“Don’t be afraid to be afraid”.
A former “Red Lions” player, passionate about travel and food, Quentin Walravens is an entrepreneur at heart: he’s started six companies; four have sunk and two are flourishing
Quentin is the Belgian founder of The Fork application which was purchased by Trip advisor. He launched Foodiz, a “dark kitchen” start-up, in February 2020. The concept consists of a centralised kitchen from which several home-delivery-only restaurant brands created by Foodiz operate. Foodiz consists of six restaurants, which offer a sandwich, wrap, soup, bowl and Japanese bento brand and daily dishes with ingredients which aren’t used by other kitchens.
Reinventing company food
Reinventing company food is the challenge the Brussels-based start-up has set for itself.
– Launch a digital approach to the company restaurant, i.e. provide each company with their own personalised online kitchen with the company’s colours.
– Add a specific culinary approach by only working with local and artisanal products. Given that, at the global level, 90% of company food is industrialised and isn’t from short or sustainable circuits, Foodiz is providing employees with healthy food from local producers. The provenance and quality of the products Foodiz uses in its meals is of essential importance. Note that one of the chefs working in the Foodiz kitchens has been awarded stars!
Helping employees eat better while working remotely
Initially, Foodiz offered “food markets” to a number to different companies. This was an online company restaurant which offered several different restaurant options on the same site. Unfortunately, the health crisis hit Foodiz full force in March 2020. Offices emptied out and remote working became the norm. Faced with the health crisis, Foodiz reinvented itself by creating a new concept: “Tribu” a new restaurant brand hosted by Foodiz. It provides meals delivered directly to the homes of employees and some meals designed especially for children. The idea was immediately popular and proved to investors that Foodiz was capable of overcoming even the most unexpected situations with flying colours. During this period, which was quite difficult financially, Foodiz preferred to stay open to retain its customers and, especially, to keep the team employed. Everyone appreciated the initiative. For Quentin, building a solid team is a real challenge and keeping the team motivated and dynamic is a daily imperative.
An innovative approach focused on customer needs
Faced with the second health crisis in October 2020, Foodiz had to deal with new surprises and had to reinvent itself again. This time, Quentin opted to go out and meet his customers one at a time. He applied the “lean & the customer experience” strategy which consists in putting customers at the heart of the discussion and involving them in the search for new ideas.
A new concept emerged after a few round tables: “Connect food”. Employees receive a box at home so that they can share a culinary experience with their colleagues during a virtual meeting or event. It’s an innovative idea that promotes team chemistry!
Thanks to all of these recoveries and its responsiveness, Foodiz has become stronger during the health crisis by listening to the needs of its customers and creating a solution to overcome every challenge.
Towards the economic transition
In terms of packaging, Foodiz uses environmentally-friendly or reusable containers. That is, once the customer has finished their meal, they bring the reusable container to a collection centre where it is picked up the next day. It’s a great way to reduce waste. Foodiz’s kitchens are hosted by Greenbizz, a Brussels-based incubator for sustainable projects and a business centre entirely powered by solar panels.
In addition, thanks to its virtual platform offering different types of cuisine, Foodiz has put digitalisation at the heart of its business.
Surround yourself… with the best!
Quentin dared to launch his business and held on tight to his dreams, despite his failures, and demonstrated great resilience. What is his advice today for budding entrepreneurs?
Freedom was what motivated Quentin to become an entrepreneur: to enjoy it while doing something he loves.
His advice for new entrepreneurs? Make sure you have good partners, because “two heads are better than one”, and never be afraid to make mistakes.
A last recommendation? Never keep an idea to yourself. Always share it with other people; never be afraid that someone will steal it because you have to sell an idea to a customer before it can be realised. And when an entrepreneur can sell an idea before it exists, that means that it’s a very good idea.
Join the hospitality.brussels cluster at hub
As a young company promoting Brussels’ image by digitising the restaurant business, Foodiz has been able to depend on support from hub.brussels and its hospitality.brussels cluster, which brings together Brussels-based Tourism, Events and Culture companies. By becoming a member of the hospitality cluster, Foodiz hopes to meet other heads of companies to create synergies, to partner with Brussels’ local authorities and to take part in the many completely free events organised by hub.brussels.
Quentin Walravens’ dream? To make Foodiz the European Dark Kitchen leader in three years. It’s an innovative and ambitious project and hospitality.brussels looks forward to seeing it prosper!
Written by Hélène Vandamme – hospitality.brussels/hub.brussels