The Chinese friends who operate Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands would notice the obvious change in recent years that the business of traditional Chinese Indonesian restaurant is not as prosperous anymore; and many old restaurants that have been in business for decades have faced transformation or closure. The times are changing, the tastes are changing, and what should the old-fashioned Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands do?
In the olden days in the Netherlands, whether commercial or residential areas, as long as there were people, a Chinese restaurant would spring up. Chinese and Indonesian restaurants are located in many Dutch cities and villages and were the “norm” of Dutch society! In the 1970s, 60 percent of Dutch people were frequent customers of Chinese and Indonesian restaurants.
Chinese restaurants were everywhere. They offered affordable meals, fried rice, satay and shrimp crackers! It was a great temptation for Dutch people who were careful with their spending. Even the typical dinner for soldiers serving in the military camp was Chinese fried noodles.
Time has changed and the prosperous scene of traditional Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands has since disappeared.
According to official statistics, the number of traditional “Chinese and Indonesian restaurants” in the past five years has shrunk dramatically in the Netherlands. There is a significant reduction of 13%, from nearly 1,900 restaurants in 2014 to 1,600 restaurants today. If you look at the trend in the past 10 years, this picture is even more alarming. The number of Chinese restaurants has dropped as much as 22 percent. Experts predict that this trend will continue and the number of Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands will fall below 1,400 by 2025.
While there is a decline of Chinese restaurants, the number of other foreign restaurants has soared by 19 percent, including Korean restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, Thai restaurants and so on.
What is the reason for the “disappearance” of Chinese restaurants?
The reason for the lack of new opening of “traditional” Chinese restaurants is actually very simple: it is a reduction in demand!
Dutch grandparents have stopped going to Chinese restaurants for birthdays. And this was exactly the norm, which defined their “lifestyle” 30 years ago. Moreover, the traditional “tasty and oily” Chinese food is no longer able to meet the social trend of more and more people pursuing a “light and healthy” diet.
Dutch consumers have experienced “aesthetic fatigue” in Chinese food.
However there is a silver lining, the take-away business of Chinese food is on the rise. ABN Amro Bank of the Netherlands statistics show that Chinese food delivery increased by 20 percent in 2018.
Many of the original Chinese restaurants have been converted into Wok restaurants or “all-you-can-eat” restaurants.
Although many of these restaurants have similar names such as “Beijing”, “Great Wall”, “Lotus”, etc., these restaurants have not formed a chain, but are operated individually. In addition, the “key” to Dutch Horeca industry – the fast food french fries shops are full of unlimited financial potentials. A large number of Chinese restaurants owners have therefore turned to fast-food restaurants or hotels.
Where have the Chinese restaurants owners gone? 75 percent of the existing Dutch fast food restaurants are operated by Chinese!