See-V-Lab is being carried out within the context of Interreg Euregio Meuse-Rhine, with 798.860 euro from the European Regional Development Fund

Business Plan – Hey Chef

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This project is led by Thibault Gérard, student at HEC Entrepreneurs, holder of a Master in
Innovation Management from LSM and a Bachelor in Management Engineer from
UCLouvain. Passionate about cooking since a very young age, he wanted to include this
passion in a project aimed at improving the daily life of the inhabitants of his region. Indeed,
from the south of the province of Luxembourg, his project “Hey Chef!” will initially be
implemented in the Arlon region. “Hey Chef!” is a project whose main objective is the
creation of intergenerational social links. To achieve this, this project brings together students
and volunteers in the kitchen to prepare meals together which will then be delivered to
elderly people, isolated or who do not have access to balanced and healthy meals. These
meals will be offered in the form of subscriptions of 3 and 5 meals per week or sold
individually. Prices will range from € 10 per meal, for subscriptions of 5 meals per week, to €
12 for individual meals, plus a delivery charge of € 1 per meal. For customers who wish, a
collection point will also be available to pick up the meals ordered. These meals will consist
of a soup, a main course and a dessert. For those included in a subscription plan, they will
be served in glass jars which will then be collected on the next delivery to be cleaned and
reused for an efficient reuse cycle. Regarding the preparation of meals, those who wish,
whether they are elderly or not, can participate in the project by registering as a volunteer
cook in order to share their experience and their time with young students behind the stoves.
It is an opportunity for generations that are now quite distant and with very different daily
lives to meet and share moments together. Students will also see the chance to learn more,
whether about cooking or other topics, from older and more experienced people. The
delivery will be made by the manager, whose role will also be to take the time to discuss with
customers. Among this clientele, we find an older and sedentary part, for whom this could be
one of their only social interactions during the day. As we have seen recently, loneliness can
be very difficult to live with, and yet it is the daily life of many people in Belgium. “Hey Chef!”
therefore aims to tackle this societal problem by coupling the creation of social links with the
delivery of homemade meals from quality products. The partnerships set up by “Hey Chef!”
have also been well thought out, especially on their compatibility with the values of the
company. Food products will therefore be selected from a wholesaler recognized in the
region for the quality of its products but also for the local aspect promoted by it. The glass
jars are made by one of the market leaders in the food industry, Weck. Finally, a final partner
will be part of the project, with a company from the Arlon region which will serve as a
collection point. It will store the meals that will be collected during the day by customers who
have chosen this option while the manager will be on the roads during his delivery round.
Regarding the company’s target market, for midday meals it will be composed mainly of
seniors, for whom food is a pleasure, but who do not cook every day, whether for lack of
desire or because they just can’t anymore. In order to test the interest of the project with this
customer segment, around ten meals have already been delivered to seniors and the
reactions have all been very positive. Many test customers mentioned the superior quality of
the meal and the service offered to the customer, with the offer of the different CPAS as a
comparison, billed at more than € 8 per meal, which therefore represents a relatively low
additional cost. The proximity to Luxembourg also makes it possible to reach a clientele of
workers with significant purchasing power but who sometimes do not have the time or the
inclination to cook balanced meals after work. This will allow the company to make sales on
evening meals as well. The alternatives available on the market in the province of
Luxembourg are mainly meals from different CPAS, frozen or prepared meals from
supermarkets, some local caterers and restaurants using delivery platforms, although the
latter only serve very few cities. and villages in this region. However, there is a real
opportunity within this market. CPAS which serve the majority of the midday meals do not
seek to compete with new entrants, their primary purpose being to serve the inhabitants of
the town. Supermarkets do not offer delivery and most caterers / restaurants are too
expensive to be more than an occasional meal. So this allows “Hey Chef!” to occupy an
intermediate position, with an advantageous quality / price ratio and above all a very
pronounced differentiating factor which is the social aspect of the project and the quality of its
service. To reach its customers, the company will use two different channels. A more direct
one, which will aim to attract seniors in particular, by going door-to-door as well as by
explaining the project at meetings of senior clubs or village gatherings. Direct contact is
indeed to be favored for older people for whom new technologies are not always part of
everyday life. A telephone line will also be accessible every day of the week, and menus for
the coming weeks as well as newsletters will be sent to customers by mail, or if they wish by
e-mail. The second channel the company wants to use to reach its customers is digital.
Workers, who account for the bulk of evening sales, as well as the children of seniors who
make the meal decisions for their parents, will be the two main targets of this alternative. The
company’s social networks and its website are an effective combination, both for publicizing
the service but also for keeping its audience up to date with project news. The website will
also allow you to view menus and order meals online for the following week. To develop the
notoriety of the service when it is launched, the company will use more traditional
communication, with spots on local radio stations such as Must FM or Metropole Radio, as
well as in newspapers dealing with local news such as ‘Future of Luxembourg. The
company’s van, which will travel through the towns and villages of the province during
deliveries, will also represent a great advertising asset at a lower cost. In terms of numbers,
taking into account the possibility of selling meals both at noon and in the evening, it was
estimated that the average number of meals sold in the first year could go, while remaining
cautious, up to 32 per day. Growth will then be moderate, with the number of meals served
increasing each year reaching around 50 meals sold per day in the fifth year. This represents
in terms of turnover a little less than 100,000 euros in the first year and almost 150,000 after
5 years. In terms of costs for the company, the most important will be personnel costs. The
manager will thus receive a net salary, including benefits in kind, of 2,200 euros in the first
year and which will reach up to 2,700 euros in the fifth year. Students will be paid at the
student rate, and a cook who will be responsible for verifying kitchen standards and rules will
receive compensation of around one hundred euros each month. The rest of the costs will be
divided between the purchase of food and packaging, the rental of a room which will also
have to be refitted into a kitchen in accordance with the AFSCA regulations, as well as the
costs related to the proper functioning of the company (telecom , marketing, gas, electricity
and water, etc.). To cover the initial cash flow needs as well as the costs associated with
fitting out the premises, the company will need 60,000 euros in financing. The manager will
contribute 10,000 euros in equity, and the remaining 50,000 euros will be requested from a
banking institution, if possible coupled with a SOCAMUT subordinated loan. Indeed, it is
possible that SOCAMUT will undertake to finance part of the bank loan, while guaranteeing
up to 75% of the bank loan. The growth of the company, symbolized by an EBITDA of more
than 10,000 euros in the second year and which will more than double after five years of
operation, will then enable it to consider expanding its business. Indeed, after stabilizing the
project in the south of the province of Luxembourg, the company will aim to expand into other
regions as well as to enter new markets, such as those in student towns. The latter do
indeed offer very good development opportunities, particularly in view of their density.