Hendrik Dierendonck is a second generation butcher, as he took over from his parents. Belgium’s most famous butcher continues to innovate, from restaurant to online shop: an unparalleled family story powered by creative growth.
CHOSING TO GROW
ogether with my wife Evelyne I took over my father’s business in Sint-Idesbald (Koksijde). As a butcher, his biggest competition were fish shops. People drove home after having spent a weekend at the coast with shopping bags full of fish. We wanted those bags to be filled with our meat. So we went all in on quality, from the terroir, the farm to the plate.
In 2006 I rebuilt the butchery and in 2011 we opened a second shop in Nieuwpoort. Afterwards there were shops in Brussels (2016) and Kortrijk (2018). In the meantime, I was also delivering meat to a lot of chefs and restaurants and cafés. Carcasse (2014) was originally meant as a demo and workshop space, but it evolved into a successful restaurant. Our shop in Sint-Idesbald has since become too small so we centralised it in the industrial zone in Veurne. At this moment our team consists of 65 people.”
GROWING, GROWING PAIN AND ENERGY.
“I have always had the ambition to grow. But at a certain point we realised that the energy we were putting into our business didn’t translate into sufficient financial income. There were quite a few growing pains. We stood before the choice: either we go back to working on a smaller scale, or we grow, but if we grow, we’re doing it right. We chose for the latter.’
OUR BUSINESS, A BRANCH IN ITSELF
“To ease the growing pains, we went looking for a freelance CFO. It needed to be someone with a real affinity for what we do. Which is not as simple as it sounds. The meat industry is so specific because we dissemble the product first, only to assemble it again as something different. That makes it complex on a financial levelBy the way, our bank also wanted us to find a CFO.”
“Mutual acquaintances introduced us to Edwig Tanghe, the founder of Resolvus. He had already won his spurs in the meet industry and the food industry in general. We immediately felt that oh-so important match with him.”
RESOLVUS FROM GUT FEELING TO INSIGHT
I used to make my decisions based on my gut feeling, and it was often ‘the blow with the dump’. But the bigger you get, the more you start taking every single thing into consideration. Edwig and his team at Resolvus make sure you stay alert for this. Now we know what is profitable or loss-making. What we need and what our forecasts are with regards to the future. But despite this very sensible approach, they don’t shun away from the occasional risk.
An average bookkeeper often thinks in boxes and is very focused on numbers. But running a business is so much more than that, it also involves being able to sense into the market. Edwig can do both. And that’s important to me too. To not lose hope if a decision or an investment doesn’t immediately deliver some kind of a profit. Every entrepreneur needs support from time to time. To know if you’re a good job, but also to motivate you to keep on going.”
MEAT MERCHANT VS. FINANCIAL TALKS WITH THE BANK
For me, Edwig is a CFO in every sense of the word, someone who knows all the ins and outs of my company and participates in negotiations. At one point we had a cash flow problem because we were growing so quickly. Without extra working capital we would not have been able to do any big investments for three to four years.
I’m good at talking shop as a meat merchant, but a lot less talented at talking to investment companies about getting a loan.
With a balanced business model and Edwig’s knowledge of the financial world we hugely increased our chances at success.”
PERSONAL, FLEXIBLE AND WELL-CONNECTED
“Sometimes it seems easy to just paste someone else’s experience onto your company, but that is not how Resolvus works. First they research the philosophy and strategy of your company and then they apply their knowledge to it. And aside from that, their flexibility is a huge asset. If I mention we have a problem, they immediately send someone to fix it.
You just feel that they are prepared for anything. On the other hand, they also help you build your network. Resolvus brings people from divers businesses together which allows you to share your problems and solutions, learn and grow. For us it’s clear: as a company that is currently growing we do not have the means to invest in our own middle management ourselves. Having Edwig as your freelance CFO, someone we can summon whenever we need him, but otherwise allows us to go about our business, is quite unique.”
Thanks, Hendrik! We wish you and Dierendonck a lot of success and we are honoured to be a part of your team!
en zijn blij dat we deel van jouw team zijn!