The Future of Food Delivery in Europe: Key Drivers for Success

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About The Episode

In this episode, we welcome Stephan Leuschner from Rational. Stephan hosts the popular Trendtalks on Youtube, where he talks with worldwide industry leaders. Each Trendtalk episode is a treasure trove of insights on ghost kitchens, new technologies and restaurant concepts.

Stephan and Carl dig deep into the new delivery concepts popping up left and right. They uncover the key drivers for success and discuss which type of companies will win the battle for market share. And Stephan answers the question: why you shouldn’t fall in love with your brand.

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Carl: Hello, I’m Carl Jacobs and in daily life I’m the co-founder and CEO of Apicbase. In this podcast, I’ll be looking for answers on how to grow and scale your food service business. I’m talking to numerous experts who’ve done the same in the past. Welcome to the Food
Service Growth Show. 

In this episode, I talk to Stefan Leuschner of Rational. His name will sound familiar to many of you in the European hospitality industry. His trend talks on YouTube are a treasure trove of insights on ghost kitchens, new technologies and restaurant concepts. In recent years, there has been a huge boom in this business model. And that begs the question where does it all go? That’s why I am happy to talk to Stefan today to hear his views on the state of our affairs of off premise dining in Europe.

Welcome to the podcast Foodservice Growth Show. And today I have Stefan Leuschner with me. Hello, Stefan.

Stefan: Hi, Carl. How are you doing?

Carl: I’m fine. I’m fine. Thank you for asking. Before we jump into, you know, the questions and, you know, go a bit deeper in some of the topics we are going to discuss, I’d like to invite you to introduce yourself. Who is Stefan Leuschner?

Stefan: Thank you very much, Carl. Yeah, well, who is Stefan Leuschner? I’m right now working for a company called Rational in Germany. And since roughly 19 years now, in my former life, I used to be an executive chef. So I do have a classic culinary background. And within Rational, my task is now I’m the specialist for ghost kitchens and broadcasting. So I actually have found my own webinar and podcast series called Trend Talk, which one or other of you have maybe heard or seen already.

Oh, fantastic. And you say you’re a classically trained chef. Have you also, let’s say, done the real thing and been in the kitchen?

Stefan: Absolutely. Yes. Yes. So classical education, working on all posts, traditional classical chef education, French cuisine, German cuisine, Italian cuisine, you name it. So I had the honor to finally be an executive chef in some renowned traditional hotels within Germany. So it was a great time before I moved to work, let’s say, for the industry and not in the industry anymore. This was my change some 19 years ago.

All right. And what was the reason for that change? Is it the classical “I didn’t want to do the long nights anymore.” or was there any specific reason why you chose to work for the industry?

Stefan: I think it was the excitement, the excitement to see something new and also the role which was offered to me at that time was also connected to traveling all abroad in the world, to Asia, to foreign places. And of course, this was very exciting to see the industry from another perspective and to learn from people all around the globe to meet them. So it was a great opportunity.

Carl: And I guess this was the Rational opportunity already or?

Stefan: Correct. Yes, already that one. Yes.

So maybe can you give us a bit of insight on Rational?  What is your role at Rational? What is Rational doing? What’s the future for Rational?

Stefan: Of course. Well, as you said, many of you may know Rational, of course, as a manufacturer of kitchen equipment, professional kitchen appliances, we do have two products, which are the iCombi steamer and the iVario, which is a kind of multifunctional cooking equipment. And both products are considered quite the leading items within the industry, you can say as they offer, let’s say, some specific features. 

I don’t want to go into deep today, but Rational has, let’s say, focused on these two products and we try to bring the highest possible benefit with these particular iCombi and iVario and well within Rational, as mentioned before, I started as a consultant, an application consultant and corporate chef at that time, coming from my hospitality background, developing concepts, training people, exhibitions, etcetera, and was also responsible for recent 15 years for handling some major key accounts worldwide in the restaurant industry. And now since this year, the focus is on ghost kitchen concepts and also broadcasting. So there was a great opportunity to develop this sector within the company and here I am.

Carl: All right. And in terms of, you know, you mentioned you have your own broadcasting and your own podcast, the Trend Talk podcast. And I’d like to jump in and ask you the first question that we prepared here internally.

 Of course, something that we see a lot in the market as well is that the demand for home delivery is huge. Can you tell us a little bit from where you stand, how it all started and where did it start? And do you have any, you know, insights you want to share on the off-premise dining concepts?

Stefan: Well, of course, you can argue that, of course, the recent years over the COVID crisis period, this was definitely an accelerator when it comes to food delivery and off-premise dining. But logically, this is nothing new. We used to have this in various formats for ages and just recently, referring to some article about the Indian dabbawalas. So delivering food to the, let’s say, workplaces of your family has a 150-130 year old tradition in these countries. 

So there has always been a relation between bringing food to work. You can, for example, look at the traditional examples in England in the later 19th century during the Industrial Revolution, when people had to work in the coal mines and the shafts. So what they already got, they got their food delivered or they took, this was the invention, let’s say invention of the pie. So when people created food, which was easy to transport, easy to take with you, so off-premise dining has always been relevant and well later developed into, let’s say, a brick and mortar stuff, canteens. 

But initially people were depending on getting their food delivered. And this has evolved even five, six, seven years ago. Some markets which actually caught my attention when I was in China at that time ten years ago, it was quite common that you go for a lunch break in a restaurant or in a food shop or some street hawker just to get your food over lunch.

Five, six years ago, it was rarely common anymore. People were simply staying at their offices and food was delivered already. And interestingly, one of the same food driver or pick-up person came 3-4 times to the same office in a row. So there was still some room for improving, let’s say, the logistical aspect. 

But eating off-premise and getting food to where you are is nothing new. But here in Europe, I would say for us, let’s say we got the appetite recently, more or less during the necessity. When there was no opportunity for us to go dine in, both customers and operators had to change their solutions. So many restaurants had to pivot or had to offer additional delivery or pickup options. And technically seen I would say people love convenience, but we were not, let’s say, too familiar with it. If you go to the United States, the UK, even the Middle East, this has a more year long tradition.

I would argue that here in Central Europe, we just really started growing this over the last two, two and a half years at least visible, and the whole media accelerated it. I mean, we read a lot of news about ghost kitchens, off-premise dining, food delivery, a topic which may be ten years ago was not so popular in the news. And I would say there has been a lot of things have happened, but it is became an integral part of our daily life. So I must say.

Carl: I understand and you mentioned quite consciously Central Europe as a region in this. And what is the current situation in Europe in terms of off-premise? Are there any, you know, business models that seem to be working more than others?

Stefan: Yes, definitely. Yes. I won’t dare to say I know them all, but what you can see is recently when the COVID situation was in the most critical phase, many people started experimenting more or less depending on what they already had from brick and mortar to offer food, to deliver food. 

Some coming with a non hospitality background took the opportunity and started their own enterprises, mostly connected to some IT solutions or some delivery platforms. So we have a lot of players coming from the non hospitality sector genuinely, but all these startups and concepts, some of them grow, some of them didn’t make it over the last two years. What you can see at the moment is that there is a trend going back to develop rather some kind of hybrid models, meaning integrating the opportunity, for example, of pickup into the ghost kitchen operation. So it’s not a completely dark or cloudy or hidden area anymore. 

Many operators now start to integrate additional options like a simple pickup, whether it’s from a counter, whether it’s from a food locker to offer both that you can get your food delivered, but also if it’s within your convenience to get the products on site eventually even consume them there or take them home. And this seems to become a popular solution, at least when it comes to central Europe, where, let’s say there might be more benefit for both the customer and for the operator to reduce the costs, to still create a fresh product. And the choice we are now appreciating coming from the virtual brands world.

But also for the operator once again to get more feedback from the customers. So this also will help them to develop, to improve. And an interesting topic, just let me tell you a little example. 

I had a discussion with some restaurateur in Germany recently, and over the
pandemic he started delivering. He had to close the restaurant, but he was quite successfully operating a delivery operation with a somehow, let’s say, limited menu. Now, as there is again the opportunity to have more dine in customers and people are coming back. I asked him, Do you still do the delivery? He said yes, but only until 12 at lunchtime and maybe after 3 p.m. because in the main time I want to focus back again on my customers in house and I don’t have time to do both at the same time. And I said, why is
it? The reason is quite simple. As much as we like the additional business of delivery, we still have the benefit of offering beverages when it goes to the in house dining. And as we all know in the hospitality business, beverage is a very relevant aspect to create the necessary margin. 

Ultimately, because it’s a mix calculation. If you have, let’s say, some cheaper, presumed cheaper items, they may bring you more, ultimately more margin. And that’s why I said no. If it’s in dining time, in house dining time, I focus on my guests, but I still leverage the opportunity in the weaker time periods over the afternoon or in the later morning to create some additional revenue and create nice, let’s say, daypart management.

Carl: Yeah, very interesting topic actually. And maybe the person also, you know, considers the margin that he has to give to the delivery guys into this as well. But I wanted to jump back a little bit before what you said, you mentioned that in this dark kitchen space or the host kitchen/ghost kitchen area, that also a lot of non-hospitality businesses are, you know, joining the party. Let’s say. One thing that I wonder is in the traditional hospitality business what makes the difference is two things. It is the food, but it’s also the concept. It’s the experience you give to people when they come to their restaurant.

How can you, you know, differentiate your concept in a ghost kitchen market? How can you make sure that somebody chooses you and not your competitor on a, let’s say, generic website? 

Stefan: Absolutely agree with that, Carl. And this is one of the major problems, how to stand out of the crowd of indifferent food options. I mean, if you check today on any websites for some keep it simple, some burger or sushi, you will find thousands of choices and thousands of more or less generic brand examples. So this is a great point. I think one thing is how, the general question would be, how to create more experience into delivered food. That’s the main question. 

And one topic, for example, could already start when it comes to boxing unboxing the whole packaging concept. So I recently read a lot about unboxing. This seems to be very relevant when it comes to customer experience, so this can be something particularly made for delivery and even enhancing that. And of course I mean people should be creative when it comes to certain specific recipes. A simple tomato mozzarella won’t do. Yeah, everybody knows. But if you could, let’s say, create something new out of known components, maybe this will help you to create some signature.

Nobody can be a jack of all trades, so focus once again is relevant. Focus and quality and remembering, for example, one of my fellow speakers at the Trend Talk, Sean Walchef from California. He’s doing a brilliant operation called Cali Barbecue. And they do well, barbecue, simply barbecue products as delivery and they offer some cocktails, but they do them in such a brilliant quality and in such a rich quality that people appreciate the food.

And he also said he shrunk his menu by, I don’t know, some up to 70 or more percent to focus on the essential go away from brick and mortar, which he initially had and now focus completely on pickup and delivery solutions. This could be one thing focus on few but very good things. 

Another very interesting trend right now is that the other way around, established brick and mortar restaurants or chains, they already they of course, understood the benefits of additional sales when it comes to off-premise dining and food delivery. So what some of these I call them, let’s say the known brands or the real brands, what they do is they select a couple of signature items or modify them to work for delivery environment, and they now offer similar menus, which you could get in their brick and mortar estates as well, on delivery. 

There is some restaurant chains in Germany. We are right now doing some nice reference, which I will not spoil yet, but next year will be some nice reference of an established German restaurant chain company with various brands which also found it would make sense to utilize all the brand benefits into one kitchen and offer these for delivery that customers have a wider choice. And we saw it even the major QSR chains Wendy’s etcetera. They all started also testing out and looking for food delivery and off-premise dining options in addition to their, of course, existing solutions.What’s a bit cheaper, maybe a bit more expensive, a bit less. But in general, I think I can conclude that, you know, restaurant industry could have been hit much harder because of the inflation than it’s actually been doing, or you would expect this.

Carl: Yeah. Of course yeah they do these experiments and of course they see probably also the revenue go up from that perspective. But of course a Wendy’s can play the Wendy’s cards. Everybody knows what they do and if you order it the only thing, of course it’s a very difficult thing, but the only thing they need to do is make sure that, you know, the quality is as expected. But if you are a new, let’s say, player in the game and you have nothing except for the, let’s say the ghost part, the delivery part, then I can imagine it’s a much more difficult barrier to entry in a sense.

 If you look into Europe today can you, you know, identify some markets in which, you know, delivery is much more powerful than in other markets or is there any particular market that is very, you know, going forward in delivery?

Stefan: Of course, we do have geographical differences and some markets are more, let’s say, advanced when it comes to ghost kitchen operations and food delivery. Some are rather in the beginning. 

What you can say in general is that the beginning of most of the ghost kitchens was, of course, in metropolitan areas. So we talk about the big cities, about London, Berlin, Hamburg, things like that. So because they are depending on the delivery solution and as we all know, in countryside, it’s way more inefficient and of course more costly to deliver food from A to B, so this already would be a certain indication that there where we do have metropolitan areas, we will find more opportunities. 

Uk, of course, has been, let’s say, a leading country when it comes to food delivery always, if you would count it within Europe still. So the near Middle East area has been very strong, in particular when it came to food delivery already since many years. We see a couple of developments now in Germany. Of course, we see Italy as market. Spain has been a very strong growing market, though I must say, particular in regards to Spain. Something which all operators have to bear in mind. Recently also, there used to be some legislative changes which, for example, forbid the operation or building of ghost kitchens in certain areas like residential areas.

This is something which of course can slow down the progress dramatically. And we saw people and players coming and going. So there are so many aspects. Remembering a company we originally used to work together already very successful more than 4 or 5 years ago was the German found company called Keats, and Keats was a Berlin found ghost kitchen operator. Very nice quality, good concept. They, however, relied on one particular delivery platform, and when this delivery platform decided to leave Germany on a Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning, Keats was not existing anymore technically seen. So we can also see the dependency between operator, platform, aggregators. 

This is an ecosystem, so we need to see all the relevant aspects. And here, once again also as the question was which markets, those markets where we have an infrastructure of driving forces of riders, the infrastructure of available kitchen space and the necessary regulations to allow such businesses, they will succeed probably more. And yeah, it’s most probable if you look at the bigger cities, you will also see more success on that one.

Carl: Yeah, I heard you say something very particular just now. It’s about the Spanish regions where it was forbidden to open up kitchens in residential areas. Do you know why they forbid this in residential areas?

Stefan: According to what I understood, it was mainly due to complaints of the inhabitants on the local people which simply complained about the riders going in and out, the noise, the pollution, all this people simply appreciate delivery, but they hate the delivery business. So it is difficult. 

One reason more I would say to focus maybe more on the self pick up rather than the delivery option. If you would have hubs for picking up which are, let’s say some 5 to 10 minutes away, may be easier and would reduce the in and out. I mean, those of you who used to live next to a school or a football field, you know what traffic means. If at a certain time people just drive in and out. And I think this is understandable that some residential areas, they really suffered under this traffic. One other question, and also this is the point when it comes to developing the right site for such operations, it’s not only in the past we said, yeah, you go into some industrial areas and the dark kitchen and nobody cares. 

But the trend is going to another direction. Now we have smaller locations which are in the catchment area of your customers. You want to be closer to your customers, you want to be in, I don’t know, at bank and business areas where you have tens of thousands of people just in a near proximity. And besides that, people, they still like to get the food delivered, but they of course don’t want to wait too long. So that’s one more reason to having more, let’s say, smaller, independent satellite sites rather than a massive completely back of the house ghost kitchens.

Imagine you want to enter this market because it’s a new market. A lot of opportunities. It’s a billion dollar quest almost. What are the ingredients of a successful off-premise dining operation?

Stefan: Yeah, that’s a good question. Now I will. There’s of course, more than one relevant aspect, and I’m sure there is many more than those I can mention. But one thing is, as we said before, first thing is that many ghost kitchen operators they came, let’s say, with a very bold idea, but no hospitality background. So one thing is to, let’s say, create a promise. 

Another thing is to conduct it later. So I would always, recommend, and this also what I saw in recent successful companies, even if you’re a startup, an entrepreneur, at least get somebody on board with a culinary background. This has various reasons for the sake of food quality, for the sake of food safety training. Ultimately, some people need to work in this operation. For them, you need somebody who can guide and that’s why most successful operators, they at least have one, like a corporate chef or a food developer or whatever, somebody who has really a focus on food and the quality. That’s the one thing. The second thing to be successful means, of course, very closely looking into the existing solutions and monitoring the market. 

So in the beginning, everybody was going for the tier one cities like Berlin, Paris, London, whatever. I could imagine that well, let’s say the ideal places are gone already over the years. I could imagine that you may be more successful in tier 2 or 3 cities, like some 200 to 50,000 people cities, which could still be developing a good business for you, but you should take it from a local aspect.

Another thing which turned out to be quite successful was to rather grow locally first than to spread your shops all over the country. So taking an example, being, let’s say, active in the Rhine area, Düsseldorf, Cologne, something like this in selected outlets seems to turn out to be more successful than putting one in each major city of Germany with a 600 kilometer distance. Because you need to bear in mind your supply chain, ultimately your recruiting. 

If you are close together, you could leverage two things. You can, let’s say,
move your workforce a little bit and also potentially support the concept. I’m promoting like a two step concept where you have one central production kitchen, traditional production kitchen, like maybe a former canteen or something like that where you can produce all your products, cut them, season them, prepare them, and then just deliver the relevant, let’s call it ammunition to your stores or to your outlets, where during a shift you simply finish and assemble the products needed, right? Like the sandwich is only assembled in store, but the chicken is maybe already grilled or not. There’s many ways how to operate, but I think efficiently producing on one side
with one standardized sauce and soup and product would allow you to scale up still with the same quality. So you create your own supply. And if you do that, you could probably be more successful in a local approach within 40-50km rather than spreading it all over the country first. That would be my consideration.

Carl: Okay, that’s great advice for those who want to or are considering opening up an off-premise dining operation. 

Maybe also asking the other question what are the challenges of delivery today? And not just for a starter, just in general, the market? Can you know, give us a bit of insight into the risks that these delivery markets have?

Stefan: There are a lot of, let’s say, food traps when it comes to food delivery. And I would say starting with the very first one is your brand. Your brand can become a trap. Very, very important when it comes to working in the fast moving and changing virtual environment is you need to be flexible. You need to stay flexible. 

You need to do what the customers want to have and not vice versa. It’s not that you build a brick and mortar, celebrity driven, concept driven product where people come because they want to see you or sit there. It’s really, in the beginning, you need to fulfill the needs and find out what your particular customers in this area need, which demography, whatever is there where you want to offer. So one rule should be don’t fall in love with your brand. We find out the brand is not operating or the products within your brand. When we talk about brand, we normally mean a segmentation of a menu. I would say in former times we had a menu where you got soups, starters, main courses. Maybe if you offer five soups, this is already an opportunity to create your own brand to allow you, and we talked about it, how to get, let’s say, traction, how to be found because you are the specialist for soups and that’s why the brand is a soup brand.

So but looking back, don’t fall in love with your brand. I mean, this does not mean that you should jump from concept to concept, but you need to adopt the menu and the offering and the way you offer it to your local demography. Imagine you have a sandwich brand and you have the north of the city and south of the city. In the north maybe you have a lot of students and young people. In the south you maybe have a lot of business people and ultimately they both like club sandwich, for example. But you would call it maybe different. Maybe you would give it a fancy young name for those areas where you want to attract more younger people, or you maybe give it more a traditional name or design or signature in, let’s say, other environments. But ultimately it could be the same one and the same burger or one in the same sandwich just with the tomato or not. 

So use the toolbox you got of products, but try to fit them to the
demography and to the needs. So that’s why if the brand is called Carls Burger and people don’t like it, hey, then call it Stephens Burger and no problem. You know, So this could be an example.

Carl: Very good. Yes. I totally get that.

Stefan: Another problem, of course, is something which is not only affecting the delivery sector, but also the hospitality as a whole. And this is something in particular for startups is the whole topic about labor and availability of qualified labor. As we know, it’s very tough to get a chef, to get people who are, let’s say, skilled in this segment. Therefore, the whole entire food delivery sector already is relying on, well, let’s say, trained staff, not fully, fully trained chefs, but people, cooks who are trained in the business, part timers, it’s let’s say, a slightly lower skill level than we expect in a full restaurant. So what does that mean? You still have the same challenge. You want high quality food in perfect hygienic condition, served warm, served as good as possible in every location. 

And here is something where that’s also one of the reasons why I think from Rational with our products we are quite successful in this. In offering solutions. Here you need smart and clever technology, which also helps you to cook and produce and prepare your food everywhere the same without, let’s say, the need of massive training and that everybody can operate and produce according to your standards everywhere. So that’s important, keeping the standards. And thirdly, also coming back to the equipments I was mentioning, if you would use an iCombi, for example, you have flexible operation equipment, and flexibility, as said before, is key. So today we want to grill chicken breast. Tomorrow we want to make a kebab. Next day we want to bake bread because the demand changes and the brand changes.

But with the right setup from the beginning, multifunctional products on small space, which are easy to operate like our products, for example, this will guarantee you that you got the basis for operations for the next years, even if the circumstances and brand demands change. I think that’s very important to have a forward thinking about what’s working today is not necessarily working in the next two years. So you need to be always willing to change and flexible,but still keep the core of your operations.

But retail is also a player in this market. They are everywhere in the country. They do have a lot of produce already. People come there to pick up stuff. They do delivery already with their own stuff. What’s their role in this market?

Stefan: That’s a very good question. And as you said, retail already has, of course, given by the nature of groceries and products they sell has already a very important position in the whole hospitality segment. Other way around. We talked about challenges before opening a ghost kitchen in a residential area is a big problem. Well, imagine an established retailer. He doesn’t have this problems because he has already the fluctuation of customers. He has already the accessibility by cars and trains and whatever. He already has the parking abilities. So for a retailer like a big supermarket, like the Krogers, Walmart, Aldi’s, whatever of the world, for them, it’s quite easy to implement additional concepts into their existing premises because people are there already. Parking is there already. Giving a ghost kitchen operations with additional pick up solutions. 

Technically seeing the retailers are already made for it and we see more and more companies pairing up with retailers like we see in Canada, Ghost Kitchen Brands. We see Kitchen United. We see in Denmark a new startup, Noah’s. They are starting up with Dagrofa. So there is more and more synergy. But the interesting thing is that the retailers, they understood there is a part of the cake. They want to have the food delivery, which also, if it’s combined with a pickup, gives of course the customers more reason to go into a supermarket. 

And ultimately it’s all about why do I need to go into a supermarket? That’s the main question for them to keep people in store so they buy more. And picking up the food could be a very important point to bring people to come to a Walmart or go to an Aldi or go to a Raven or whatever or to a Carrefour. And therefore, it’s interesting that they understood they need to offer more. And you know, most of the established supermarkets, already have some cafe or bakery in front of the supermarket zone and now adding additional pickup options or additional order and delivery options is just a given. I see more and more of that coming and I’m expecting more and more major retailers to implement such solutions. 

The main question I’m still asking myself is why the retailers don’t do it themselves, why are they not just creating their own brands and their own food? Maybe that’s just the learning curve at the moment. Let’s see what’s happening in the next three, or four years. 

I say in the long run, my feeling is that if you see the whole hospitality battlefield, so the fight for the stomach, in my opinion, the long run, will be won by the retailers because they have the products already and nobody, imagine you buy your sandwich and your burger and you get a soft drink at retail price. This is a pricing no normal restaurant and nobody can compete
with. So from a cost ratio perspective, I could imagine the retailers, they have the power to, let’s say, bring the best value for money in the long run. But they haven’t, let’s say, started their own project yet. It’s just the first phase.

Yeah, that sounds very reasonable to me. And it brings me to my last question. You just give a little bit of insight on where you think retail will go in the next years, but how will off-premise dining evolve in Europe over the next five years? Where will we be in five years time?

Stefan: Yeah, once again, of course, a bold question. I just can, let’s say, put my personal estimation in. So one thing for sure is that we saw an acceleration in the off-premise dining during the COVID period, which was exceptional because it was new and something started and everybody wants to be a part of it. So the acceleration, in my opinion, is slowing down a little bit. But I definitely see that food delivery and off-premise dining is there to stay and well, just to give you an example. My father, he’s mid 70 years old and even he is now using an app to order some food and once he finds out how easy it is and he gets his food delivered, he’s doing it again and again. So this is nothing which is only for young people. I think once you tasted the apple, you know, you got it. 

But the question is, and this is my main question, how much space is left for new players? This is something we will see. So let’s say the traditional ghost
kitchen model, like web order, virtual brand, pick up delivery, we have it. The question is, theres here and there are some spots left where there may be are not too many established players, but we have it. The question what’s next? As I believe the integration of pick up solutions will most probably be more. Imagine train stations or airports or whatever where you got these concepts already in many places of the world. I see this more coming. We have to see how classical, how classical catering business, catering canteens, how they will be affected.

Will they also become food deliverers of our other solutions? I mean, hashtag home office. There’s a lot still to do. I also believe that we need, well I hope that there will be some exceptional new developments offering more experience. Because let’s say getting a mediocre burger and a pizza, no problem. We can do everywhere. But what could be the next step to create an experience for the customer, which still, and this is the big challenge which still earns some money in the concept. And we all can die in grace. But ultimately it should also be a concept which is sustainable, which is working. 

So we see some exciting concepts at the moment with mobile kitchen buses cooking on the way or cooking in front of your house delivering fine dining products to you, which is great from a customer experience. And I like the idea, but I’m still concerned if this will be a really money earning concept on the long run. So this is what we have to see. There is no black and white. There will be some gray zones. I think that some players like caterers or retailers, they will definitely go into that business. 

That’s my prediction for the next years. But off-premise dining and food delivery is there to stay. It will stay. I don’t believe we have seen the peak yet, but it will, of course not rise forever. At a certain point it will stabilize and we will have some established players and these brands maybe will be the new, I don’t know, McDonalds and Burger Kings of the future. We never know. So this is where new players will establish themselves.

Carl: All right. That’s very interesting. For now I thank you very much, Stefan. I remember that you don’t fall in love with your own brand, which is a very nice one. But thank you very much for now and for joining us on this podcast and see you next time. 

Stefan: Thank you. Great pleasure.

Carl: That was my conversation with Stefan Leuschner. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I heard some interesting things, such as “Don’t Fall in Love with Your Own Brand”, the power of on-premise in an off-premise environment and spend time on the unboxing experience. If you liked this episode and can’t wait for more, subscribe to our channel and don’t forget to check out our previous episodes. That’s all for now. Until next time.

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