New Fork: "Rotterdam becomes hip, you can see that the old hospitality industry is disappearing."

In July 2017, New Fork started to work with Temper. Due to the enormous growth of locations/shops, the need for good staff is high. We spoke with Mike van den Hoogenband, Operations Manager at New Fork, about his experiences with Temper and why New Fork is growing so fast.

Mike, can you tell us about New Fork?

"Of course, New Fork started in 2010 with a shop on the Coolsingel. We are a lunch to go concept where you can go for traditionally prepared sandwiches. The New Fork concept is based on six values. That may sound like a lot, but they all come into play in the concept, both for our staff and for what we want to project. The first value we apply is 'Fun', by which we mean that we not only work with fun people, but also want everyone to be fun to each other and to our guests. The same goes for 'new'. Learning new things is fun and otherwise we would have been called Old Fork. We also like working with bosses. You are the boss of the things you have to do, so you are responsible for getting them done. The next one is 'Energetic'. Our food gives you energy, so naturally you are full of energy too. Masterful: We want to make the best sandwich every day, so that everyone comes back to enjoy it again. So we make sure that we use the same ingredients every time, the sandwich looks the same and of course tastes the same! The last and most important value is 'Natural'. Everything we make is 100% natural. We are honest, open, straightforward and truly Rotterdam."

It sounds like working in hospitality is really your passion, how did you end up in hospitality?

"I was born and raised on a beach in Kijkduin. That is actually where it all started. When I wanted Turtle dolls at the age of eight, my mother told me I had to work for them. I did this by collecting bottles from the beach and delivering crates; I got a quarter per crate. When I was eleven, I had my own ice-cream stand on the beach. After that, I worked in the snack bar, dishwashing, in the kitchen and behind the bar. In between, I made two trips outside the hospitality industry, to Domino's and Konmar. Something to do with food, though."

New Fork office in The New Office, Scheepvaartkwartier

What exactly is your role at New Fork?

"I am the operations manager for the shops. Those include the outlets at Erasmus University, Coolsingel and in the Scheepvaartkwartier. Those are all locations that are accessible to everyone. In addition, I take care of all new locations and for Futureland, on the Maasvlakte. So I have a bit of a double role! My colleague is responsible for the company catering at Allianz and Coolblue."

So far, New Fork only has branches in Rotterdam, what makes you so special in this city?

"We offer something different from the mainstream. With our concept, we want to reach customers who want something different from the ordinary spongy sausage roll. We do this by preparing our sandwiches in a masterly way. After all, the Dutch simply love sandwiches, especially at lunchtime. For example, we have a delicious peanut butter sandwich. We make the peanut butter ourselves, it's not as sweet, there's no rubbish in it and it's made from real peanuts. Recently, we even have a gado gado variant with bean sprouts and pickles. It may sound strange but in combination with peanut butter it's very special and tasty!"

As a hospitality professional, you have gained a lot of experience in the hospitality industry. What is your vision on the hospitality industry in Rotterdam and what is your favourite spot?

"Rotterdam is becoming really hip, you notice that the old hospitality industry is disappearing. There are many start-ups here with good, unusual and new ideas. I like to go to New Fork for lunch, but since we don't serve dinner, in the evening I like to go to another small place in Rotterdam. It is called Bar Roffa and you can eat really delicious meat from the barbecue here. There is literally a barbecue in the restaurant! The place is typically for Rotterdam, and I sometimes have lunch there as well!"

What are you looking for in staff who want to come and work at New Fork?

"Make sure you are yourself and that you love your job. That's the most important thing, we'll teach you the rest. We are looking for people who want to fully commit themselves, who can empathise with our product and with the way we work. We are also always open to people with an opinion. I prefer that you say what you think, otherwise we can't do anything about it. If I don't agree with you, I will always explain why I think so or why we do it that way. Take a cappuccino, for example. Sometimes it is much easier to make it with long-life milk because it is a much more stable product. But since we are 100% natural, we work with organic milk. This sometimes makes it a little more difficult for the staff because it is more difficult to froth. It sometimes happens that the milk has become too hot and we have to throw it away."

A masterful New Fork sandwich

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about staff shortages in the hospitality sector.

"Fortunately, we have quite a lot of applicants. But I do notice that the attitude of employees has changed. We are looking for really passionate hospitality tigers, but we often lose them to the evening hospitality sector. There you have the personal contact with the guests that we often do not have because of the 'to go' concept. We have grown enormously in the past few months and we open a new location almost every two months. Due to our growth, it is difficult to find staff quickly and at the same time ensure that the quality remains guaranteed."

Another big challenge is staff retention, do you have to deal with this too and how do you handle it?

"When we find suitable staff that match our values, we are of course very happy about this. When they do their work well, this is certainly mentioned. Ultimately, this promotes the atmosphere on the shop floor and is directly reflected in the work that is delivered."

You have been working together with Temper for a number of months now. Why did you start working with Temper, and how is this cooperation going?

"Temper is a platform of the future and aligns very well with our values. The concept that you can hire yourself out to companies where you want to work is very strong. I think this will give you more motivated contractors. If you respond to a shift with a client, you know where you stand, what you are going to do and what qualities you must have. That makes it very clear. So far, I am happy with the cooperation with Temper."

Can't wait to get started at New Fork after reading this blog? Then register now at and start this week!

Or are you looking for experienced hospitality staff and do you want to benefit from Temper's on-demand FreeFlexers, just like New Fork? Check out the possibilities at and take advantage of them immediately.

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