Interview with Lucas Schopman Sales Manager for EARTH Concepts
- 12 min read
“Quality food and beverage is my passion.”
I did Atheneum at the Sint Nicolaas Lyceum in Amsterdam. At that time the Hotelschool was located in a wing of the same school. I had my selection day in rooms that used to be my old bicycle shed and gym. I followed Marketing classes where I used to follow classes like Greek or German.
I had a great time at HDH, of course. For the Skotel I literally had to move 500 meters. I came with my overnight bag, five minutes before I had to start. It was quite intensive the first year, but very nice.
I don’t remember that many teachers to be honest. Mr. Gropas, who taught Total Quality Management, he was a really great teacher. He would say, "Suppose we make an atomic bomb..." And the whole class would laugh. It had to do with the fact that you can’t make any mistakes while making a nuclear bomb, the same goes for hospitality in a sense. Every detail is crucial, quality is everything. Mr. Dupre for Marketing was good as well, I still remember the BHAG. In general the Hotelschool is a great education for hospitality and helps a lot in terms of network.
Good quality Food & Beverage is my passion. My final internship was at the Sofitel The Grand Amsterdam. Afterwards I became assistant F&B manager at the Ambassade Hotel. I was offered a permanent contract, but I thought, "This is going a little too fast." So I went to South America for a few months to learn Spanish.
In my career I have encountered quite a number of setbacks. Together with a friend I set up a restaurant but after two months we found out that we couldn’t continue with our staff and we had to quit our jobs. After working as a manager in yet another restaurant for two years, I decided together with Chef Erik Zonjee to start our own restaurant and we found a great place on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam after looking at over 15 places. We already hired staff and arranged suppliers. We had a logo and website and already did a lot of interviews for different newspapers. But, unfortunately, we couldn’t start because of an upstairs neighbour, who was a lawyer specialised in environmental law who sabotaged everything.
I went to Ibiza for a year to work as a restaurant manager in the Blue Marlin. Only they had forgotten to inform the other managers that I was coming. I asked for SOP’s, training schedules, wine lists, etc. I had to explain that I was one of the new restaurant managers. They felt threatened and tried to make my life hell. I worked very hard, and also learned a lot. In the end I did have a great time on Ibiza; great people and beautiful island. I worked between the rich and famous; Paris Hilton spending €50.000 in 4 hours for example. Or a Russian family who rented the whole place to have a Cirque du Soleil-like wedding. Film sets, things like that. Good experience, but over the top, not my style.
One day, there was a group of Dutch people who didn’t have a reservation. I squeezed them in anyway and so I met the founder of EARTH Water, who asked if I was looking for a job. I had served EARTH Water in a restaurant I worked in so I knew the concept already. I went back to Amsterdam after the season and 2 days later I met with Patrick and Henk, the founders of EARTH Concepts. Now I already work for EARTH Concepts for 2 years as a Sales Manager Horeca.
Transparency is very important. When we say 100% of the net profit, where does it go? Therefore, we installed an advisory board that controls us and all of our projects can be followed online. On our website you’ll find all of our current projects. For €500 we can already build a well, so 3,000 people will have clean drinking water. We also support sanitation projects in schools. And with the Life Build project, we train people to become a plumber for example so they can support themselves.
Recently we expanded to EARTH Coffee and EARTH Tea. High quality, organic, sustainable and natural flavours. Most people know us by the blue Tetra packaging. That remains our most sustainable packaging. For every tree that is cut down, four will be replanted.
We were the first in the Netherlands with 100% biodegradable plastic, and we are the only company that uses 100% recycled PET. Our coffee is 100% organic, 100% Arabica, top quality and in special packaging without aluminium. And also EARTH Tea is 100% organic and is packaged with recycled paper and biodegradable nylon. Everything has been thought through, that is what I love about working for EARTH. We want to make people aware of the growing problem that while we have the luxury of drinking clean water from the tap, literally 6,000 people die every day because they have no clean drinking water. So high quality, beautiful appearance, sustainable and innovative. You never drink alone!