Living the mission-driven mission, &samhoud brings vegetarian cuisine to the masses.
by Jeroen Geelhoed
By means of a large-scale campaign in the Netherlands, &samhoud announced the sale of fresh meals.
Four ready-made dishes are sold under the name “&samhoud food” through Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. The fresh meals are developed by Chef Moshik Roth of two star restaurant &samhoud places, located in Amsterdam.
You might ask:
“What does a 25 year old consultancy company actually want with a food line? And why does it have a Michelin star restaurant?”
Why &samhoud places?
It may seem unusual, but for founder Salem Samhoud everything falls into place.
“Our higher goal, ‘Together we build a brighter future,’ compels us to look for ways to contribute to a better future. As consultants, we work with our customers to increase employee value, customer value, financial value and social value. And we practice what we preach. As a result we were in the top of the customer satisfaction rankings, we had a high financial performance and we were #1 great place to work in Europe.”
But then what?
A customer came to us and said, “Congratulations, well done! But as a consultant this is easy. You should have an actual business. That is much more difficult.”
That was food for thought.
Fully Vision Driven
At the same time, the company was in the middle of a strategy process, concluding that they were not just consultants. Samhoud:
“We are entrepreneurs, and we would like to show in practice how to create lasting value. Then we had to think about where to start. Because we are 100% vision driven we came back to our higher goal: together we build a brighter future. What does that mean? And what are the big issues for the future?”
Ingrid Smolders, manager of &samhoud food:
“One of the big issues in the world is: food. So we decided to start in the food business with the aim of bringing gastronomy to the world.”
Three Lines Of Innovation
Together with Chef Moshik Roth they started a two Michelin star restaurant in Amsterdam. It is amazing to see all the food innovations happening in that Michelin kitchen, like the meatless hamburger called “&tomeato” or the Olympic gold medals during the Olympic Games in 2012.
Shaping an excellent customer experience for the guests was also an interesting journey. But the aim was bigger: building a brighter future by bringing gastronomy to the world, not only for the elite.
So a second line was started: a streetfood restaurant with high quality dishes from Chef Moshik but with much lower prices.
However, the third line was the most adventurous one. This line is focused on the general public. According to Salem Samhoud:
“Making the innovations of Chef Moshik available for the general public enables us to offer readymade meals that do not contain meat, are healthier and unusually tasty.”
The “meat” in the meals (lasagne, moussaka, chili sin carne and couscous) tastes like real meat, but is made of tomato. A breakthrough innovation. In addition, you “Eat and Share;” for each meal sold, a child in an SOS Children Village can eat vegetables. That is what they mean by “Together we build a brighter future.”
Unusual Spin Offs
At the same time, there are some interesting spin offs for the consultancy company. Customers and potential customers like the fact that their consultant is an entrepreneur as well. More people like to join in the movement of "together we build a brighter future."
What’s more, customers love to dine in the Michelin star restaurant. The meals, the food innovations and the restaurant all combined is the proof of practice what you preach.
And there are some more spin offs ahead.
Think about the extra opportunities for employees of the consulting company. Within the same company they can develop as a team leader, as an entrepreneur and become a better consultant at the same time.
And last but not least, think about pride. Employees love to share stories about unusual activities that create value.
(Personal) Vision Driven Innovation
This real life story articulates how important a higher goal is to foster innovation, to create value for all stakeholders and for entering new markets. It even shows the importance of a personal vision.
Ingrid Smolders developed her personal vision a couple of years ago within the &samhoud consultancy. The outcome: she realized she wanted to create more companies that create value for all stakeholders. It was the perfect match between the higher goal of &samhoud, Ingrid's personal vision and customers feedback. She became responsible for &samhoud food and the results are now in the supermarket. And there is more to come…
It's also the reason Inc. Magazine's Editor-at-Large Bo Burlingham had the following to say about Creating Lasting Value:
“The authors of this timely book have great advantage over most other people who write about creating value: they’ve done it. Creating Lasting Value shows how you can do it too.”
How does your company’s vision drive innovation? And what does purpose have to do with the new business models in your organization?