Already, coffee and catering can be ordered for meetings and events through Jespers Torvekøkken, and on August 24, all six CBS canteens will reopen to customers. And you may well see some familiar faces, as it has so far been possible to reemploy 30 of the 70 employees who were laid off following Spisestuerne’s bankruptcy in late April.
“We are really looking forward to opening, and are busy preparing everything. After being closed for such an awfully long time, it’s a bit like starting the engine on an old car,” says Lars Winther, Customer Manager at Jespers Torvekøkken and former Director of Spisestuerne, who expects to hire more staff gradually as the semester progresses.
“We haven’t needed to hire anyone new, so to speak. We have hired 30 former employees from Spisestuerne, and that will probably increase as we return closer to business as usual during the autumn,” he says.
When the canteens open, the kitchens will not be in full swing from day one, however. This is both due to the coronavirus situation and the fact that this semester, 50 percent of all teaching activities will take place online as a measure to prevent the infection from spreading. And as fewer people will be gathering at CBS at the same time, there will be fewer customers on a daily basis.
“At Solbjerg Plads, initially we will not be opening the first-floor canteen, which includes the buffet. This is mainly due to the situation with coronavirus, and we must simply wait and gauge demand before taking that step. But we plan to reopen the buffet as well,” explains Lars Winther, Customer Manager at Jespers Torvekøkken and continues:
“Moreover, the assortment will not be as wide to begin with, but we will gradually adjust it as we go.”
Although all major events this semester have been cancelled, Jespers Torvekøkken is offering to cater for meetings and minor events. The staff did not expect this to keep them tremendously busy, according to Lars Winther, but more people than expected have booked catering.
“We have been surprised by the popularity of catering for events and meetings, which is really good,” he says.
Less options, less food waste
Jespers Torvekøkken is currently transforming the canteens with some interior tweaks here and there. However, you might still see bags, stickers and coffee cups bearing the Spisestuerne logo for a while. Lars Winther explains that instead of throwing out the surplus stock from Spisestuerne, they are using them all up.
“There’s literally no reason to throw out all the items simply because they have the Spisestuerne logo. That wouldn’t be sustainable,” he says.
Well, hopefully they won’t notice much, other than a little less to choose from and an improved qualityLars Winther
And on the subject of sustainability, Lars Winther says Jespers Torvekøkken will continue to pursue its aim of sustainably developing the canteen.
“Jespers Torvekøkken is a big organization. It has its own sustainability department with an ambitious sustainability strategy and is far more organized. At Spisestuerne, we tried many different initiatives, but we also fumbled around,” he says.
Jespers Torvekøkken will not reintroduce the ‘fight food waste’ lunch boxes but will instead implement “well-proven production processes” that contribute to a more exact food production based on what the guests eat, so that nothing is thrown out at the end of the day and “important resources are lost,” says Lars Winther.
“This is another reason for streamlining the options, because we know that more options bring more food waste. Instead, there’ll be a little less choice but better quality,” he explains.
Being more sustainable is also about organic produce, and Jespers Torvekøkken will aim to achieve an organic catering accreditation. For example, the bakery at CBS uses only organic flour, and the milk, butter and coffee brands are labeled organic, according to Lars Winther.
The Spisestuerne spirit lingers
On the question of how students and staff will experience the changeover, Lars Winther says:
“Well, hopefully they won’t notice much, other than a little less to choose from and an improved quality.”
“The big difference between Spisestuerne and Jespers Torvekøkken is that Spisestuerne was non-profit. Jespers Torvekøkken needs to earn money. The prices will be relatively the same, but we have been asked to generate profit, of course,” he says.
When the canteens open, students and staff will notice at least one big change. Paying by finger will no longer be possible, as Nets decided not to extend the contract. Payment by cash has also been phased out. Instead, Mobilepay is being introduced as an alternative to paying by card.
Lars Winther is excited to get things started, but also to see what he can learn from Jespers Torvekøkken and vice versa.
And although Jespers Torvekøkken isn’t Spisestuerne, Lars Winther explains that the Spisestuerne spirit will live on.
“The company has a ‘living-room’ kind of vibe that closely resembles Spisestuerne,” he says.