After twenty years in the catering industry, I was completely fed up with working very long days until the early hours and usually just to sell rubbish which was supposed to pass for food. I therefore stopped in 2000 and started looking for a top quality innovative food concept.
During this time I started taking a very good look into exactly what was missing from the Dutch catering industry and where there was scope for improvement. Spending a year conducting research in various leading countries and cities in relation to convenience food service concepts and formulas certainly made it abundantly clear to me what was missing in the Netherlands. A concept with honest and, above all, top quality ultra fresh grab & go products with a beautiful, modern and reliable image.
UNHEALTHY TO GO
The complete opposite was most definitely available: the worst, cheap, unhealthy sandwiches and rolls imaginable, produced with unnaturally long shelf lives and packaged in plastic. A Canadian friend of mine couldn’t have painted a clearer picture of the situation: “I wouldn’t even give this shit to my dog”, and he certainly wasn’t wrong.
Lunchrooms and snack bars with fried eggs on bread, meat ball rolls and fried rice cakes were certainly plentiful. The quality of the food on offer in most office canteens was at least as bad. These would often have even more types of snacks on offer compared to the snack bar around the corner. There were only two national formulas which tackled things reasonably efficient. However, they had never even heard of healthy, responsible and delicious. The time had definitely come for a worthy alternative.
At the same time a strong new trend was developing towards healthy, delicious and responsible food in London, New York and Toronto (and other cities in the UK and North America). This was mainly expressed in concepts focussed on grab & go for lunch or a snack. This included salads, sushi, yoghurts and healthy rolls and sandwiches. Before this time a lunch or snack was often purchased from a restaurant or café and was usually intended for eating on location.
When I started searching for developments in the food market in the UK – and particularly in London – I was constantly confronted with what I had already started developing in my own head. There were various different companies actively and successfully involved with producing quality, healthy pre-packaged lunches and snacks for the grab & go market. The image, the implemented signing and branding of the Pret a Manger and EAT brands, particularly made a huge impression on me. Everything had been thought of and the house style was a consistent and prominent feature on all products.
HEALTHY TO GO
Everything seemed to fall into place after seeing this. This is exactly what the Netherlands needs: healthy and delicious pre-packaged products of the highest possible quality, freshly prepared by hand on location. Products which can be eaten there and then, or alternatively whilst out on the road or at some later time in the day.
I most certainly didn’t want to be a copycat, although I was deeply impressed by the various different foreign concepts and formulas. The concept I had in mind had to have products of the same high quality, but with their own individual look. I subsequently started looking for designers, suppliers, employees, builders and, of course, customers. I also see it as being of the utmost importance for investors to truly believe in Sanday’s philosophy and that all this can be made possible (including the intended growth).
I had initially thought of the brand name ‘Today’s’. Ultimately fresh sandwiches prepared today: ‘Made today, eat today’. But with just a month before the opening of the first shop, we received an objection, as the brand name was already registered in Germany. Sanday’s was subsequently born in 2001. Sanday’s is a play on the words ‘Sandwich’ and ‘Every day fresh’.
A large part of the Netherlands is now familiar with our name and almost everyone has eaten one of our products. Something which not everyone will be aware of, as our name isn’t featured on all the products. This is because our products are also offered as a private label option for our customers.
BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS
Sanday’s first establishment became a fact in 2001 after a year filled with blood, sweat and tears. The doors of shops number two, three, four and five very quickly opened up to the public in other cities after this. Our products, like the fresh sandwiches, wraps, bagels, salads, fruit, coffee (already organic and Fairtrade at that time) and fresh juices of the highest quality were eagerly being purchased. Unfortunately we had no alternative but to reach the decision to close our stand alone city shops after three years. The earnings unfortunately weren’t profitable. However, demand from the business community continued to grow and this is where we identified opportunities.
This movement made us decide to completely focus on developing top quality convenience products, brands and formulas for the grab & go market, together with our small team of dedicated food enthusiasts. The major food service companies both at home and abroad soon noticed Sanday’s, which resulted in various different strong collaborations. Our famous daily fresh, carton packaged sandwiches also proved very popular with the caterers and other food service companies. As demand from third parties continued to grow, we decided it was time to open up a large production kitchen.
The 1000 m2 production kitchen soon became too small when we started organising the catering for various different airlines and airports. This is why we decided to move our production across to a state-of-the-art production kitchen, measuring an impressive 5500 m2. Despite the massive increase in scale, everything was still made by hand here, just like when we first started out. Quality (and the safeguarding of quality), constant innovations and our search for even better things are all factors we have never lost sight of.
It all started out as a personal dream of mine back in 2000 and now this has developed into a close-knit team, which actively goes looking for an even better product or concept every single day. An organic and honest product is just as important to us now as when we first started. We firmly believe in the absolute best quality. A fresh, delicious and honest product which is handmade and which has been produced with all possible care and attention, that’s something we fight for at Sanday’s.