Interview with director Ton Konijn
Ton Konijn started selling "Konijn Butter" in the late 1980s. He drove to Amsterdam with a car filled with butter to serve the catering industry. Now, it's not just butter. Over time, more and more products were added and Ton Konijn Zoetermeer B.V. has grown into a fully-fledged company with a specialized selection that meets the needs of real food professionals and professional catering kitchens.
How did it all start?
"In 1987 I started with just one product, a butter with a high-fat content: 96%! The normal fat content of butter is between 80 and 82%. This butter was subsidized back then. I first tried to sell this product to consumers through speciality stores. When this proved difficult, I offered the product to restaurants, who were very enthusiastic as the butter I was selling was very well suited for baking. This was already known in kitchens as clarified butter. We still have this product in our selection, now in 2.5kg containers with a fat percentage of 99.8%."
How did you proceed?
"Because the clarified butter was particularly popular with the high-end restaurants, I started to focus on more beautiful products for my customers. I searched, and still look, for high-quality products that are not yet on the market. My aims haven't changed in all these years: high-quality products, good and consistent quality, good customized service, and good contact with customers."
What drives you to do this work?
"I have a lot of admiration for our customers. Cooks who do their jobs with passion. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to contribute to this, I find it beautiful."
Where do your products come from and how did you discover them?
"Our products come from the Netherlands and many other European countries, but also from Madagascar and Iran, for example.
New products that we include in our selection must meet several criteria.
They must be of high quality, must be an exclusive product, and must be affordable. If I am enthusiastic about a product, I always have it tested by a number of our customers. Only then do we include it in our selection. We have built up a nice selection of products. For the majority of our products, we are the sole importer/distributor, which means that the product is an exclusive one."
How do you keep improving yourself as a company?
"We guarantee high quality with our products. We spend a lot of time searching, testing, and improving products. This is an ongoing process of quality improvement.
We continue to listen carefully to our customers, as personal contact is very important to us. Thanks to our customers, we know what is needed in the market."
What do you want to give the customer?
"We are honored to be able to deliver to customers. When I see chefs busy with beautiful products that will pamper their guests ... What an honor to be able to contribute to that."
Why should a catering business buy products from Ton Konijn?
"I don't want to say we're the best. But, we certainly do our very best to deliver the best products at a reasonable price. The customer service with us is very high."
What is your favorite product you sell?
"The product that I started with thirty years ago: the clarified butter. We still have many customers for this product, who have been working with it with great enthusiasm for years. Our beautiful Ardennes butter with Fleur de Sel also gives me a great feeling. And don't forget the product we have now been running for several years: The Jersey butter from the beautiful island of Jersey."
Do you want to say something else?
"After all these years, I still find my work fun and challenging, and we are currently working with a well-motivated team. We hope to be there for our customers for many years to come."