The Work Embassy: matchmaker in international hospitality talent

This article has been translated from Dutch to English and is originally written and posted by Frisse Mosterd. Scroll down for the original link

The Work Embassy: matchmaker in international hospitality talent

What started as a graduation project has grown into a serious company in a few months. Merijn Koops is only 25 years old, but with ‘The Work Embassy’ he has filled the gap in the hospitality market. A solution for the shortage in hospitality staff in Utrecht.

Text: Kylie Fletcher

Picture: Asmara Matulessy

Nowadays Merijn almost doesn’t have a social life anymore. Next to graduating and cooking at The Streetfood Club he is very busy with his own company. The Work Embassy is ‘The Tinder’ for hospitality talent: instead of finding a perfect love candidate, Merijn matches a potential candidate with his or her future employer in the hospitality sector of Utrecht. These people are no students: all talents are skilled with experience from abroad. “The hospitality industry, especially in Utrecht, is a small world. The city and its number of new businesses are growing rapidly. Therefore a lot of new staff is needed. In addition, most businesses do not have a separate HR-department that actively searches for new personnel. The entrepreneurs have to search new personnel themselves which is time-consuming, which is scarce often. That is why I scout for talents abroad and get them to Utrecht”, explains Merijn.


Merijn comes up with the idea during his graduation at the Hotel management school: “I have been working in the hospitality industry for years. In addition, I have travelled extensively during my studies, did an internship and worked abroad. There I discovered how great it is to work abroad with people of different nationalities. You learn a lot from each other and complement each other. In addition, working and living in another country is in itself a great experience. Despite all the beautiful places I’ve seen, the Netherlands stays awesome. I want to give this experience to all the talents who will come work in Utrecht. It’s a great opportunity for them.”


A gap in the market filled by recruiting from abroad for the hospitality industry in Utrecht. How does Merijn get his talents? “In addition to my own network, I do a lot of online research. There is a big shortage of trained hospitality personnel in the Netherlands, but in the rest of Europe, many talents cannot find a job. Sometimes they will work sixty hours a week, while not getting paid. My talent pool includes people from Italy, Croatia, Portugal, Spain and Greece. When I have found a potential match, I have a lot of contact with the candidate to get to know him or her well. I have been working hard for half a year now and have already helped several candidates to get a job, for example at the restaurant ‘De Markt’ and ‘Metro City Kitchen’.”

‘Getting a candidate to Utrecht’ is something to say the least. Merijn tells me he is practically living at the ‘City office’. “I arrange everything around moving a candidate to the Netherlands. From fixing a plane ticket, pick-ups from Schiphol to register a candidate with the municipality and housing. This way I take everything out of the hands of the future employer and help the candidate from a to z. Thus, the employer and employee are ensured that everything is well organized. An additional advantage is that nowadays I am an expert on the application of Greek birth certificates and know the exact openings hours of the municipality!”, says Merijn with a smile.

Also eagerly looking for new staff? Know someone with their heart in hospitality or you yourself want a new challenge in our city? Get in touch!