MEET OUR MEMBER: STEFAN BOERS
by Tribes Inspiring Workplaces, on 22 Jun 2018
WAYBACK BURGERS NETHERLANDS
For this week's member we went to the place where it all started: the very first location of the Tribes network, Tribes Eindhoven Airport! Stefan Boers has his office on the second floor and has a very special and inspiring story to share. Stefan is General Manager of Wayback Burgers Netherlands and has a master's franchise license of the American burger concept. Together with Jesse Heinhuis, Sales and Marketing Director, and Matthijs Feitsma, Operational Manager, he will open Europe's first location in the Netherlands this year.
That's already incredibly cool, but what's special about Stefan is that he's only 22 years old. He starts laughing: 'oh wait, last week I turned 23! We’re amazed by his story: 'I have been interested in the fast food world from an early age. The speed and efficiency, the 'vibe' in those chains, really appealed to me. Even though I was young, I saw the process behind the concept, and that aroused my interest. Where others started working at the local supermarket when they were 16, I started my career at McDonalds. When I was 18, I became a floor manager, and one year later I was responsible for 150 people.
Stefan completed a Business Traineeship and decided that after six years of experience in the well-known chain, it was time for something new. Stefan: 'Entrepreneurship runs in the family, and we came up with the idea about three years ago. Together with my uncle and my cousin’s friend, we talked about setting up a formula in the catering industry: a sort of marriage between fast-food concepts and restaurants. My fiancée was doing some online research, and came across Wayback Burgers, which was exactly in line with our philosophy. Last April we decided that we should just do it, it was really such a 'now or never' moment: we had to go on or stop talking about it'.
Stefan called Bill Chemero, Vice President of Wayback Burgers to introduce himself. ‘Of course, they were surprised by my age, but let's be honest: that's just a number. I've gained a lot of experience and in the end it's all about the value you can offer and your mindset. So, I went to America with Jesse and got to know Wayback Burgers, both the headquarters team and the product itself, and we were immediately convinced. We were amazed by the product and the experience in the restaurant, and we wanted to bring this concept to the Netherlands. Apart from the fact that one wants to eat a burger, you can’t compare it with the existing fast-food concepts. We have not encountered anything alike: the way we prepare burgers and milkshakes, the ingredients we use and the experience you get in the restaurant, it’s one of a kind. Of course, you can also pick it up and have it delivered, but in the restaurant, it is served at the table. We tested it ourselves in America, and it really is the quality experience of a restaurant, with the speed of a fast service’, says Stefan.
The gentlemen have been master franchisees since September 2017 and are therefore looking for potential franchisees to roll out Wayback Burgers in Europe together. Stefan is open to contact: 'You don't necessarily have to have experience in the catering industry. The most important is a passion for food and service. People who realize after years in the office that they want to do something else are also welcome, we will train them as Wayback Burgers franchisees. It fits in perfectly with the philosophy of Wayback Burgers, because you can’t make beautiful things happen alone, but you do them as a team'. That training is still being given in America, and so the team itself has travelled to America for five weeks. Stefan does not mind travelling: 'certainly not if you consider that you can be in the headquarters in America in eight hours from Eindhoven Airport. Once, we went back and forth to America in three days, consisting of two days of travelling and one day filled with meeting. That was a bit exhausting, but it is a real advantage of this era, you can be on the other side of the world in a day’.
In addition to a lot of intercontinental traffic, he also travels across the country to find the perfect suppliers for the chain. ‘One of the strengths of Wayback Burgers is the partnerships we have with local suppliers. The recipe for the burgers comes from America, but as master franchisee we are allowed to select suppliers who can provide us with good quality and fresh products every day. I made a lot of kilometers to find the perfect suppliers; my two-month-old car already counts 11,000 kilometers, and I also flew quite some time in that period’. He’s a business nomad in heart and soul, we think!
The flexible life of a business nomad is not unfamiliar to Stefan: he wakes up on workdays at 04.00 o’clock and is in the office around 07.00hrs. Stefan: 'If you start early, you can maintain the balance between private and professional life. We expect our first baby in July, and I'm already looking forward to being busy with that little one in the evening'. His partners, Jesse and Matthijs, also plan their days efficiently, and that was one of the reasons why the gentlemen ended up at Tribes. Stefan: 'We were in an office with strict opening hours. The doors did not open until 08.00hrs, and you were really kicked out at 20.00hrs. It was time for something different, because we wanted an office that facilitated our flexible way of working. So, we came to Tribes, where we now have 24/7 access and make optimal use of. It is also a nice community, where more and more events are taking place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the drinks on King's Day, but I heard from Jesse and Matthijs that I should definitely go with them the next time'.
Stefan has been a Tribes member since September 2017 and is very happy: 'The network of Tribes locations is also ideal for us. The other day we had guests from Ireland, and then it's much easier to meet at Tribes Amsterdam Schiphol, for example. But it’s also very convenient for our Jesse from Amsterdam to avoid traffic jams, who sometimes works at Tribes Amsterdam Arena. And I myself am in Frankfurt in September this year, and there is of course now also a Tribes location!
Contact Stefan for more information about the possibilities to become a franchisee!