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.
MIX OF NATIONALITIES
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!