Steve Darné and Jean-Claude Colbach (1COM): A la carte services and diversification
For Steve Darné and Jean-Claude Colbach, offering a comprehensive range of services is one of 1COM’s founding principles. The group continues to diversify and expand with its latest projects. Interview.
How do you feel when you look back on your careers since founding 1COM in 1996?
Steve Darné: We’re pleased and proud to have succeeded. As young entrepreneurs, we had no idea how our careers would turn out. Knowing how to learn from failures is a real advantage and our current strength lies in diversification: in addition to our wide-ranging activities in food service, we own a renovation and construction company, a gym, a children’s play area and we’re soon to open a nursery and a bowling alley. We focus on not putting all our eggs in one basket; instead, we’re keen to seize opportunities which present a challenge and involve some risk. The key? Having the right mentality and working to make sure that clients are always satisfied.
Jean-Claude Colbach: Passing on these values to our 180 employees requires real involvement on our part. Although we’re particularly present in the field, it’s important for us to be surrounded by highly qualified people who share our ideas at all levels. The team gives us a lot; sometimes they want us to slow down but our adventurous side tends to take over. We feel that it’s our mission to give our clients an enjoyable experience. We want our clients to be satisfied and to come back again. We always say “yes” to our clients: anything is possible! For that to be true, we have to have a positive management style. If you want to eat outside on a sunny December day, we will do everything we can to find a solution to make it happen.
« It’s essential to know how to adapt and how to be proactive when it comes to the market »
How do you adapt to the market and to new consumer trends?
SD: The image of a chameleon comes to mind. It’s essential to know how to adapt and how to be proactive when it comes to the market. Although we work within a saturated market, our ability to innovate enables us to provide ground-breaking services like “Pick Me Up” and the 1COM card. These products help us to stand out from our competitors. Our size and our experience enable us to provide these services and offer our clients more.
J-C C: Adapting supply to demand is key. Markets change very quickly. Look at sushi, for example: we’re seeing record-breaking online sales on our site sushi.lu. It’s a mature market with an increasingly international clientele, which requires more services and innovation. We respond to that demand. Events play an important role too. We offer things you can’t get at home: DJs, smiling bartenders, original cocktails.
What short-term and medium-term projects are you working on?
J-C C: Firstly, there’s the nursery we’re opening in Howald. We’ve worked on this project for a long time; it’s set to become the country’s biggest nursery with capacity for 100 to 150 children. Children will love its modern facilities, with a focus on entertainment, education and sociability, along with the nursery’s large garden. It’s important that children enjoy themselves at nursery; if they don’t want to go home in the evening, that’ll be the biggest compliment! We also provide parents with secure parking, access to our gym and the YoYo play area which is next door.
SD: We also plan to open a bowling alley nearby: with 2 floors, each with 8 differently themed lanes, it will be the largest bowling alley in the country. Teens who are too old to have their birthday parties at the YoYo play area nearby can enjoy all the fun of a game of bowling.
J-C C: 1COM is the first company to offer the “Pick Me Up” service. This innovation for the Luxembourg market enables users to have fun and forget about the problems of parking and getting home. The service was initially offered on Fridays and Saturdays by some of our properties but has gradually expanded to all of the group’s restaurants in Luxembourg City, every day of the week. Again, we’re responding to demand for services: we come to pick you up from your home so that you can enjoy a stress-free evening out.
SD: The opening of a restaurant in the Infinity complex in 2019 will be another significant step for us. We’re expanding Aka’s concept of sushi and fusion food. We’re convinced that this area with its prestigious apartments, offices and shops will become the new heart of Kirchberg.
J-C C: Lastly, we’ll see you in September and October to celebrate the 10th anniversaries of our Rives de Clausen properties: Ikki, Sud and Rock Box.