Maison van den Boer is currently tendering for the prestigious catering contract for the 2012 Olympics
Dutch party catering company, Maison van den Boer’s long history is founded on a combination of creative nature and commercial vision. In 1906, Gijsbertus van den Boer took over a bakery in Veghel, in the Netherlands. While he was working as a pastry chef, he also took a keen interest in the preparation of other foods. It soon became clear that he had a unique talent as a chef, delighting friends and family with his creations. Over the years more and more people heard of his skills and were keen to sample his culinary creations. In addition to his obvious ability in the kitchen, Van den Boer also had an enterprising spirit, seeing an opportunity to form a business delivering his food to wherever it was to be consumed.
So marked the humble beginnings of catering in the Netherlands, delivered by bicycle to parties and events. The founder passed on the business to his son, Arnoldus, who in turn saw it passed on to his son, Bert. Now, over a century later, 43-year old Noud van den Boer, son of the fourth generation, owns the exclusive brand. With a name that is synonymous with party service, Maison van den Boer has grown over the years to become the nation’s market leader in the exclusive party service sector.
Today Maison van den Boer is the largest party catering company in the Netherlands, with a turnover of 45 million euros. It caters small parties to large events including everything from weddings and anniversaries, to product launches, sporting events, meetings and congresses. In 1988 the company introduced venue management to its service offering. All Maison van den Boer projects follow a carefully fine-tuned schedule. This enables the business to ensure the event runs as smoothly and precisely as possible, while also guaranteeing everyone an entertaining experience full of pleasant surprises.
Jeroen Enzerink, managing director of the company describes some current Maison van den Boer projects: “At the moment we are catering the Dutch Pavilion in Shanghai for the World Expo. We have a special project team in Shanghai and we’re offering public and VIP catering to more than 30,000 visitors per day at the Pavilion. In September of this year, we will be catering for the KLM Open, a European Tour golf tournament, and we have extended this contract for the next three years. So we will be catering the tournament each year, up to and including 2012. In addition to that, together with our other brand, Oseven, we’re also pitching to cater for the 2012 Olympics in London.
“Currently we are also busy tendering for the public catering at Floriade World Horticultural Expo, which is the international exhibition of flowers and gardening, held every ten years in the Netherlands. It will take place in Venlo over a course of several months in 2012. Agriculture business in this region is very good, so this is an important showcase of Dutch produce. There will be around 2.2 million people attending the event, so it would be an accolade for us if we could win that contract.”
With full order books, the company has set up offices in Germany to better serve Europe. Jeroen elaborates on the company’s expansion: “We have established Maison van den Boer Deutschland GmbH, a daughter company in Hamburg with further offices in Düsseldorf. We are part of the holding company Van den Boer Group and in 2006, marking the company’s first 100 years in operation, it became the Royal Van den Boer Group appointed by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix.”
Despite recent successes, the company has not been immune to the effects of the recent financial crisis. Jeroen explains how the recession has hit Maison van den Boer: “Our turnover decreased in 2009 by 15 per cent, which meant a reduction from 50 million euros in 2008 to 43 million in 2009. However, at the moment we are definitely doing better than last year, so I can confidently say that the worst is behind us. Companies are investing in events for relations and personnel once more, so we believe that things are looking up again and I am hopeful that our turnover will be more than 45 million euros this year.”
Finally looking to the future, Jeroen describes the projected development of the well-known Dutch brand: “If you don’t spread your risk in the hospitality business you will be in serious trouble. If we hadn’t started venue management 20 years ago, besides our party catering activities, we would be in a difficult position at the moment. As long as we can secure long-term contracts with profitable venues and keep up our high standards of service and food quality, we are guaranteed an interesting future, with a turnover growing steadily.”