2021, A YEAR IN REVIEW
‘Happy New Year’ we all screamed from the bottom of our lungs to welcome 2021. After how disastrous and difficult 2020 has been, we so desperately wanted it to be over that we thought this year would be THE year. Or at least, we hoped it couldn’t get any worse.
How unrealistic and naive we were back then, thinking that a change in time could rip off all our problems and give us our lives back. And now here we are—almost the end of 2021. And with only eight more days to go before the clock rings again, I realise we were not totally wrong for hoping 2021 would be better. And here is why.
Starting the year with our hopes high and resolutions flowing, we all began 2021 by promising ourselves to be more genuine, more outgoing, more fun. After several lockdowns, we all swore to ourselves to go out more. Say yes to last-minute plans, spend more time with the people we love. We also were keen to spend more time outside our homes. Returning to cinemas, museums, cafés, bars and restaurants. Because as marvellous as they are, they are places we were all taking for granted. As 2021 began, we just couldn’t wait to return to long-lasting lunches, pleasant dinners and Sunday brunch. And Vascobelo was excited to offer you a place to enjoy and rediscover what life is all about: delicious food, fantastic drinks and wonderful company. With that in mind, we have worked so very hard to keep you and your beloved ones safe and sound while offering you a new and better experience.
We developed new menus, adjusted our table settings to ensure social distancing, created new playlists. We also bought more hand sanitisers. Required our staff to wear a mask at all times. We provided you with a safe but relaxing environment for your to return, with considerations that it couldn’t all go back to normal and that ‘something’ was still there: we just needed to get used to it. And if we, guests and staff, made the most of the days when we managed to be together, we were closed for 280 days. Out of 365 days, that represents too many days without seeing you. And we very much suffered from this.
But, we kept our heads high and held that positive attitude at all times, as we knew better days were coming ahead. We slowly reopened our locations. It wasn’t always easy, but we tried. Some days our employees didn’t welcome any guests. Tables were set up. Our beautiful machines were switched on to serve you award-winning coffee. Kitchens were ready to prepare you delicious dishes. Still, you wouldn’t show up because you were scared of what was out there. We all were.
We, therefore, adopted a new strategy and started working with delivery platforms so you could still enjoy the Vascobelo experience from the comfort of your homes. We created Vascobelo boxes as a nod to what these past months had prevented us from doing: spending time together. Le Midi Magnifique, La Soirée Exquise, Un Brunch d’amour, the Valentine’s box… All carefully named with hopes they would bring comfort to your bellies and minds.
Seeing the bright side of all situations, the fact that our locations were closed gave us some time to rethink our strategy and see what we could improve. A couple of months later, we are proud to offer you what we believe has become a magnificent new website. Everyone within our team has participated in redesigning and improving the Vascobelo online platform to provide you with a seamless experience to find the best products in the world quickly and efficiently. Aside from its design, the products it contains have changed too. With wine, kombucha and more recently, tea, we managed to keep offering you high quality, luxurious and unique products. If Covid has slowed down our stork in its exploration, it certainly has not prevented it from working and dreaming. And sharing with you all these fantastic products was certainly a dream that came true. This, indeed, shows you how dedicated and passionate we are about what we do.
As the months passed by, we slowly saw the end of the tunnel. Reservations were flowing again, tables were full, and everyone seemed happy. And we realised that life was not returning to anything but ‘normal’, and instead, returning to something better. Then, we realised Vascobelo was back, better and stronger than ever before. Between June and October, we managed to hire more than 50 people to respond to guests’ enormous appetites. Fifty more ambitious and enthusiastic colleagues who wanted to join us in this journey.
Because working for Vascobelo isn’t just another job to add to one CV. Working for Vascobelo means becoming part of a family where everyone can grow individually while being supported by all colleagues. It is being surrounded by people who share the same values and attitudes and who become much more than just colleagues in the end. It is also being in an environment where everyone contributes to building a lifestyle that you love so deeply. Our commitment to providing only the best and distributing it to people to make them happy continuously encourages us to invest in new products, deepen our markets, open new locations, and broaden our horizons.
Aside from the products previously mentioned, it is with great pride that I remind you that we have opened not one, not two, but three locations! Vascobelo Paasbergbad, Vascobelo Houtsingel and recently, Vascobelo Utrecht Stadskamer a new site in partnership with HMSHost, the world leader in creating dining experiences for travel venues. While we are strengthening our operations primarily in the Netherlands and Spain, we cannot wait for you to witness our expansion overseas someday soon, maybe?
Today, I am proud to write how Vascobelo has not only recovered from a worldwide crisis but thrived. It has been a long journey with many twists and turns, but looking back at these past 12 months, we are so proud of how much we have accomplished. Thanks to our team, but as importantly, thanks to you, beloved customers.
Thank you for responding to our efforts with endless love, support and trust. It is now time for all to make the most of this final week of the year. We will leave you with your beloved ones and cannot wait to show you the exciting projects coming ahead. As 2021 comes to a close, we hope that, like us, you will look back and reflect on the lessons learned, remember the best and worst, keep moving forward with more optimism than ever before and above all keep working together and looking out for each other: Farewell 2021, and welcome 2022.