The world market leader in food and beverage for travellers at high traffic locations won the tender for Broodzaak, which was issued by the Dutch Railways (NS) in July last year, and has been operating all 29 locations of the brand since 1st December 2018.
A key component of the NS tender was to outline a new future for the Broodzaak, and HMSHost took up the challenge by developing a completely new bread brand tailored to the needs of train stations and their passengers.
“The Dutch Railways were looking for a partner with a successful plan for the future of Broodzaak and our ideas fit in well with it,” says Walter Seib, CEO of HMSHost International. “Of course we offer financial stability, but moreover a personal touch with which we create locations that are more than just a stopover. They become places that travellers truly appreciate, ‘places to be’. HMSHost connects travellers to inspiring locations and creates an atmosphere that makes them feel at home at any given moment. Each traveller is our guest, and receives genuine personal attention from our staff to feel comfortable. Our approach results in an immediate willingness to spend more.”
HMSHost International conducted consumer research across 2,700 people. This revealed important insights for building a successful brand, including the fact that travellers only have five minutes at the station on average, placing speed of service as essential. At the same time the data also showed that this speed of service should not come at the expense of quality and choices, setting the scene for an exciting challenge.
Need for new brand
Seib: “Our conclusion was that travellers needed a new brand with real, tasty food at the speed you may expect from a train station. We focus on train passengers with limited time who want a moment for themselves before, during or after their journey to recharge.”
Research showed that at around 4 PM, people tend to look for something warm, savoury, and relatively healthy. TRECK caters for this with the inclusion of soup, small warm snacks and – specially developed for the brand – pizza twisters in the assortment.
Cooperation with the Dutch Railways
For HMSHost, TRECK is the largest own-brand in the Netherlands. Walter Seib says: “Within HMSHost International we have an extensive portfolio of brands, both franchise and own brands. But TRECK is really unique for us.” There are no plans to take the brand abroad. “TRECK was specially developed for the Dutch Railways, replacing the Broodzaak,” says Seib. “We always look for opportunities to grow as a company, and this was a huge opportunity.”
This is not the first time HMSHost International has worked with the Dutch Railways. “We have a good business partnership,” says Seib. “We work well with our business partners at all our stores. We try to make it better together, because in that way we all benefit. In the case of TRECK, our partnership with the Dutch Railways meant that we were also able to use the insights and experiences that they had gained from the Broodzaak.”
As pleasant as possible
Femke Woudstra, Director of Station Management and Operation Dutch Railways Stations: “Stations are a crucial link in our door-to-door journey for our travellers. Our efforts are focused on making the stay on and the journey to and from the station as pleasant and easy as possible. We regularly examine the wishes of our travellers, so that we can respond to this with, among other things, a suitable and diverse range of shops and facilities for travellers and visitors at the stations. In everything we do, we put the services to our travellers first, and want to respond to the needs of the traveller. HMSHost anticipates these needs well with their new food formula TRECK. We are therefore curious about the reactions of the travellers to the new variety on offer.”
HMSHost International has been working together with the Dutch Railways since 2015 and, in addition to the Broodzaak, operates 17 Burger King stores and 4 La Place stores at Dutch stations, as well as operating LEON, ‘t Koffiehuis and Bar Centraal across the rail network. In March 2018 HMSHost International also opened the first Dutch location of Pret A Manger at Utrecht Central Station.
Addition of associates
HMSHost has taken over all 415 employees from the Broodzaak and is happy with this acquisition. In fact, they say that more employees are needed. CEO Walter Seib says, “For TRECK we need motivated associates who have hospitality in their genes. We expect the number of guests to grow and as a result we need more employees in the future.”
The contract for the 29 Broodzaak locations with NS has a term of ten years and generates an estimated turnover of €30 million per year. With more passengers expected to arrive at the train stations in the coming years, there is the anticipation of strong growth in turnover of the branches.
TRECK opens in Haarlem on 27th May. Four days later, Amersfoort will follow on 31st May and Leiden will also have its own TRECK location on June 5th.