"It's a challenging time," says Heico Beumer, head of catering at DB Gastronomie. DB operates around 90 company restaurants across Germany with up to 26,000 meals sold daily - in normal times, of course. He does not like to bury his head in the sand. The manager talks about the burden of the crisis, home office bags and the run on Christmas parcels.
Mr Beumer, what is the current situation in your company?
Heico Beumer: Even now, all company restaurants are open nationwide, even though many employees are on short-time work or working mobile. While the plants are running almost at full capacity, we are registering very high sales declines at administrative locations. That is bitter. We have therefore reduced the menu in most of our casinos to two menus: regular meals and a vegetarian menu.
What other measures have you taken?
We have significantly reduced the snacks and are trying to counteract this with freshly launched to-go offers. But of course that is not enough. We have therefore newly developed so-called "home office bags" for a special market price. However, we are still in the test phase.
What's in a home office bag like this?
For this offer we produce stews, soups and pasta dishes, i.e. dishes that are particularly suitable for this purpose. In addition to lunch, the bag also contains fruit and treats such as delicious muffins for the cappuccino in the afternoon. Our aim is to provide our home office staff with culinary delights throughout the day. Our offer is mainly aimed at single households, but of course also at all others who cannot find time to cook during the day.
Is the offer being used?
Yes, but there is currently still a hurdle: Employees must first come to the office to pick it up. Of course, only those who have a working day in the office can do this. We have also thought about a delivery service, but this is not economically viable. Things go better with our Christmas gift bags.
What's up with the gift bags?
At present, a large number of online events take place in our Group, usually with 30 to 40 employees. On the one hand, the aim is to convey content and, on the other, to promote community. No easy task with such a format. That's why we have designed Christmas gift bags especially for this purpose, which every participant in such an event gets delivered to his or her home - of course on advance order by the inviting party. On the day of the video conference, everyone unpacks their Christmas bag in front of the camera. This goes down very well and makes for beaming faces and - very important - creates a shared experience. It is also worthwhile for us economically. So far we have received more than 6,000 orders for the Christmas Bags.
How can you imagine a Christmas bag?
The bags have an attractive Christmas look. The customer himself can choose between a sweet and a savoury version. The sweet bag contains for example gingerbread, muffins or chocolate. Not everything is a Christmas article, since you have to pre-order them already at Easter. Due to the Corona crisis, we didn't order that much back then, but the joy is still great among the employees.
Have you come up with any other ideas?
Yes, especially at Christmas we offer DB employees "roast goose to go". Also, because the catering facilities are closed, we have launched this offer for the conurbations such as Frankfurt am Main, the Ruhr area and Berlin. Our guests can pre-order the goose with all side dishes, i.e. dumplings, sauce, red cabbage and chestnuts, and then pick it up on 22 and 23 December. In the meantime we have received more than 250 inquiries. Whether 'Goose 2 go' or Christmas bag - these are all small, scalable projects, which help us economically in the crisis and give us courage for the future.