These are rather complicated times for entrepreneurs… It is not always easy to start out on the workplace as a young graduate in the current economic context. Most Vatel alumni prefer salaried positions providing both job security and a way of gaining experience before striking out on their own.
However, every year, there are always several graduates who choose to set up their own business, usually in the restaurant trade, but also as caterers or managers of fancy food shops. The hotel business, which calls for much heavier investment, is less accessible.
Bérengère Bulgheresi-Descuilhes, who graduated from Vatel in Bordeaux in July 2012, is one of these entrepreneurs. A native of Bordeaux, Bérengère was well aware of the economic impact of summer tourism on the Cap-Ferret peninsula since this is where she has spent her holidays ever since she was a child. Soon after taking her exams, and with the help of a few friends, she created her small business,La Conciergerie du Cap, which offers a variety of services to assist holiday makers.
One year later, in July, and just a few days away from the arrival of the first wave of tourists, this bright and dynamic young woman answers a few questions about herself.
Interview of July 04, 2013
What motivated you to set up your business?
After discussing with my sister, we came up with an idea: to create a conciergerie in Cap-Ferret to offer all sorts of services. I was not sure that the project was viable, but Vatel offers third-year students options for two-week-long practical applications of what they have learned in the classroom. This can either be a job placement or experience with a company the student has created. That was when I decided to go ahead with my plan. The more I looked into it, the more I was convinced that the idea of concierge services was truly interesting and feasible. I said to myself that, at the age of 20, it was now or never to do my own thing.
However, isn't it much easier to find a job when you leave school?
I am very independent. I despise taking orders and kowtowing to authority. So, being my own boss was the ideal solution. Also, I didn't see myself immediately going to work for someone else at the age of 20. Creating my own company enabled me to enter the work force the way I wanted. I now have some very worthwhile experience to put on my CV, and it looks pretty good. In addition, the business is doing well. What more could you ask for? Later on, nothing prevents me from changing my mind and following a different path. But, prior to doing what I have done, I didn't feel confident enough in my abilities.
Why did you target concierge services?
First of all, there is a clear need for such services in Cap-Ferret because the population is multiplied tenfold in the summer months. Also, most holiday makers have strong purchasing power. So, I said to myself that there was a real opportunity. And seeing as I hate monotony, the sort of activity I'm in lets me do something different every day.
Exactly what kinds of services do you offer?
Housecleaning, ironing, catering, breakfast delivery, picnics and meals, dealing with rental formalities, baby-sitting, shopping, etc. I try to handle all requests.
What about catering?
I really didn't see myself staying in Cap-Ferret all winter, because there aren’t many people around at that time of year. That's why I focused my catering activity on Bordeaux. I do everything: buying the food, preparing it and serving it. I really love cooking, which I learned from my grandmother and mother. I must have received my first cookbook when I was 9 years old, and took things from there...
How do you assess your first season?
I’ve had my own business for a year now, and was truly surprised by the results the first summer. I started in June and didn't stop all season long. My catering activity in Bordeaux was successful even though there are many other caterers far better-known than me. My clients must have thought what I was offering was more unusual… My first year was really very good and, by the end, I was able to pay myself a minimum monthly salary. But no more. However, the profits were sufficient to develop the business.
I assume that if you continue, it's because you believe in the company you created. What have you changed compared to last year?
After one year, I am better able to adapt to the various demands of my customers and can now offer more options, such as cocktail receptions on the Banc d’Arguin sandbank, for instance. That having been said, I haven't changed anything fundamentally on the premise that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it… What I do calls for a great deal of organisation. I am also looking at different sorts of new jobs in order to have more work.
How did you go about making yourself known?
I invested in advertising the first year, especially in the local newspaper, but this was not really useful. What worked best was work of mouth, social networks and the flyers I distribute. People like to know whom they're dealing with.
What are your goals for the coming year?
First of all, I intend to work all summer in Cap-Ferret. As for my catering activity in Bordeaux, I haven't decided yet. I have planned to go abroad for 3 months if things prove to be a little difficult. In any event, I will start up again in January. I would like to expand the business but, for the time being, I am lucky to be able to live in my parents' house, so I have few living and operating expenses. However, I would like to have my own office and hope that the profits this summer will enable me to invest in one.
Antoni Villenave shares with us his experiences of studying in Thailand as an international studentRead more
The hospitality and tourism industry puts people in touch with an ever-increasing and constantly changing world, making it the only one of its kind.
Read our mission.
Higher Education Review awards Vatel Thailand with this accolade for 2019Read more
Vatel students were awarded gold, silver and Bronze medalsRead more
6 Marco Polo students from various Vatel schools are spending the year studying in ThailandRead more
Students from 4th year group C raised money from a gala dinner event and visited a school in Nan province with the donationsRead more
Serving others is a priceless quality in the hospitality industry, but not just there. Students with a degree in hotel management are attractive to employers: their qualities make them champions in all types of professions.Read more
Thailand and France celebrate the the first ever Thai envoy to France in 1686.Read more
The 26th Eurhodip conference took place in Istanbul from October 16 though 20th, with the theme “Together, let’s build bridges.” Roughly a hundred participants from 25 countries and 35 schools attended this event.Read more
With schools throughout the world, nearly four decades of development, the art of hospitality raised to its highest level... And at the heart of the curriculum that made the group’s world recognition: the professors, heralds of Vatel pedagogy.Read more
Vatel Thailand students competed at Thailand's 25th International Culinary CupRead more
Senior F&B Instructor at Vatel Bangkok, Isabelle Ferchaud is also the Vatel application restaurant Manager.Read more
Vatel Students from around Asia participated at SUIC's Summer Programme closing ceremonyRead more
60 international students from around the world including various Vatel schools participate at this year's cultural programme!Read more
Vatel Thailand students won culinary medals at TRAFS 2019 Thailand’s No.1 International Show on Retail, Food & Hospitality Services 2019Read more
Each year our Group School directors, getting together for the Vatel International Convention, use today’s experiences to continue to invent tomorrow’s schools for our future hospitality professionals.Read more
International Culinary SuccessRead more
Students from Silpakorn also joined a Table Manner training SessionRead more
Vatel cultivates the qualities required to be a good professional in the hospitality industry: being fluent in foreign languages, knowing how to work with other cultures... Hoteliers are attracted by Vatel students’ resumes, as Vateliens can tell us.Read more
François Perraud feels both a hotelier and a financial controller, an expertise that he likes to pass on to Vatel students.Read more
An Interview with Marco Polo Students about their study experience in ThailandRead more
Vatel Thailand Students depart for international internshipsRead more
Vatel Students at the French Ambassador's residenceRead more
Jeremie de Fombelle has always loved resorts and has seen many of them, before coming to Mauritius. And this is where he really fell in love! But economic competition is stiff. How can you stand out, if not by the quality of your management?Read more
A professor of marketing, corporate promotion and negotiation, Sophie Lot loves adult education and teaches at Vatel Switzerland.Read more
Thanatat Boonpeng: a young Vatel graduate at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.Read more
Every day, Vatel students and instructors prepare for class, study, and fan the flames of their curiosity, thanks to the cutting-edge digital library provided by the ScholarVox platform. Come right this way for digital access to knowledge!Read more
An MBA specializing in ecotourism opens in Madagascar. This island has all it takes to materialize this demanding approach of responsible and innovative tourism.Read more
New ideas, enthusiasm, the desire to embrace a gourmet universe: Jerome Ferrer’s story has all the ingredients that inspire the best “success stories” to strategy professors!Read more
Silpakorn University International College (SUIC) organised an Open House for students to learn more about Vatel BangkokRead more
Congratulations to Vatel Bangkok Graduates - Forever Vateliens!Read more
The hospitality and tourism industries are particularly concerned by sustainable development. And what if Vatel alumni played a key part in this transition towards more environmentally friendly hotel management?Read more
Travel broadens the mind, as the old saying goes. It also leads to unconventional restaurants. Let’s meet two Vateliens who founded Le Kaya Restaurant in Tignes.Read more
Besides having a Bachelor or an MBA Vatel, what does being a Vatelien mean?Read more
Throughout their entire careers, Vatel alumni remain in touch with their schools. This is also true for Kevin Tessieux, who has never forgotten that he was also once a student, and who now shares this knowledge with students today.Read more
Chahrazade Baroudi, a Vatelien since 2013, describes her job as Marketing and Communication Manager in IDAM, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant on the top floor of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art, in Qatar.Read more
Future hospitality professionals, welcome to Vatel’s 100% management simulation serious game! For an entire week and on three continents, MBA students met the challenge of managing a 4-star hotel and a resort in the Indian Ocean. The winners are...Read more
Who is Gaelle Garnier, the new manager of the network of 35,000 Vatel alumni throughout the world? Let’s meet a Vatelien who works with Vateliens!Read more
The 25th Eurhodip conference, which Vatel took part in, took place in Croatia. Targeting responsible tourism, this conference allowed participants to have more information on opening higher education courses in the field of sustainable development.Read more
Designed to address the needs of the global hospitality industry, the Marco Polo program strengthens the international profile Vatel students have and has just received the prestigious Best Innovation in an Educational Program Award.Read more
Graduated in 2011, Alexis Bouche began his career in England. Six years later, he returned to France and is now the Sales Manager of the 5-star hotel, Villa Maïa.Read more
Nearly 40 years old, and now 50 campuses in 32 different countries: Vatel Group opened its first school in Paris and is continuing to grow and duplicate its innovative educational concept in schools abroad.Read more
Trained at Vatel Nimes ten years ago, Chloe Wu has a brilliant career in China. She no longer works in the hospitality industry, but has not forgotten her passion of hospitality and service...Read more
The Vatel International Research Center in Hotel and Tourism Managementhas just published the 10th edition of its Journal, which targets research and reflections on changes taking place in the hospitality and tourism industries.Read more
Curiosity, humility, team spirit... A Vatelien shares his commitment to values his school transmitted to him.
The same international spirit that students have Vatel and 4 students in nursing undertake a humanitarian project in Madagascar.Read more
A traveler - salesman - ambassador, Marco Polo introduced Asia, at that time nearly unknown, to Europe. This inspirational fate has given its name to Vatel’s international exchange program, where students can study at another Vatel campus for a year.Read more
The most senior representatives in the international hospitality industry give Vatel the Best School Hospitality Award. An entire profession thus acclaims them.Read more
Learning the skills needed to be a manager, quick employability, international careers... Vatel, the passport that gets you hired. See the video.Read more