Thought For Food ← Back
4 minute read
02 April, 2020

David Caron: 'People want a restaurant experience at home'

David Caron: 'People want a restaurant experience at home'

If you had asked the Caron family earlier this year if they had plans to offer a takeaway menu, they would have burst out laughing. But times are changing. And so Café Caron (Amsterdam) opened an online takeaway shop. Co-owner David Caron: "We sold out immediately. I hadn't seen that coming. You notice that people need a restaurant experience, but at home."

If you had asked the Caron family earlier this year if they had plans to offer a takeaway menu, they would have burst out laughing. But times are changing. And so Café Caron (Amsterdam) opened an online takeaway shop. Co-owner David Caron: "We sold out immediately. I hadn't seen that coming. You notice that people need a restaurant experience, but at home."

Foresight

Café Caron was closed before the official message about closing the catering industry was out. The Carons had foresight and thought about alternatives, David says. "Our guests asked us," what are you going to do?". We wanted to continue to offer Café Caron food, but joining a delivery platform was not an option. Putting something you love to prepare all day in a plastic box doesn't feel right. In addition, we cannot guarantee the quality."

Shopping bag to order

The idea arose to sell a shopping bag that people can pick up at Café Caron. This bag contains ingredients for a three-course menu, a bottle of Lowel - Caron's own Loire wine, a Gamay from Touraine - and cooking instructions. If you pick up the bag, you have to finish the menu in your own kitchen. David: "We prepare a a great deal of the menu. You can decide for yourself when you want to finish it: you can store the bag in the fridge for three days. Caron à la Maison is therefore not a standard takeaway that you eat right away, but a restaurant meal that you prepare yourself. "

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A shopping bag from the hands of father and top chef Alain Caron himself

Challenge: let people know you're open for takeaway

For the logistics and promotion, the Carons came up with a clever idea, says David. "Every course is being prepared at one of our three locations (Café Caron, Petit Caron, De Gouden Reael). There are only two chefs in each kitchen, so they can keep a sufficient distance. When picking up, guests do not enter at the same time and it is indicated on the ground where people are allowed to stand. Via Instagram and WhatsApp we have informed our entire network that we are open for takeaway and we have put a pop-up on our homepage. This worked better than I expected: we sold all the bags well before the weekend. We will increase the number of menus in the coming weeks."

Pick up and get started at home

Can you do it yourself with a recipe from a famous chef? David: "Must be possible. The dishes are adapted to the home cook. But after the first weekend, we discovered there is room for improvement: a guest had poured the caramel sauce for the tarte tatin over his chicken. This indicates that our instruction and labels could have been a little clearer. If we ask people to prepare our dishes ourselves, we must help them as much as possible. We are working on that. You cannot think of everything in advance. You learn best by starting."

Would you also like to enjoy a three-course menu from Café Caron? Order your shopping bag directly via www.cafecaron.nl.

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A menu from Caron à la Maison

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