Let’s Go Dutch! 5th June 2012

Over the last two years, around 10% of Amsterdam’s cafes have closed down, but Basis, a recently opened ‘bring-your-own-food’ bar has shown that a fresh approach to handling the economic downturn, can be profitable.

When the economic crisis first descended over Europe, the Netherlands appeared to cope fairly well, but since the old government collapsed due to budget cut disagreements, there are increasing signs of economic woes. However, it seems that a group of young entrepreneurs anticipated their country’s precarious financial problems, and came up with a concept that allows people to still afford to eat out, without having to break the bank. The Basis Bar allows it’s customers to bring in their own food, either ordered from cheaper outlets, such as pizzerias, or home cooked food. The bar provides everything, including dishes, cutlery and napkins, to microwave ovens whereby customers can heat their food. All they have to pay for are drinks.

Apparently, the guys behind Basis have catering experience, and although they found it enjoyable, it was also extremely limited, because they were unable to create the kind of relaxed atmosphere they wanted, where people could feel they could do whatever they like. The owners admitted that they at first encountered confusion when trying to explain the concept, but in the five months since opening, it has now become one of the most popular venues in Amsterdam.

Eating out in the Dutch capital costs at least 20 Euros, for just one food course, while at the Basis Bar, people can still afford the experience of eating out by paying much less for a drink. Some of their customers bring simple home made food, but others prepare their own Sushi, Lasagne and even Fondue. If people don’t wish to cook, they can order from a list of take-out restaurants at the bar and arrange delivery.

It will be interesting to see if this concept catches on in the UK.