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Marketeer Marjolein Mens (De Beren): We are launching our own dinner box

Catering chain De Beren started in 1984 with the opening of a restaurant on the Noordsingel in Rotterdam. The concept has since grown into a chain with more than 40 restaurants and 20 delivery restaurants throughout the Netherlands. Despite the current corona situation, the catering chain expects to open new branches this year, including in Emmen, Doetinchem and Amsterdam-Noord.

What is the status at De Beren in connection with the corona crisis?

“Right now, luckily! We have of course had tough times when our restaurants were closed, but almost all our branches have started delivery and our delivery branch is currently running very well. We are lucky that, thanks to the knowledge we have in-house with regard to delivery, we have been able to switch very quickly and thus limit the damage. We have obviously suffered a loss of turnover, but we are now closing this gap with new restaurants that we are opening (after Corona again 3 new restaurants and 1 delivery location). Turnover at our branches is now almost back to pre-crisis levels. “

We have obviously suffered a loss of turnover, but we are now closing this gap with new restaurants that we open

Have major marketing decisions been made, such as discontinuing campaigns?

‘Absolutely. Everything went through for our delivery branch, but we had to stop everything for our restaurants during the lockdown. Our marketing budget is related to a percentage of turnover, which resulted in a significant deficit in our budget. We have had to cancel almost all campaigns, which logically could not continue due to a shortage of budget. The hookers for the European Football Championship, for example, have of course been canceled. But also because the needs have changed for both entrepreneurs and consumers. The planning has mostly remained the same for our delivery branch, but for the restaurants we have devised new campaigns to persuade people to come back to the catering industry. We have also only used online media for our larger campaigns, because you can stop it immediately in case of a new lockdown or other severe restrictions. “

Has there been a significant shift among customers and why?

“We don’t see any significant shifts yet, but do expect it to become more common for our guests to book now that this is mandatory. Normally our guests are more likely to walk in without a reservation. We also see that much more is being ordered and more is being spent. We will respond to this with a dinner box that will be launched in November, where people can create their own restaurant experience at home without having to spend hours in the kitchen or visiting the supermarket. We believe this market will continue to grow as long as corona is playing. “

Online you can immediately stop all your campaigns, but of course that does not apply to a radio commercial or outdoor advertising. Will you take the risk or will you only advertise online? These are important considerations that you have to make as a marketer

What do you currently see as the biggest challenge for marketers during the corona crisis?

‘In my opinion, it is currently the most difficult for marketers to estimate consumer behavior. There are many more considerations as to why a consumer makes a certain choice. For example, do they consider eating out to be too great a risk because of what is said in the media? Do people no longer want to visit our location in Rotterdam-Center because of the masking obligation? Do you not want to eat out because you have to be 1.5 meters apart? In addition, uncertainty about the future plays a major role: what if there is a second lockdown while a major campaign is planned? Online you can immediately stop all your campaigns, but of course that does not apply to a radio commercial or outdoor advertising. Will you take the risk or will you only advertise online? These are important considerations that you have to take as a marketer. ‘

What will the marketing world look like in 5 months according to you?

‘I expect that the corona crisis has enabled marketers to see the great benefits of online marketing even better and that there will be a shift from offline to online budget for the longer term. Due to the corona crisis, companies have also been able to take the time to sharpen their marketing strategy and, for example, invest more time in further development in marketing automation. I also expect that the use of streaming services, for example, will become much more common. My wish is that the solidarity that has developed between consumers and entrepreneurs is preserved. No competitors, but colleagues who support each other in difficult times. More than ever we have noticed that we need each other and that has only strengthened the relationship. ‘

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