Dutch lunch chain Brownies&Downies, famous for employing people with Down syndrome and autism, will open its first Belgian restaurant in November, in Turnhout. Its expansion should continue with restaurants in Brussels and Antwerp, and even more in the Netherlands.
30 stores by the end of the year
The employees with Down syndrome and autism people perform all the regular tasks, like washing dishes, service or the cash register, just like any other employee. Every restaurant has about 15 to 20 of such people, who are guided by colleagues with experience in the service industry or care industry.
"Turnhout is our first restaurant in Belgium, but we are working hard to open more stores over there. We have concrete plans for Brussels and Antwerp, but it is a challenge as Belgians have a different stance towards the target audience, a bit more reticent. There is no other chain like Brownies&Downies in Belgium", Luc van den Heuvel said. He is the franchisee for the store in Veghel, located in the Netherlands.
Brownies&Downies wants to reach 30 restaurants in Belgium and the Netherlands by the end of the year. In another five years' time, it wants to reach 70 restaurants. Only five years ago, it opened its first one in Veghel and it currently has 24 restaurants in the Netherlands.