Home ➾ Blog ➾ Guests ‘unlock’ their dinner with Puzzel Proeverij

Guests ‘unlock’ their dinner with Puzzel Proeverij

Marco Louters Auteur

Marco Louters

July 19, 2023 | 3 minute read

Puzzel Proeverij van Stef Goedhart
Marco Louters Auteur

Marco Louters

July 19, 2023 | 3 minute read

Puzzel Proeverij offers restaurants – on no-cure-no-pay basis – a unique activity to attract more people to the venue and keep them at their tables for longer. This is what the combination of coronacrisis and escapedinner brought us today…

I’m always curious to learn about new, creative concepts in hospitality, recreation, and culture. Those are precisely the things we want to highlight with Questlog; the new, the innovative, the distinctive.

A while back I was made aware of Stef Goedhart’s company. The name, in combination with the slogan, already gives us a good idea of what it might entail.

Translated to English:
Name: Puzzle Tasting (Puzzel Proeverij)
Slogan: ‘Unlock your food’

While taking a look at his website, I was curious as to how he came up with the concept, how it works exactly, and what type of restaurants were particularly interested in something like this.

After a brief conversation on the phone, we decided to grab a cup of coffee. That cup of coffee lasted for 2.5 hours. It is fascinating to hear how a new concept can sometimes come about.

Also curious?

Read about his story here.

1. What began as a theme restaurant…

An origin story πŸ‘Ά

Stef Goedhart was the creative type of hospitality entrepreneur. In the years before corona, he ran his own theme restaurant, complete with bowling alley and table barbeque. The theme? Middle Ages.

Always looking for ways to engage creatively, he began development of his own escaperoom. Soon, the concept was created. The necessary equipment had been purchased.

A minor problem was the extra emergency exit. Something that was desired, but unfortunately not feasible.

This led to a scratch: Escaperoom.

But with all the props and items already in place, Stef began to think about an alternative: Escapedinner!

This concept was ideal for large groups. Instead of escaping from a room – an idea we still often have with escaperooms, but which is not always the case anymore – guests had to unlock their buffet, by coming up with solutions and cracking codes.

To be able to help where needed, Stef himself regularly walked around. After all, he was the only one in his business who was completely familiar with the game. His employees simply focused on the ongoing tasks. Here and there he would give tables the necessary hint when they seemed to be stuck.

He enjoyed hearing unique theories from time to time: “Then I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s nice… I can probably use that theory somewhere in the future.’

The hints and answers were scattered all over the venue. Fun indeed for large groups, but less ideal when only one table of the full restaurant was engaged in the game.

I was often asked if it could be set up for smaller groups as well. And then corona came along, so I had to come up with something that could be done at just the table,” Stef explained. “So I adapted. In the new form, everyone could stay at their table with their own group and still have a combination of activity and dinner.

But, the road he was walking, took a turn.

In July 2021, he decided to sell his restaurant.

That is also the moment he launched a new business, Puzzel Proeverij.

2. Solving puzzles for your food

Additional opportunities for business owners πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦

Stef Goedhart now offers his unique escapedinner to restaurants nationwide, where guests can complete – just at their table – a wide variety of puzzles, to unlock their dinner courses. No-cure-no-pay.

The activity attracts more people to the restaurant and certainly makes them stay longer, consuming more than the average.

A web app is used to track the time and give players hints if they take a bit longer to complete a set. No one has to get “hangry.” πŸ˜„

Despite using an app to facilitate the game, Stef wants to stay away from puzzling on the phone itself. He believes in the physical. Tables will play with handmade puzzles that vary in theme and style. This includes a comprehensive book, which players will need to consult regularly to arrive at certain answers.

As of writing, Puzzel Proeverij features 15Β puzzle sets, with each set containing three puzzles: appetizer, main course, and dessert.

The letters, attached to the puzzle series, make it easy for groups to keep track of which puzzles they have already completed before.

Puzzle series D, for example, is a series for music connoisseurs, darts fans, and people who are generally up-to-date. Puzzle series M, on the other hand, is for the real legomasters, word puzzlers, and game lovers.

Players who do well can even find themselves back in the national rankings.

For which type of company would this concept be ideal?

Stef shared his surprise, “I always thought it was more for restaurants in the back, outside city centers, looking for activities to attract more people. You know, the more informal venues, where they don’t mind if people stay longer.

But it varies enormously. It is also massively embraced in big cities.

By now, several restaurants also offer it as an option with lunch, high-tea and just drinks.

ℹ️ This research was 50% co-funded by the province of North Brabant.

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