German gastronomy is lagging behind in digitization. At METRO, we have been working on a trend-setting concept for three years, which could also be groundbreaking for other trading companies.
Gastro customers are still largely unaware of the potential of digitization: 54% of gastro entrepreneurs think that digital technologies would help them, but only 36% of independent restaurants are already using them. And only 12% of companies want to invest in digitization in the future.
Small and large catering services can offer advice and services on digital technologies here. Self-employed retailers can make decisions quickly and implement change. For a wholesaler like METRO with more than 100 stores and many levels of hierarchy, however, a complete reorientation has to be developed from the inside in order to be able to implement them sustainably.
We wholesalers learned at that time: In the trade, location is the most important thing. You have to have the right product for the customer, at the right price, in the right quality, in the right place. This is still correct for the food retailer. But for many traders that has changed. Because today every customer can get every product at any time in the quality he desires and at the price he wants.
Therefore, METRO wants to become the marketplace for gastronomy – on- and offline. If we refocus on the needs of our main target group, we must pursue the following goals:
American companies like Amazon are expanding into Europe and increasingly displacing regional trading companies. It does not surprise me that these growing competitors of wholesalers originally come from the IT sector.
Thomas Storck, CEO, METRO Germany GmbH
We identified our most relevant audience and adjusted the business objective accordingly. In order to pursue the new strategy in the long term, we must ask about the key needs of our main customers: For the restaurateur, investing in IT is important but extremely costly. That is why METRO will offer not only the gastro hardware – from the sprout salad to the gas stove – but also digital solutions: for example the restaurant reservation tool, the administration help for bookkeeping and personnel planning – as well as the software with which the restaurant visitor can pay cashlessly. Our task of the future is to be no longer just a product provider but also a solution provider.
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