TRENDING — 08.04.2020

In 2011 the Slok family made a trip to Vietnam. That was the moment when Martijn (then 18 years old), Myrthe (16) and Bastiaan (14) fell in love with Asian culture. After many trips, conversations, discoveries and ideas, their dream became a reality: bringing a Japanese ramen bar to Amsterdam! Otemba Ramen was born. Enbiun helps them with concept development, brand strategy, branding, graphic- and interior design.

Otemba Interior
Otemba Logo
Otemba Logo

branding & interior design for Otemba Ramen by enbiun

These new young catering entrepreneurs are taking the step to open their doors after the corona crisis. What’s their view on the current crisis? And how do they deal with it? We interviewed Myrthe Slok.

How are you dealing with the corona crisis?

Although there is international talk of a crisis, we prefer not to talk about it that way. Our goal was to open our doors before the Easter weekend, but this plan is now delayed by weeks, or perhaps months. We think it is very important to remain positive; there are entrepreneurs who are currently struggling way more than we are. We try to think of creative solutions, because many deliveries from Asia have been cancelled. Can we possibly make our own decorations? Start using other ingredients? We want to be 100% "ready to rumble" as soon as the measures are withdrawn. Where other catering establishments have take-away as a "solution", we do not currently see that as an option as a starting restaurant. Maybe we’ll create Japanese cooking videos and share recipes online! Every day we come together to come up with ideas and solutions. One thing is certain, and we keep repeating it: it is a very challenging period of time in which we have to keep on smiling, keep our heads up, and have fun. Nobody can (and will!) take that away from us. 

"2020 should be our year, not corona's"

How did the crisis change your plans?

It was certainly a big setback when we were told that all catering establishments had to close their doors. We've all worked so hard to open in early April, so what’s next? Suppliers that deliver later, interior builders, artists, and other third parties who cannot (and do not want to) be on location with more than three people. Everyone is stressed out. For example, when we try to get in touch with the municipality regarding compensation, we are told that we are likely not eligible for this, simply because we have not had any income from our business, while we are in dire need of it right now. The landlord is also in splits, and like us, has many questions about making choices. Nor does the accountant, with years of experience, have answers to our questions. When you hear Rutte say in the press conference that this is, after WWII, the biggest crisis the Netherlands has ever experienced, you know that he really means business. What will the future look like for us? When can we open our doors? And will this be just as jolly and successful as we hoped? It is the biggest question that comes to our minds every day. 

What do you think the effect will be when you open the doors of Otemba Ramen?

When the time comes, and we are able to open our doors... are we going to throw a big opening party? Because there is a good chance that everyone will dive into his or her own favourite pub first. Or maybe not, because people may be more careful and have less to spend. Can we already sell gift certificates that guests can use later? We are definitely in a very challenging situation. And as a starting catering entrepreneur, it is important to think about the right ‘opening plan’. 

Crisis or not, we must continue to enjoy ourselves. 2020 should be our year, not corona's.