“Simply because it suits us”
Blycolin is celebrating its 40th anniversary. A unique age for a company specialized in linen management for the hospitality branch. It can’t be anything else than unique, because we were the first to start with linen rental to hotels. Our cradle was in and around Amsterdam back then. One of the very first customers was hotel restaurant De Roode Leeuw. Now still, this institution in the metropolitan hospitality is a customer of Blycolin.
“We have been a customer for forty years, simply because the company suits us,” René Wildeman, the managing director of De Roode Leeuw and explains his view, while seated in the red plush of his restaurant and watching the endless stream of passers-by on the Amsterdam Damrak. “Processes, of which you know little, should always be outsourced to specialists. Linen management isn’t our trade. So, if you want that to run smoothly, you shouldn’t do it yourself. I can’t even bear to think about it. Purchasing your own linen, wondering whether you are buying the right quality. Finding your own laundry service, hoping they will be back in time with properly laundered linens. Now I can just say: ‘Blycolin, I am not satisfied with this or that. Do whatever you have to do so that it will be right and I am satisfied’. That’s carefree to me. This has worked well for the both of us for many years, also due to the great contact we have with Blycolin’s regional managers. For the same reasons, we also outsource of housekeeping. By outsourcing these aspects of running a hotel business, you create time and space to focus on your core business. To me, that is entertaining your guests optimally in a hotel-restaurant with a personal touch. That personal touch should not be made by someone who’s grumpy because you’re worrying about sheets that aren’t washed and ironed. That’s for Blycolin to worry about.”
Royal Warrant Holder
His vision on the hotel trade and the way in which he phrases that vision are typical of René Wildeman and his passion. He has reached his retiring age, but he has no intention whatsoever to watch the flowers in his windowsill grow. “I can still do that in fifty year’s time”, he says laughing. There is still plenty for him to do at De Roode Leeuw. “Last year, the hotel-restaurant celebrated its 100-year anniversary and its history is very colorful. The family business was awarded with a Royal Warrant for that. But you cannot get by on your history alone. You also have to think ahead and work towards the future.”
Renovation and modernization
René Wildeman is the seventh managing director of De Roode Leeuw. Since 1999, he manages the daily business of the hotel-restaurant. Under his ‘command’, much in the hotel-restaurant has been modernized. Together with the commissioners, the sight has been set on the next 100 years. At the beginning of this century, sizeable renovations were done in the rooms, the reception and the restaurant. “At the moment, we are busy renovating all the rooms even further, floor by floor. Also, the historical staircase will get a new look that matches the plans we are already executing.” That there is ample attention to the modern day demands in the gradual renovation of De Roode Leeuw, is self-evident to René Wildeman. “The world is changing rapidly. Just look around at how people communicate with each other nowadays. Social media are at a rise and news travels around the world in seconds. It’s only common sense that our guests have free access to wireless internet throughout the building and that we use the most modern features to optimize our turnover.” And does that include those iPhone docking stations on the night stands in the hotel rooms? René Wildeman smiles. “Well, that is actually my personal touch, as I am a huge gadget freak. As soon as something new enters the market, I have to have it. I am really fanatic about that and think it’s only fair our guests can enjoy a little of that on their rooms.”