Training your own employees pays off


Owner Arwin Versteyne of restaurant BRASA in Purmerend has been investing in training and guiding employees for years and is now reaping the benefits. He talks about the importance of teachers, dealing with Gen Z and the added value of his year-round terrace. “Our service level is structurally increasing.”


Owner Arwin Versteyne of restaurant BRASA in Purmerend employs around eighty employees, who keep his all-day business running seven days a week from nine in the morning to two at night. They are the strength of the restaurant, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. And the great thing is, says Versteyne proudly: part of the current team of employees has been trained internally.

‘Until a year ago, training people was still seen as a burden’
“It is becoming increasingly important to take responsibility for this. Until a year ago, training people was still seen as a burden. That was something for hotels. We are a different kind of company, but we see the importance of training people, it is good for your business. We train them according to our working method and make them profitable with our corporate DNA.


Yes, you have to free up people and time for it, says Versteyne. “And time is money, that’s true, but it pays off. I initially started it myself, I really enjoy making people better and you saw an increase in job satisfaction. We now have ten teachers and I am now working with the teachers and the teachers with the students and pupils.

Of course you see a difference in students, but one teacher starts with the basics, the other at a higher level. We have enough teachers so that everyone receives the best possible guidance and training in our business. I think that is a very nice development for the company. We are now also reaping the benefits of it; We have ten permanent employees who were previously students.”

Since the corona period, BRASA has had a year-round terrace with 180 chairs outside. “The municipality has allowed it ever since,” says Versteyne. “So corona has brought us something after all.” They have several large parasols and patio screens all around, so that guests are well sheltered. According to him, it is also wonderful to relax on the terrace in winter: they have heaters and heated seats on the chairs. “It’s a great success, there are always people there.”

He continues: “Of course it is interesting for turnover, but thanks to the year-round terrace we can attract many more permanent employees. In the past we had a large terrace in the summer and then you had to say goodbye to employees at the end of September. You were, in fact, partly a seasonal business. That is different now, which means that our service level is also structurally increasing. We do terrace training all year round and an annual terrace boot camp at Satelliet in Breda. We have a very busy terrace, everything is perfect down to the last detail.”


A lot has already been said and written about the new generation of employees (Gen Z). According to Versteyne, we should not think that this generation does not want to work. It is a new generation, with different wishes, he says. “But that’s not a bad thing at all. I enjoy having 1-on-1 conversations with these young guys, they have a different view on certain things. You also have to deal with them a little differently.

I come from a generation that always worked, from early in the morning until closing. That is outdated. We have eight-hour shifts and permanent employees work on weekends two out of three days – Friday is also a weekend day for us. They can choose which day they want off. You can protest against it, but we try to go along with the wishes of all employees as much as possible. They are the future of our company.”


Restaurant Het Noorden van Aalten was named Best Horeca Training Company at this year’s Horecava, BRASA finished in second place. Ricardo Eshuis, director of SVH and chairman of the Best Training Company Hospitality Competition Committee:

“BRASA is an ambassador for learning and working in the hospitality industry. The training company not only does a great job of managing its own affairs, but also helps in the region to improve learning in the catering industry. BRASA is responsible for various consultations with school, municipality and other training companies. The mindset of wanting to continue to improve in every area is reflected in every department of the company.”

Source: Entree magazine
Text: Roy Timmerman