location is one where you get plenty of traffic throughout the day, and a building like ours, a refurbished former gift shop right on the Grote Markt, is a godsend. Because my father, Bert Westerhof, owns several hospitality businesses, including the nearby Ocean 41 and Club Kokomo, we were looped in right away. And when they told us that this building was available, we knew that it had great potential. My father wasn’t looking to add another business to his portfolio, but for me, the opportunity came at exactly the right time."
Modern and feminine design
After an extensive research phase, the idea for a trendy, new-look café and restaurant was born. “We knew from the start that we’d have to remodel the building, but it also presented us with an opportunity to tailor the entire concept to our primary demographic: women in their late 20s. It was a very conscious choice, as women around that age won’t just come here for a quick lunch with colleagues or a bite with their friends, but they’ll also take their parents out for a big dinner. And if your business is full of good-looking women, men will follow”, Maurijn continues with a smile.
A cup of coffee, a cocktail, or a good glass of wine
The result of the remodel is a sight for sore eyes. Spanning three floors, WERKMAN boasts a loft, a conservatory and a large patio, each of which is decked out in its very own style. Have a drink downstairs in the cosy bar, eat lunch and dinner in the beautiful first-floor restaurant, or head to the upstairs living room for a quiet place to work, a great location for meetings or even a party venue. With its extra power outlets and support for QR-ordering, you won’t find a better spot. And because the renovated facade is made of glass, the restaurant and living room offer fantastic views over the Grote Markt and the Martinitoren. ”We can even open the glass façades to create an al-fresco atmosphere inside!"
Inspired by a local artist
The work and life of Groningen printer and artist Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman inspired both the design and the name of the new establishment. “Werkman’s work was down to earth and all about history and labour. His love for colour and creative designs is reflected throughout the business, evoking a welcoming, homely atmosphere complemented by a bold, modern interior to appeal to our primary demographic. What’s more, we put just as much TLC into our dishes as Werkman put into his art.”
Getting people through the door... and keeping them there
Thanks in part to the imposing building, guests flocked to WERKMAN from the get-go. “When we opened in June, in the middle of the corona pandemic, we even had to run eight shifts a day on our trial days!", Maurijn says. “We also stand out from the crowd because we prepare all our dishes on a Josper grill. Moreover, we trained our team well, which has really paid off. I’m delighted with our table reservation software, because it helped us to fill up our tables as efficiently as possible. And because guests could easily book online, we didn’t have to answer the phone all day long."
“Even in a beautiful location like this, you still have to put an effort into getting people through the door. On summer evenings, for instance, we enlisted the help of a DJ. If you create the right atmosphere, people will linger after dinner and you’ll even convince passers-by to have one more drink to savour the ambience.”
Managing a business with an all-in-one platform
“Running a business of this size, with three floors, a mezzanine and a patio can be quite complex. The main bar is downstairs and the open kitchen is on the mezzanine close to the restaurant, so our staff have to cover quite a lot of ground. That’s exactly why we wanted to automate whatever we could. By linking digital kitchen displays to the POS system and our handhelds, we can send every order straight to the kitchen and bar, so our team can start prepping orders right away, combine multiple orders if convenient and serve them all at once. It’s a massive time-saver.”
“As a hospitality business owner, I prefer working with as few partners as possible and keeping lines of communication as short as possible. Because one of my father’s businesses - Paviljoen van de Dame - and our close friends at Cappuvino waxed lyrical about booq’s software, it was an easy decision to make. The all-in-one platform can integrate multiple business processes such as your POS system, QR-ordering, staff planning, your reservation system and kitchen and bar management. It has boosted our overall efficiency and enabled me to make targeted interventions where needed. I love it, I wouldn't want it any other way!"