“Being Dutch means having a reputation for being stingy, but we’re not. We just know value for money”, clarifies Lap. He finds that whether you’re a restaurant owner or an individual, the rules for cutting costs are the same. “We can keep prices low because we make everything fresh. We make our own bread, cookies, ice cream and chocolate”, he says. Similarly, if you want to save money, skip buying pre-made food (Want to make pancakes? Use flour instead of Bisquick).
“Convenience food eventually becomes expensive, because everyone in the chain has to make money”, Lap explains. As is true in restaurants, the best deals come when you buy in bulk. “Rather than buy a single bunch of grapes, grab some friends and go to the fruit and vegetable souk”, advises Lap, ‘then buy a whole case of grapes. When you get it home, you can all split it up, and spend less per person”. For Lap, the most positive outcome of the credit crunch is a deepening sense of community. “How do we beat the credit crunch?” he asks, “we make soup together”.