Connecting entrepreneurship and education
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.
Keywords: successful culinary entrepreneurs, contextual characteristics, grounded theory, hospitality management education