Guest quest

The Perfect Host

Chefs preparing food, woman looking at camera and smiling
Germans in the hospitality industry said they enjoyed making guests happy. Source. DPA.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Growth in Germany’s already large hospitality industry means more sales opportunities for wholesalers and suppliers – not least Metro, who recently commissioned a survey to take the temperature of independently-owned businesses.

  • Facts


    • Germany has about 224,000 cafés, bistros, snack bars, restaurants, hotels and catering firms.
    • The German hospitality industry generates about €70 billion, or $88.5 billion, and employs 1.8 million people.
    • Finding staff is the biggest problem for 70 percent of owners in the hospitality business.
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More than two million Germans dream of opening their own business in the hospitality industry. And in response to a survey, two-thirds of the respondents who are already in the industry said if they had to make the choice again, they would choose the exact same work.

The respondents said the most positive aspects of having their own café, bar, restaurant or even catering company were the scope for creativity; direct feedback from guests; and the ability to be self-reliant.

These figures are part of a report about small and medium-sized hotel, restaurant, bar and café owners commissioned by the Düsseldorf-based trading company Metro and conducted by the Society for Consumer Research.

For 70 percent of those surveyed, the biggest problem was finding a good supply of suitable personnel. This challenge ranked even above tax burdens, bureaucracy and industry regulations. Unsurprisingly, financial uncertainty was considered a burden by many. Hotel and restaurant operators had modest aspirations for the future, with nearly every fifth interviewee wanting to maintain their status quo.

“The hospitality industry is a huge market, but we're not involved in this area enough in Germany.”

Olaf Koch, Metro Chief Executive

Perhaps thanks to the cult of the rock-star chef and proliferation of TV cooking shows, a robust 28 percent said they want to be in their business to be famous.

These results would make hospitality one of the top three most popular industries for start-ups in Germany – on par with the trades and the retail industry.

“Eighty-nine percent of people say they are passionate about the business,” said Metro chief executive Olaf Koch. “And they need to be, in such a tough market.”

For Mr. Koch at Metro, whose contract was recently extended to September 2018, the survey results were good news. Metro’s Cash & Carry, which is 50 years old this year, is the largest part of the MDax-listed Metro Group and the fifth largest retailer in the world by revenue. It also owns electronic retailers Media-Markt and Saturn, the Kaufhof department stores, and the Real supermarkets.

Mr. Koch has big plans for expansion, especially amongst the independent entrepreneurs in the burgeoning hospitality industry. Last year the German hospitality industry generated about €70 billion, or $88.5 billion, and employed 1.8 million people.

“The hospitality industry is a huge market, but we’re not involved in this area enough in Germany,” Mr. Koch said. “That is something we have to change, and reach the high levels we already occupy in other countries.”

Germany already has about 224,000 cafés, bistros, snack bars, restaurants, hotels and catering firms, according to the German Hotel and Catering Industry organization.


Hospitality Industry in Germany (2)


Kirsten Ludowig reports on companies and markets for Handelsblatt. To contact the author:

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