Markus Stolz
Author: Markus Stolz


15 October 2019
Politics meets independent gastronomy

On the occasion of the Own Business Day (OBD), the day for independent entrepreneurship, METRO continued its newly launched Gastro Policy Talk series at the "Brauhaus am Quadenhof" in Dusseldorf. Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economics, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia; debatted with Sebastian Minx, restaurateur and owner of the “Brauhaus am Quadenhof” about the challenges for self-employed and especially for restaurateurs. The dialogue was moderated by Ivonne Julitta Bollow, Global Director of Corporate Public Policy.

Group foto

METRO International Own Business Study 2019/2020

To gain further insights into the experiences of business owners and how the public views independent businesses, METRO has commissioned the Own Business Study, a representative study encompassing 10,000 respondents across ten countries.

The event was opened by Olaf Koch, CEO of METRO AG. In a short thought experiment, the audience was asked to remember their best gastronomic experiences with their family, friends and colleagues. As the audience all discovered, the most beautiful meal together took place at the favorite restaurant around the corner and not in the system catering. Nonetheless, independent restaurateurs face major hurdles. Digitisation, skills shortage, red-tape and the complex VAT system are just a few, which were emphasised again and again.

Olaf Koch on the Panel

Olaf Koch, CEO METRO AG; © METRO AG / John M. John

Olaf Koch talking about METRO roots

Tweet by METRO_Politics; © METRO AG

Olaf Koch points out the challenges for caterers

Tweet by METRO_Politics; © METRO AG

Minister Pinkwart speaking

Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia; © METRO AG / John M. John

Minister Pinkwart is aware of these problems and right from the start praised METRO for being a pioneer in digitisation for many years now and for providing restaurateurs with digital tools. Because "digitisation should simplify," said the minister. Sebastian Minx also agreed that digitisation should simplify staff planing and improve customer service. Last but not least, the North Rhine-Westphalian "Entfesselungsgesetz" has contributed to the fact that the path to independent businesses has been debureaucratised.

However, Sebastian Minx still sees room for improvement here. He said that he has employed a refugee for a long time who has to apply for a work permit regulary because of the residency status. Since the responsible clerk has fallen ill, the work permit could not be extended and the assistant can not work since then. Minister Pinkwart responded with regret to this event. He then underlined that better working conditions had to be created in the catering industry, with staff paying into social and pension insurance.

Sebastian Minx in dialogue with the minister

Sebastian Minx and Ivonne Bollow; © METRO AG / John M. John

Another concern of Sebastian Minx was the regulation of working hours. Currently, the maximum working time is ten hours a day. For restaurateurs and employees, however, professions in the catering industry would be much more attractive, if the maximum working hours were fixed to 48 hours per week. This would counteract the skills shortage right away.

Sebastian Minx talks about shortage skills

Tweet by METRO_Politics; © METRO AG

Mininster Pinkwart offering support

Tweet by METRO_Politics; © METRO AG

Minister Pinkwart promised to take on the problems of gastronomy. He offered to co-operate with the participants to create a “Gastronomy-Package” in order to improve the environment for independent restaurateurs.

Minister Pinkwart and Olaf Koch handshake

Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart and Olaf Koch; © METRO AG / John M. John


You are curios to find out more about the OWN BUSINESS DAY? Vistit the OBD website!