Digital Summit Talk

Optimistic about the future

In the dfv Mediengruppe studio: Florian Schneider, Managing Director, Dr. Oetker Hospitality, (left) and Boris Tomic, Editor-in-Chief foodservice.
In the dfv Mediengruppe studio: Florian Schneider, Managing Director, Dr. Oetker Hospitality, (left) and Boris Tomic, Editor-in-Chief foodservice.

Leaders with visions met on the virtual stage of the Digital Summit Talks: Mert Askin, President Food & Beverage of the Azadea Group, broadcasting from Dubai, as well as Florian Schneider, Managing Director, Dr. Oetker Hospitality, live in the studio. Also promising: Prof. Chris Muller's outlook on the programme of the 22nd European Foodservice Summit. Hotel and Gastromedia Editor-in-Chief Boris Tomic led through the one-hour programme.

Rising turnover and guest numbers

"We want to forget 2020. Everything is better now," said Mert Askin, referring to the slump in sales that Middle Eastern restaurateurs also suffered last year due to numerous Covid restrictions. His company, Azadea Group operates 120 locations in 8 countries.


The United Arab Emirates was among the first countries to go into a hard lockdown (March 23, 2020). After 30 days, however, the spook was over, with a return of restaurant operations possible under widely imposed Covid conditions (including reduced seating capacity, time limits, proof of testing or vaccination). The restaurants remained open. Promisingly for the local restaurant industry, too, the UAE is among the countries with the highest Covid vaccination rate in the world.

As an operator of various casual dining brands, the Azeada Group falls into the leisure catering sector, Askin commented on the special challenge of his establishments, which therefore do not take on a catering function: "We are here to give pleasure. At the same time, our business is highly dependent on consumer sentiment." Particularly during the past three to four months, sales have developed significantly positively:"Our results today are above those of 2019." A look at the Sales Track results of the npdgroup shows that the situation on the overall market is developing similarly positively. Guest numbers are also continuously developing positively.

Now all attention is focused on Expo2020 (October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022), which starts in Dubai in a few days. As part of the global marketing campaign, Dubai will be positioned as a "global gastronomy hub".

Taking off with pudding and gugelhupf

Trend-conscious with tradition - that sums up the essence of Dr. Oetker Hospitality Group's new concepts. With pudu pudu and Gugelhupf & Du, the Dr. Oetker subsidiary sent two completely different formats to the start in spring 2021 - by the way, they would have been ready to go in April 2020, but then Corona came and brought the projects to a standstill both in Venice Beach, California, and in Frankfurt am Main.

"We want to be close to the people," Florian Schneider emphasized. Consequently, pudu pudu and Gugelhupf & Du not only rethought traditional products close to the Dr. Oetker range, but also took socio-demographic developments, demand trends and changes in everyday life (keyword: digitalization) into account.

Take Gugelhupf & Du (Frankfurt a.M.), for example: Here, the Gugelhupf is given a new shape in a variety of ways - including fruity cakes and savoury creations such as the bestseller "Gugelhupf Eggs Benedict". The so-called table fairy helps with ordering: a mobile device - available twice on each table - via which guests can call up the menu, place products in the shopping basket and place their order with the kitchen via contactless payment. "If nothing else, this meets the need for guests to be able to leave the café as soon as they've finished."

Trendy pudding product?

pudu pudu in Venic Beach, L.A., is demonstrating how it's done."We want to position pudu pudu alongside frozen yogurt and ice cream vendors," Schneider said. They're succeeding with a product that's absolutely Instagram-worthy. Included in the mix are numerous fruit powders, fresh fruit and edible flowers, among other ingredients, which, when combined with other toppings, conjure up a product that is not only a feast for the eyes, but also contains 30 to 50 percent fewer calories than the alternative desserts mentioned above, according to Schneider.

Where is it currently more difficult to find staff?"In America," Schneider answers when asked by Editor-in-Chief Boris Tomic. Here, people were not used to receiving so much financial support before. The incentive to come back is currently low.

Joining us from America, Dr Chris Muller.
Joining us from America, Dr Chris Muller.

Industry meeting & professionally important

Prof. Chris Muller, co-founder of the European Foodservice Summit, also joined us from America. His appeal: Come to the Summit in Zurich. The programme on 7 and 8 October is packed: the audience can expect political and industry leaders such as Joschka Fischer and Clive Schlee, insights into the latest industry trends and developments, as well as specialist insights on the topics of financing, digitalisation and personnel. Interested parties who have not yet registered can do so here for a short time.