While the cooks were preparing for service on the morning of Saturday, 27 November 2021, and only a few months after re-opening from COVID lockdown, the two-Michelin-star restaurant De Treeswijkhoeve, located in Waalre near Eindhoven, suffered a major kitchen fire – and was forced to close yet again.
The owners, Anne-Laura and Dick Middelweerd, immediately called their insurers ASR Verzekering N.V. who, directly following the fire, appointed Crawford & Company (Nederland) B.V. to act as Loss Adjusters and to manage the claim. All parties met on site later that same day.
Crawford was represented by Pim Doomen, Senior Loss Adjuster and Bart de Vos, Manager and Senior Loss Adjuster, from Crawford’s Eindhoven office. With the venue close by, the Crawford team was aware of De Treeswijkhoeve’s high profile – and also that it had only recently re-opened after COVID-19.
De Vos says “It quickly became clear that, although the fire was mostly confined to the kitchen, this was also the place where all the main services, pipes and cables met. And while they were absolutely necessary, the Fire Brigade’s hose water and extinguisher chemicals caused a lot of collateral damage over and above the fire, smoke and soot. This was not going to be a quick fix.
“Because we knew that the restaurant had already suffered a loss of trade during COVID, we all agreed at that first meeting that getting the venue open as soon as possible was the number one priority for everyone. Our combined goal was to ensure that no time was lost.”
Both of Crawford’s adjusters worked as a team with the Middelweerd’s independent loss assessors, and both oversaw the repairs and reinstatement. It was at this point that Crawford agreed that the owners should engage their trusted network of known suppliers to help with the restoration of De Treeswijkhoeve.
“These people knew from years of experience what levels of finish we required,” says chef-patron Dick Middelweerd. “We didn’t become a two-star Michelin restaurant by luck. That accolade requires a lot of attention and perfectionism - and we also demand those same high standards from our suppliers.”
“This enabled us and all our employees to work together as a team on the refurbishment, helping the mental healing process by allowing us to become personally involved in mastering the fire damage ourselves,” adds Middelweerd. “It was precisely by tidying up, cleaning and thinking about the opening ourselves that we remained bonded and strong as a team.”
De Treeswijkhoeve re-opened in March 2022, less than 14 weeks from the day of the fire.
De Vos adds: “While most of our focus was about speed and getting the business back up and running as quickly as possible, we also knew that there was a huge element of personal pride involved. The Middelweerds worked hard to earn their two Michelin stars, so for Crawford it seemed that ensuring uninterrupted access to their trusted supplier network was simply the right thing to do. Our corporate purpose is to restore lives, businesses and communities – and for De Treeswijkhoeve, the Middelweerds and all their employees and supplier network, I’d like to think Crawford delivered on all three.”
This blog first appeared in Schade Magazine