Andreas Wuerfel, Director of US Strategic Partnerships at METRO and CEO of HOSPITALITY.digital Inc., shares how he’s helping a $40 billion multinational restaurant and hospitality wholesaler embrace digital technologies.
Restaurant owners are often strapped for capital and face a high rate of failure. Many owners still rely on analog tools to run their businesses. Given the pressures of the restaurant business, it’s essential to use capital as efficiently as possible. Emerging digital products present an incredible opportunity. Enter Andreas Wuerfel, Director of US Strategic Partnerships at METRO and the CEO of HOSPITALITY.digital Inc., a business unit within METRO. In these roles, he’s helping to drive an initiative within the $40 billion multinational restaurant and hospitality wholesaler to embrace digital technologies.
Restaurants often rely on outdated systems, relying on pen and paper and cultivating in-person relationships. As in many other industries, digital presents incredible new opportunities, and Andreas is making it happen. METRO is working to help their 21 million customers use digital products to better serve their guests by partnering with startups through a bi-annual start up accelerator and a pilot program that connects restauranteurs throughout Europe to startups.
The accelerator program is a 3-month bootcamp run out of Berlin, where startups are introduced to investors and customers, business development opportunities, and expert mentors. Startups also benefit from structured piloting opportunities, whereby they get the opportunity to test out their ideas with restaurants throughout Europe.
The onus is on Andreas to show that the innovation team’s time is being well spent. Andreas is supporting METRO teams to help find the most impactful solutions and to ensure that customers fully understand the opportunity of using the new technologies. All three parties—METRO, the startups, and the restaurants—have to be aligned.
Moving forward, METRO will be able to analyze two-and-a-half years worth of data on the digital solutions programming the company has created. Buoyed by the success of the program so far, Andreas is excited to see it all scale to the next level.
You’ll learn a lot from this episode about corporate accelerators and partnering with startups.
Here are the highlights:
- How digital technologies are reshaping the restaurant and hospitality industries (8:16)
- Andreas’s approach to partnering with start ups (13:19)
- How Andreas gets teams on board with new ideas (16:17)
- How digital innovation will impact METRO over the long term (18:31)