'I like to challenge myself' - Simon Bromark

Tell us who you are?

My name is Simon Bromark, I am 53 years old and married to Pernille. Together we are wearing a set of twin boys
13 years old, and from a previous relationship I have two children aged 25 and 29.

I am a real Odense boy who has been through the entire McDonalds system for 27 years. I
met Pernille at McDonald's head office in Frederiksberg, where I worked for a period, and
when Pernille became pregnant, we decided to move back to Odense.
Here we chose to open a franchise in Jensens Bøfhus and for four years ran the restaurant in Jernbanegade, which was a flagship of the chain.

Today we jointly own Olivia Brasserie, which is located in Vintapperstrædet.

How did you end up as a restaurant owner in Vintappersstræde?

Pernille and I often walked along Vintappersstræde when we had to go to and from work. And we talked about that if we
ever had to do anything else, it had to be running something like Olivia Brasserie. It so so
nice looking. And as fate would have it, when I contacted the owner, he initially said no, but then called
he came up again 14 days later, offered us to buy the restaurant, and we jumped at the chance.

Why Olivia's?

We had long dreamed of an intimate and cozy place. We had been in Paris, where we in Montmartres
small streets led into a small restaurant that was crammed with people and the humidity drifted down
by the windows.
A man played the accordion and there was a lovely smell of good food. It was completely full, but the owner pushed some French people so that we could also be there.
We sat close, and Pernille had to get up every time someone went to the toilet, because she sat right by the toilet door. We were served the most wonderful onion soup and everything was perfect.

We wanted to adopt that atmosphere, and that
I think we're done with Olivia. We have also adopted the baked onion soup, ha ha.

What is it like to work together as a married couple?

Pernille and I work on so many different things that we can sit at the table at home again
in the evening and ask 'How was your day'.

We are very sharply divided and we take care of the things
we are best at. If someone asks if I can help with something that falls under
Pernille, I can try to throw myself into it - but I can also see that it would be better if Pernille took care of it.

You can of course say that we have put all our eggs in the same basket, and it is a challenge if it doesn't work out. But we have some strong business prerequisites for running a restaurant that others may not have.

We cannot cook the food ourselves, but we have skilled employees. Employees who play on the same team and know that being in an industry like ours requires great agility.

We put a lot of effort into good hosting and are aware that many people visit us just as much as they visit Olivia. And we wish we could always be available in the restaurant, but we have to
to take time off once in a while and be with family and friends.

You had twins and started a restaurant at the same time. How has it been?

Having twins was a gift, because we're not really young, and to have two children at once!
They have to put up with a lot, get picked up at restaurants when we're out and get inspiration, and
they have been involved a lot at work. But they always have each other and always a buddy at hand, and that's a gift.

They have become a bit environmentally damaged because they have been to restaurants so much that they don't really appreciate it, haha. Now they are so big that they themselves leave school, go past the restaurant, get some lunch and then go home and walk the dog.
They are a permanent part of the environment, and we enjoy that.

Have you ever doubted?

It has been and is super cool to be in an environment where you are so close to your guests and such a large part of the operation. That's what we're driven by. The good hosting. After all, we are part of the operation every single day, and that also saves us a few hours in the gym.

We enjoy being able to support locally, like sports, the HC Andersen Festivals, the Flower Festival,
The night owls and the future Ronald McDonald House at the new OUH.

It also means that we have gotten to know many people, which is good for our business.
However, our children may well be a bit tired of us always having to stop and talk to someone when we are out and about.

Do you ever stand still?

We are constantly looking for new potential in our business, such as when we invested in, for example
AV equipment for the first floor, so we have the opportunity to create some nice settings for companies,
who want to hold meetings in less sterile surroundings.

I have also always been curious about developing myself. In my 27 years at McDonalds, I have worked with very different things in very different departments, and I have taken several different courses.
When we were with Olivia during the wildest run-in period, I took a course as a sommelier. I thought I could do it with my left hand, but it was a tough training .
But I like to challenge myself, and I enjoy using my knowledge as a sommelier when I do wine tastings at the restaurant today.

What does your attire mean to you?

I work in the clothes I could think of to wear when I have time off.

I used to work in a suit and tie for over 20 years and now I'm enjoying not having to wear it anymore and being able to wear more casual clothes to work. I could never think of turning up at the restaurant in worn-out clothes, but it has to be casual.

When we took over Olivia Brasserie, all the waiters wore uniforms, and we did away with that because we
would like to take the formal part out of it.

Today the servants are dressed according to the same principle as me,
but they must wear an apron.

I think it is a huge plus for the town that a store like Ulrik Storm has arrived. Ulrik and
Frederik Barfoed has really raised the standard for the shops in Odense in relation to the facade and
interior design.

A big thank you to Simon Bromark for wanting to be December's 'Man of The Month'.