The wholesale and food specialist METRO is expanding digital services for independent businesses. 'Restaurateurs' response to our digital support has surpassed our expectations', explains Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG.
- With new online platform DISH, restaurateurs gain access to special hospitality software, industry insights and an opportunity to connect with like-minded people
- The DISH restaurant community is to grow to 500,000 members by 2020
- Metro has equipped more than 100,000 restaurants in 14 countries with websites in the last 9 months
- 81% of independent businesses regard digital tools as essential for the future
Instead of the targeted 50,000 websites for restaurants in 2018, METRO already has provided more than 100,000 restaurants in 14 countries with a free website. Now, METRO is taking the next step and launching its digital platform DISH (Digital Innovations and Solutions for Hospitality) to connect restaurant owners and offer them further digital tools for more efficient business operations. The portfolio ranges from the already available free online reservation software to a tool, currently being tested with restaurateurs, for calculating the profitability per dish, all the way to a complex business cockpit. DISH (www.dish.co) also fosters networking, sharing experiences and relevant business insights. The online platform will first be launched in Germany and Italy, and then successively rolled out to other countries from 2019.
'Following other industries, the hospitality sector is now also being increasingly disrupted by digitalisation', says Olaf Koch. 'Delivery services and food chains are pushing into the market and putting increasingly pressure on the traditional restaurants. As a partner of independent businesses, METRO supports them in improving their digital visibility and working more efficiently with the assistance of digital tools.'
In a recent study, METRO surveyed independent business owners in 10 countries to assess their needs. One main finding is that 81% of respondents regard digital tools as important for marketing purposes. However, 39% have difficulty in finding digital tools that would help their business.
One of the key obstacles to digitalisation is the huge fragmentation of the hospitality industry which makes it very difficult to deploy new solutions at acceptable costs. With around 21 million wholesale customers and more than 7,000 sales representatives, METRO can make a significant contribution. METRO's unmatched industry reach across a large number of countries puts it in an ideal position to establish this new platform. Olaf Koch: 'We want to create one of the largest international communities of independent businesses in the hospitality sector and sustainably strengthen their competitiveness with new digital solutions.
DISH: the digital recipe for success in the hospitality business
With DISH, a new membership-based platform has been established that offers restaurateurs a wide range of matching services: they gain access to the free website equipped with artificial intelligence as well as to the online reservation tool. At the same time, they also find further solutions such as HR management, digital POS systems and social media. Moreover, the members are informed about the latest developments in the hospitality sector, new food trends and relevant events where they can share experience with restaurateurs and network. DISH membership is free of charge and available to all restaurateurs.
Hospitality Digital actively shapes digitalisation
In 2015, METRO established Hospitality Digital (HD). This dedicated division explores and develops innovative solution approaches that create significant value for restaurateurs. In the future, the team will also operate the digital platform DISH. HD has been set up as a separate entity to develop unusual ideas and elaborate them in cooperation with the customers. In order to identify the most effective digital solutions for the hospitality sector, all digital applications are tested in an initial phase by around 500 restaurant owners in 5 major European cities before being offered to other customers. Activities focus on concepts and solutions with which METRO wants to support its customers’ success. A good online presence, for example, can increase a restaurateur’s turnover by 20% and double the number of visits to their website.
Significant benefits to various stakeholders
The main aim of METRO’s effort to support the digitalisation of the hospitality sector is to strengthen and enhance the success of independent restaurateurs. This effort is also beneficial to innovators and startups as METRO is establishing a platform that will provide a unique access to the industry. This will enhance the preconditions for the success of new ideas while improving investment metrics for new concepts. Furthermore, METRO is significantly increasing its relevance in the wholesale sector and thereby laying the groundwork for further business opportunities.
More information at:
Digital Innovations and Solutions for Hospitality: www.dish.co
International Own Business Study: www.metro-cc.com
METRO is a leading international specialist in wholesale and food retail. The company operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2016/17, METRO generated sales of around €37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. With its sales brands METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as delivery services and digitaliisation initiatives METRO sets the standards for tomorrow: for customer focus, digital solutions and sustainable business models.
Hospitality Digital was established in 2015 and actively contributes to the digitalisation of the hospitality sector. An international team of experts implements a variety of digital solutions and innovations for hotels, restaurants, caterers and trader businesses. To this effect, the company relies on self-developed solutions as well as on solutions from start-ups promoted in the framework of the METRO Accelerator programmes, and on solutions from other partners. These digital solutions reach small and medium-sized restaurants, hotels and catering businesses through the sales channels of the METRO/MAKRO countries. In addition, the company invests into start-ups from the fields of hospitality tech, retail tech, food tech and food innovation and monitors the trends in the hospitality industry. Hospitality Digital is a wholly owned subsidiary of METRO. More information at hd.digital.