Last day for Amsterdam's Vanderveen restaurant after Michelin star win; "Strange feeling"
Vanderveen restaurant, located on Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam, will serve its final dish on Saturday, just a month after earning its first Michelin star. Despite the prestigious recognition, the restaurant faced insurmountable challenges, including debts incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thijs Koster (37), the owner of the restaurant, expressed mixed emotions about the closure when speaking with NL Times ahead of the restaurant's last sold-out weekend.
"It's a strange feeling," he said. "We had to announce the decision to close during a time of celebration." The restaurant made the announcement on Wednesday.
On April 24, Vanderveen was one of 17 restaurants to get their first Michelin star. The Michelin guide described the restaurant as “relaxed, vibrant, cool” with “intense” dishes often prepared with everyday ingredients.
However, Koster was already aware that the Michelin star would not alter the business’s underlying reality. “It was already clear that we could not sustain.”
The decision to close Vanderveen restaurant has several causes, according to Koster. "It's a combination of many things," he stated. This included the need to repay Covid-19-related debts, deferred taxes, rent indexation, increased procurement costs due to inflation, as well as wage increases and rising operating costs. "You cannot pass these extra costs onto your guests," he explained.
"The restaurant was very popular in the last month," Koster said when looking back at the period after the Michelin star win. The restaurant was certainly crowded even before the recognition was handed out, but popularity alone was not sufficient to keep the doors open. He believed that sustaining a restaurant in the current times has become increasingly challenging. "That's the reality of today."
According to a report published on Tuesday by ING Bank analyst Katinka Jongkind, the hospitality industry will experience a significant increase in business closures and bankruptcies in 2023 compared to 2022. Jongkind agreed that restaurants and cafes in particular are often unable to transfer the rising costs to their customers, which ultimately impacts their profit margins.
Koster emphasized that the choice to shut down was made to prevent bankruptcy. "I feel the responsibility as an entrepreneur," he remarked. He also highlighted the importance of protecting the reputation of the staff.
Koster said the restaurant is sold out on Friday and Saturday. "We’ll do our best to make our guests happy,” he said. For now, the future for him and his staff remains uncertain. “Maybe we’ll join forces again. We’ll see what’s possible.”