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Large ‘pannekoek’ signature of franchise founded by Dutch-Canadian

Concept evolves at De Dutch

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SURREY, British Columbia - De Pannekoek will remain its 12” diameter signature dish but the company that serves them, De Dutch Pannekoek House, is evolving its business concept to include larger restaurants in the chain. Another feature recently launched by the 24-locations chain is a restaurant that includes a bakery/cafe serving fresh fruit creations and specialty coffees. The newest Surrey location also has a takeout counter.

Concentrated in Southwest British Columbia, the Dutch theme franchise promotes itself effectivily by skilfully playing up its Dutch identity and at times ethnicity. The words De and Pannekoek and their pronunciation have been used in advertising campaigns and could well become part of the local vocabulary as more locations are added to the chain founded by local entrepreneur John Dys.

The Bodegraven-born Dys spent years perfecting his pancakes by trying them out on friends in one of his Frying Dutchman locations. Once the recipes were perfected, he turned to Bill Waring to help develop a business concept for the franchise he wanted to launch. The De Dutch Pannekoek House locations use a blend of Dutch identity symbols along with a crisp, modern interior decor in which royal blue - borrowed from the Delft Blue giftware - plays a significant role. A De Dutch pancake - from over 60 ingredients, blends and toppings - is all most customers can tackle leaving little ‘stomach’ for a desert serving of Dutch apple pie with topping. Thick peasoup, favoured by many Dutchmen, ‘broodje kroket’ and ‘uitsmijters’ are standard fare (also in Dutch) on a De Dutch menu card. Some of the De Dutch locations also sell souvenirs and cook books. Until now the franchise catered to breakfast and lunch crowds only. The newest location in Surrey (at 7310-120 St) also serves dinner till 8:00 p.m. Another location will be opening in Port Coquitlam, early April.

Dys got into the restaurant business - as a carhop - literally by accident after injuring himself in a car mishap which prevented him from returning to his job in the bush. Although past retirement age, he continues to operate an independent restaurant in Vancouver where he still tries out new ideas on his friends and customers.