Interview: Mr Roger Hartmann
January 24th, 2019
Once upon a time…
1. What is the history of Concordance, this family business, how did the company start?
It was 26 years ago…
We started with a few home meals, ten per day, produced in the kitchen of the EMS Les Pergolas (Clair Magnin Foundation) in Chexbres.
Subsequently, after negotiations with the State of Vaud, the kitchen of EMS Les Pergolas provided about forty home meals, then the requests have only been increasing.
This allowed to set up the project of creating a society. In 1993, the limited company Concordance was created. In 1998, the company became the holder of 90% of the shares and the Claire Magnin Foundation kept only 10%.
I stayed in the direction of the Claire Magnin Fondation, while I was having the participation of setting up the project of Concordance. At that time, we delivered meals at the pool of Chexbres, the tennis club of Chexbres, and we also had a family restaurant in Montreux.
From the beginning we had these three areas of activity: institutional catering, restaurant, and catering service. Currently, we still have a restaurant, the urban CROC in Puidoux, as well as a catering service.
I have always been surrounded by catering and medical communities.
My father was a chef and had his restaurant in Montreux and my mom ran an EMS.
So I was able to combine these two activities.
When the law on continuous school hours was voted, many schools had to provide meals to students, which was beneficial for our company. This allowed us to deliver meals to schools and nurseries and develop our activity.
Currently, we provide more schools and nurseries than EMS. Our range has been expanded and we deliver until the State of Geneva.
Our society has been undergoing reorganization and demand adjustment, which has continued to grow. We went from an annual turnover of 800’000 francs to 11 million francs over 26 years. We could not imagine coming so far with Concordance.
I wonder what the future is about. After so many years of growth, we will now give place to the consolidation of Concordance.
2. Why are you concerned about sustainability?
It is clear that current generations recognize the problems of resources. One day there will be no more. Resources are not inexhaustible and it is our responsibility to do something!
Sensitize each of us to an evolution with more respectful practices is the responsibility of every human being at the moment. I am aware of it, without being an extreme ecologist. I am for an ecology of evolution and EcoCook is part of it.
We work in a sector that is vital to the human, the food sector, and we have a great responsibility towards our consumers. It is important to pay attention to the origin of food, to use a maximum of seasonal and high quality products, but also to manage our waste, and opt for renewable energies, etc …
EcoCook challenges us with active participation and this puts us in a dynamic of improvement. We see that the employees ask themselves, ask questions, and even go so far as to apply certain sustainable practices at home.
In general, I notice an evolution of our society for the benefit of future generations.
3. How did you experienced this implementation, in terms of organization and time spent?
Many sustainable practices had already been implemented. EcoCook has been more of a recognition than extra work.
We had to improve a few things, for example opt for ecological cleaning products, but in general the implementation of the certification was rather an acknowledgment of our efforts.
4. How do you think your partners, members, customers will perceive that you are EcoCook certified, sustainable restauration certified, and that you are following the EcoCook program?
Today we can see that this is a growing demand from our customers and partners.
It is also a recognition, a promotion, because it allows to value our efforts, and to recognize the attention we make to realize our work well. The EcoCook certification is also an image and an external view, because one does not certify oneself. It would be worthless.
It is a guarantee of our real commitment to do everything possible to improve the future!