“Gastronomy-Policy-Dialogue” at INTERNORGA 2019
On 18 March 2019, METRO held its first "Gastronomy-Policy-Dialogue" at the INTERNORGA - Europe’s leading trade show for foodservice and hospitality in Hamburg. There we discussed with stakeholders from politics, gastronomy and economy which framework conditions should be met in order to preserve the diversity of the hospitality sector.
An excess of red tape, rigid working time regulations, a shortage of skilled workers and junior staff, a lack of digitalisation as well as complex tax regulations – these are just a few of the challenges facing restaurants and catering businesses today.
On the panel, Vice President of the Bundestag and Deputy Chairman of the FDP Wolfang Kubicki, DEHOGA President Guido Zöllick together with Michelin-starred chef Tim Raue and restaurateur Dirk Schipper, as well as the CEO of METRO Germany Thomas Storck talked about possible political approaches to support the restaurant and catering industry in coping with these challenges.
For Wolfgang Kubicki it was clear that the political goal had to be “to also curb the typically German regulatory enthusiasm in the field of restaurants and catering”. With this, he hit the nail right on the head. Restaurateur Dirk Schipper, who is active in Hamburg and the surrounding area with a food truck concept, had bemoaned the same issue: “Red tape is eating up the catering trade – this is something literally every restaurateur is struggling with. It is necessary to create sufficient leeway for entrepreneurial solutions. Small entrepreneurs need political support for liberal approaches.”
Tim Raue stressed that political support is also needed when it comes to the shortage of skilled workers, as waiters and cooks are particularly hard to find. If this development persists, the continued existence of the restaurant and catering trade as a constituent part of society and a factor contributing to quality of life will be threatened.
Guido Zöllick, President of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association DEHOGA, also reaffirmed these demands: “For a successful future of the restaurant and catering trade, we need policies that give us the time and breathing space to do what we do best: Being hosts. Our core objectives therefore include flexible working hours, the reduction of red tape and equal taxes for food.” Thomas Storck, CEO of METRO Germany, explained that the focus of the wholesale company is on supporting restaurateurs in their daily lives: “We understand the needs and concerns of the catering industry. For us, this naturally also includes giving its stakeholders a platform with event formats such as the Gastronomy Policy Dialogue.”
In addition, METRO also supports restaurateurs in their everyday work with fresh and innovative products, tailor-made delivery services and a wide range of digital solutions. Thomas Storck pointed out: “We’re creating the scope for restaurateurs to concentrate on the essentials: their business and their guests.”