"We digitalize in all directions"

Heiner Raschhofer at the FOOD SERVICE Round Table.
Salome Roessler
Heiner Raschhofer at the FOOD SERVICE Round Table.

Salzburg's restaurateur Heiner Raschhofer is one of the digital leaders in the industry. In his 16 establishments (13 MyIndigo in Germany and Austria, 3 Glorious Bastards in his home country), he is resolutely driving the digitalisation process forward - with clear objectives.

This interview was published in the summer issue of foodservice as part of an editorial focus on digitalisation. Read now in the E-Paper (German)

FOOD SERVICE: Where is your company Soulkitchen currently in the digitalisation process?
Heiner Raschhofer: We are right in the middle of it and digitalize in all directions. One of the first things we implemented during the Corona lockdown was the digital menu - accessible via a QR code. At the same time, we completely digitalised the accounting: From billing to time recording to budgeting, everything is recorded digitally. No data has to be touched twice.
In the front end, we are also in the process of implementing various tools such as an app for pre-ordering and mobile payment. At five MyIndigo locations, we have installed two or more order terminals at each of the five locations to enable customers to order contactlessly on site.
Another major goal that we have come very close to achieving in recent weeks is the complete conversion to cashless payment transactions.

What do you expect from the abolition of cash transactions?
By moving away from cash, we are minimizing a large number of potential problems and costs. These include cash manipulation, provision of change, transport security, working hours and deposit fees.

Do the guests support the changeover?
To a very large extent, they do. In many locations we are already 95 percent cashless. But of course we always have to hold up a little back door, such as voucher cards or an emergency cash register at the exit. After all, we don't want to turn away a twelve-year-old student because he or she doesn't have a credit card.

What are your goals regarding digitalization in the back-end?
In the back-end there are numerous fields of application in which we have already switched over. With our latest project, which is very important to me, we are pursuing various goals. In abstract terms, it's about democratizing leadership. By providing all employees with full transparency of the most important key figures of their company - but also of the other companies - via digital tools, we want to involve them in personnel planning. Copy & paste duty rosters are now a thing of the past. We have defined a target value for personnel costs for each company - ambitious, but not completely optimised. If the value falls below the target, we pay the difference to the employees. This motivates everyone to draw up and follow a well thought-out plan.

So in the end it's all about increasing efficiency?
Optimizing business management is one thing, but I'm also interested in making our employees think and help shape the future. The more we make key figures available to our employees, the more they contribute to our goals and strategy. Digitalization alone doesn't help, the right corporate culture is already part of it. Our Group has a total of 16 companies, and we don't want to control them remotely. We want to equip them with the knowledge and data that we have access to and leave the cockpit to them.

Are financial indicators sufficient to get an idea of the state of a business?
No, we always collect qualitative data as well. We call this radar: this is how employee satisfaction is also included. If that goes down, sales follow relatively quickly. In addition, quality controls take place in different ways. We also monitor internal processes: How are tasks completed? If the value is high, then everything else fits. So we try to quickly recognize when things are going in the wrong direction somewhere.