Interview: graduate Lizanne van Bladel runs SlimSalads restaurant

News 20 November 2017
Lizanne van Bladel HAS Hogeschool

“I discovered that SlimSalads was for sale by accident and I almost immediately fell in love with the concept. Treating other people to healthy food motivates me, so it fits well with that, plus there were still plenty of opportunities for expansion."

Lizanne van Bladel enjoys treating people to healthy food. When during her final year of the Top-Class Business Programme, the possibility cropped up of taking over the SlimSalads restaurant, she didn’t hesitate one bit. Well, maybe a little bit, but not for very long. And as of August, the Food Innovation graduate now runs this restaurant just a stone’s throw from HAS in Den Bosch. The concept of fresh salads and soups suits her perfectly and she plans on expanding it further. Let us introduce you to Lizanne in five short points:

Baking

“I had multiple interests when I was at secondary school. I wanted to study radiology, but I was already struggling, so I decided to go for a more practical study programme. I was always baking at home, so I looked into HAS. I immediately fancied the study programme Food Innovation: great atmosphere, practical with the opportunity to be creative with food. I considered Food Technology, but you need to be very precise for that and that’s something I’m just not that good at.”

Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship is in my DNA: my grandfather had a company in balcony railings which my mother later took over. The company has now been in the family for 55 years. Entrepreneurship was fed to me from birth and my grandfather and mother are my role models. During the course of my study programme, I discovered that I didn’t want to work for a boss and wanted to start my own company. I signed up for the Top-Class Business Programme graduation track where I developed a healthy soup concept and went in search of places to rent. My family was very supportive from the start. They gave me the confidence that I could do it.”

Getting help

“The Top-Class Business Programme helped me a lot in making the decision to start my own company and how to do it. The lecturers showed a great interest in my project, even when I switched from my soup concept to the takeover of SlimSalads. Some of those lecturers are now regular customers of mine. Mary van Hoek in particular really helped me: she was an important discussion partner. She listened to me and we brainstormed together. She really helped me to achieve my goal.”

Treating other people to healthy food

“I discovered that SlimSalads was for sale by accident and I almost immediately fell in love with the concept. Treating people to healthy food motivates me, so it fits well with that, plus there were still plenty of opportunities for expansion. That’s why I could easily let go of my own concept. SlimSalads is just around the corner from HAS in Den Bosch. You can put together your own healthy salads, but you can also buy soups, smoothies, juices and healthy bars. There are many regular customers: they don’t just come for a healthy salad, they come to have chat. That was quite a worry in the beginning; would they keep on coming back once I took over? Yes, they would!”

Dreaming

“Even though I’m concentrating at the moment on working hard to really make SlimSalads my own, I keep on dreaming. The market for healthy food is only growing and there are numerous ways for SlimSalads to further expand. For instance, SlimSalads has recently joined the home delivery service thuisbezorgd.nl and we have become a recognised training company. I am also adapting the assortment. For example, we now sell banana bread and oatmeal bars with walnuts and carrots. And in 5 years’ time? I hope to have a second branch.”

slimsalads.nl