Case Study

Van der Valk​: SME in à la carte restuarants

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Primary Industry

Food  Supplier


International Hospitality Chain

Website Link

Van der Valk​

Van der Valk might very well be the most well-known restaurant-hotel chain in the Netherlands. When travelling in the Netherlands by car, you will undoubtedly pass by one of their toucans, shining on the rooftop of one of their venues. With almost hundred hotels worldwide, it’s a very successful family business that surely became a famous name. It’s also particularly famous for their value for money, high and stable quality level and extensive number of meal choices that are suitable for large groups of friends, colleagues and families. Van der Valk is concerned about and highly focused on their guests, which is why they are always open to further improve the health and sustainable character of their dishes.

Impact at a glance

320.000 KG CO2

Equivalent of 80 trips around the world.

184.300.000 L OF WATER

Equivalent of 4.000 people showering for 1 year.

620.000 M2 LAND USE

Equivalent of 124 soccer fields.

400.000 EURO

Invested in more tasty, quality and sustainable ingredients.


Van der Valk’s guests are changing their attitudes; they become more interested in healthy and sustainable dishes but still expect the usual quality van der Valk is known for. Van der Valk took on the challenge to offer dishes that are suitable for all their guests while decreasing the environmental impact and food waste. The main challenge is to alter dishes in such a way that guest still enjoyed their meals and had the ‘Van der Valk – experience’ that they are used to.

The Conclusion

Van der Valk serves more vegetables and proportioned meat with high guest satisfaction!

GREENDISH showed that increasing vegetable portions in combination with slightly decreasing meat portions, increased the amount of vegetables consumed by more than 30% and decreased the amount of meat consumed by 12,5%. Despite the changes in portion sizes, guests remained equally highly satisfied. This shows the success of greenifying dishes for guests, profit and planet and gives Van der Valk the possibility to invest more in sustainable and high quality ingredients like free range meat and develop a new more vegetable-rich style of cooking.


Due to the greenified plates, guests indeed consumed more vegetables and less meat at all three locations and less meat was left over at plates and wasted. The fact guest satisfaction remained equally high was the confirmation Van der Valk needed to implement the greenified dishes at a large scale. In fact, when GREENDISH asked guests about their satisfaction with the proportion and amount of meat and vegetables on their plate, the majority answered that it was ‘exactly right’.

The results of this research are published in a scientific journal and received huge media attention with a reach of over 50 million people! 



In collaboration with GREENDISH and Wageningen University and Research, a research was held in three different Van der Valk locations (Vught, Ridderkerk and Hoorn). Over 4000 plates have been researched in terms of consumption, waste and guest satisfaction during a period of 3 months. We used the Sustainable Menu Engineering service, to greenify their dishes. The vegetable portion sizes on the plates of main dishes were doubled (150 g of vegetables instead of 75 g) and the portion sizes of meat on the plates were reduced by an average of 12.5%. Without being aware and knowing upfront guest were eating more vegetables and slightly less meat then with the dishes of the old menu.

Potential impact

The potential environmental burden that van der Valk can reduce thanks to this project is 320.000 kg of CO2 production and 184.300.000 liter less water used on an annual basis for 20 restaurants, this is comparable to 80 trips around the world and 4.000 persons showering daily for a year. Implementing the greenified dishes at this scale can potentially lead to a saving of €400.000 Euro annually, which Van der Valk is committed to re-invest in further development of their dishes with more sustainable products and ingredients.

Whats next

Van der Valk and GREENDISH have continued their collaboration in various new (research) projects. At a Van der Valk restaurant in Rotterdam that is participating in the Gezond010 project, GREENDISH is coaching and advising the kitchen team to offer more healthy breakfast choices to their guests. However one of the most promising and innovative new projects with Van der Valk is done at Van der Valk Hoorn. This is one of the first research studies done on optimizing vegetable offerings in buffet setting and taking into account waste levels and guest satisfaction. unlike in an a-la-carte setting portioning control is not possible in a buffet setting, since guests are free to serve themselves whatever they want. Therefore the main challenge here is to nudge and seduce guests to choose more vegetables and less meat from the buffet.