Normally, Belgian 'healthy fast food chain' Foodmaker, was to open five new restaurants in the upcoming months. Due to the corona crisis, however, those plans are falling apart and the company must first of all try to survive now.
Cooperation with Delhaize expanded
Yesterday, Foodmaker closed its thirteen takeaway restaurants: although strictly speaking they were still allowed to remain open, in practice this was hardly feasible. "If people should not get together for a while, I am not going to let staff work in thirteen kitchens or lure customers to those restaurants. Everything is now done in our central kitchen", founder Lieven Vanlommel told Belgian business newspaper De Tijd.
The entrepreneur hopes to compensate for part of the loss of sales by working even more closely with Delhaize, Foodmaker's retail partner for a few years now. As of today, the supermarket chain is expanding the Foodmaker corners in most of its stores - mainly breakfast products, salads, pastas and hot meals. "Our customers are going to the supermarket in large numbers, so that is where we have to be now", says Vanlommel.
The CEO estimates the loss of income due to the corona crisis at around 200,000 euros per week. In theory, he could also shut everything down and apply for temporary unemployment for the staff, but he refuses to do that: "Costs will continue, like the rental contracts of our restaurants for example. Moreover, I want to respect my company's mission: to offer people healthy food. Foodmaker must become the healthy McDonald's of Europe", he says stridently.
Planned investments have nonetheless been postponed, namely the planned opening of five new restaurants in Belgium and France in the upcoming months. Vanlommel is also going to talk to the landlords of its current premises and lower the company's marketing budget.