Interview with Olaf Koch 2/4

Food Service Distribution is a strategic growth area for METRO. How much potential do you see here in the future?

We need both: Food Service Distribution and store-based wholesale. Store-based wholesale is very important and will continue to be so. Our customers like selecting products from us in the store, receiving advice and meeting other chefs and retailers. Wholesale stores are a marketplace for products, but also for expertise and face-to-face encounters. That’s something we should never lose sight of.

The fact is, though, that more and more customers also want us to deliver...

... yes, exactly. That’s why we launched our delivery service 10 years ago. Sales are already over €5 billion – and we have by no means exhausted the growth potential. We also want to improve our service quality further. The aim is to make our processes and our interaction with customers as easy and efficient as possible, for instance through innovative interfaces and the digitalisation of our customer relationships. Many things are already running very well and we are working hard on further improvements. Ideally, food specialists will choose us because of our product expertise and service quality, but also because they can work with us efficiently thanks to digital tools.

How can we make processes more economical, simpler, better? With the driver app for our METRO drivers, for example. Less effort, less paper, more transparency in delivery – digitalisation at its best!


That means digitalisation is indispensable, even – and especially – for the food delivery service. How far has METRO progressed along this path?

Digitalisation in the context of delivery starts with the customer and extends as far as our warehouses. Our M-Shop online shop is a tool for interacting with our customers. Processes like order processing and warehouse restocking are already completely digital because we restock for the following day based on stock levels and orders received. Another big step is digitalising the work of our drivers. Our driver app simplifies the administrative work for drivers, cuts transport costs, reduces paper use by up to 50% and makes data more transparent. We will be able to make further improvements to processes on this basis.

Berlin (photo)

If Arne Anker and his team are to perform at their very best, all the various processes have to run completely smoothly. This includes goods delivery. METRO supplies the restaurant with fresh produce once a week – reliably, punctually and with the assistance of its own specially developed driver app.

Arne Anker, chef of Berliner Pauly Saals (photo)

Arne Anker is an incredibly laid-back kind of guy. The Michelin-starred head chef at the Berlin restaurant Pauly Saal delights in serving up fabulous culinary creations. In his kitchen, precision takes precedence over improvisation. Every hand movement made is perfect. After all, this is a Michelin-starred kitchen.

Arne Anker Michelin-starred head chef at Pauly Saal,Berlin
Daily delivery of fresh ingredients (photo)
Small dish from the kitchen of Pauly Saals (photo)
Kitchen from Pauly Saals (photo)

Organisation is the key

In the kitchen of Pauly Saal, the freshest of ingredients are prepared in very narrow time frames. Individual ingredients are precisely attuned to each other in the creation of each dish; the service must be perfectly synchronised. Accordingly, flawless organisation in the kitchen is essential. Arne Anker thinks of himself as the captain of a ship: ‘It’s my task to ensure that we keep right on course and that no icebergs arise ahead of us.’

Arne is always happy to recommend the 7-course dinner to his guests: ‘We bring them 5 amuse-bouches to start with and finish the meal off with 3 coffee garnishes,’ he elaborates. ‘So, with this big meal, our guests have 15 small dishes on the table in all – and therefore the full inspiration of our kitchen!’

Ideas? Always and everywhere.

For Arne, creativity is a continuous process, and Berlin offers a wealth of inspiration. The chef finds ideas for new dishes and creations everywhere – whether he is cycling to work, walking his dog or cooking with his restaurant team. ‘You see herbs growing, an artwork someone has sprayed on a wall, a colourful T-shirt on a co-worker – and your mind just starts clicking. That’s how dishes come about in our kitchen.’

Arne has no worry whatsoever that he could run out of ideas. Nearly 1,000 dishes are already saved on his laptop or in development, while the next ones are germinating in his head. ‘The creative well never runs dry,’ he says. ‘The only problem is time.’

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Arne on his way to work (photo)
Berlin, Arne's hometown (photo)
METRO-NOM process development shown symbolically (photo)

Can good hospitality solutions be made even better? Yes, they can. This is something that the experts at METRO-NOM firmly believe. They draw on agile processes, continuously gather feedback and quickly further develop their solutions.

Co-worker of the Tech-Unit from METRO (photo)

Philip, Paola, Mohamed and Brent work in METRO’s technology unit METRO-NOM and are the ones who actively implement digital transformation. Within their teams, they develop IT solutions for all of the METRO countries and work on topics such as big data, personalisation and augmented reality – with agility and self-organisation.

Philip Englert Domain Owner of Salesforce & Customer Care, METRO-NOM

Learning from the customer

In the former electrical substation in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, energy is still flowing. Here, the forward-thinkers and developers of the METRO-NOM team are working on solutions such as the M-Shop and the sales force app SAM, which stands for Sales And More. The tech unit sees itself as an IT sparring partner for the customers and the METRO countries. Its objective is to develop solutions that make processes more efficient and generate the greatest possible added value.

And the METRO-NOM approach is as unpretentious as it is successful: always speak with the customers and partners, listen and learn from them – instead of knowing everything better.

Paperless, sustainable, time-saving

At METRO, food service distribution used to be a rather bureaucratic, paper-based process – with a clipboard full of documents that had to be signed in triplicate on delivery runs. METRO-NOM has now developed a paperless, digital solution: the driver app simplifies processes for all involved, displays customer-relevant data and makes the process more transparent.

No wonder the solution has met with such a hugely positive response – and not only among users in Germany.

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Edyta Helak self-employed entrepreneur (photo)
Franck Subileau, hotel owner and chef (photo)
Luca Rudilosso, restaurant owner und co-owner (photo)