Original Article

Connecting entrepreneurship and education

Published in:
Volume 4, issue 1&2, 2014 , pages: 55–64
DOI: 10.2989/RHM.2014.4.1&2.8.1254
Author(s): Sjoerd A. GehrelsStenden Academy of International Hospitality Research, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands


The aim of this research is to explore the contextual characteristics of a particular group of Dutch restaurant owners,
the successful culinary entrepreneurs (SCEs), to examine how these contextual characteristics might be used in a hospitality
education. This very small segment of the Dutch restaurant business (0.2–0.5% of the total restaurants) is known for its
strong commitment to competitiveness, and delivering quality service and products. No previous research in the Netherlands
has embarked on a search for connecting this specific category of practitioners to education. The main instrument for the
research was in-depth interviewing. Six retired and four practising restaurant owners and a connoisseur of the business were
interviewed. The transcripts of the recorded interviews were analysed, applying a constructivist grounded theory approach
(Charmaz 2006). The research generated a grounded theory on the SCE social construct and the central theme ‘Living the
business’. The grounded theory informs future practitioners, i.e. students, about how they can prepare for possible future
business ventures in the culinary restaurant business. Furthermore, it confronts future practitioners with the notion of context
and value systems that need to be considered in order to successfully engage in and sustain a career in the culinary restaurant
sector. The findings from this research confirmed the importance of providing students in hospitality management education
with input about professional development that is connected to a core segment in the hospitality industry.

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