Interview with Daniel Wiesner, FWG

"Covid-19 provided the necessary boost in demand"

Daniel Wiesner, Co-Managing Director of the Wiesner Group family
Martin Schmitter
Daniel Wiesner, Co-Managing Director of the Wiesner Group family

At FOOD SERVICE Daniel Wiesner gives an insight into his first ghost kitchen in Basel, which opened in March. The employees of the Wiesner Group family cook on 90 square metres on behalf of four private labels. The Swiss company takes care of the delivery itself.

What are the brands behind the ghost kitchen, which has been in operation in Basel since March 2020?
In the ghost kitchen, dishes are prepared for Nooch Asian Kitchen, Negishi Sushi Bar, The Butcher and Poke Nation.

What is your initial conclusion?
During the lockdown, the ghost kitchen has helped us to prepare a very large number of orders very efficiently and to hand them over to the couriers. Since all restaurants have reopened and with the hot weather in summer, demand has dropped sharply again.

How high will demand be when the temperatures drop again?
We expect an average of 220 orders per day for the cooler months. This corresponds to about 500 meals.

Where do you see opportunities?
By having our own kitchens for delivery, we can tailor processes and dishes specifically for delivery, which makes us more efficient and also allows us to deliver better delivery quality. By also having many couriers employed by us, we control the quality all the way to the guest and the guest data remains in our possession.

Familie Wiesner Gastronomie: Ghost kitchen number 1 in Basel

What are the hurdles?
A ghost kitchen needs a certain minimum turnover to be profitable. Depending on the concept, this may be relatively high. To achieve this, you need patience, marketing money and patience to bridge the time of loss. To open a new ghost kitchen or a new virtual concept is therefore not such an easy and fast task as it is always told.

What surprised you?
We practiced with our delivery for a long time and wrote losses for al long time. It wasn't until Covid-19 that the necessary surge in demand came. That's when we saw that delivery, like almost all online business models, is simply a mass business. We originally thought that we were limited by kitchen capacity, as in the restaurant and catering industry. But in delivery, with the different types of ghost kitchen, this is only partially the case and scaling is much easier.

Do you plan for more ghost kitchens to be opened?
There are plans for one ghost kitchen each in Zurich and Berne for October and November. As soon as we have a sufficiently high sales volume in other cities, we will also launch ghost kitchens there. But that is not yet the case for the time being. Switzerland, with its relatively small catchment areas, is somewhat more difficult for this type of business.

About family Wiesner gastronomy
The company, based in Dübendorf, has been active on the Swiss market since the early 1990s. The Wiesner Gastronomie family focuses on Asian, Australian or Latin American concepts at central locations. With currently 32 operations (as of the end of 2019) and almost 740 employees (320, as of the end of 2019), Wiesner Gastronomie is ranked 21st in the top Swiss foodservice ranking for 2019 with annual sales of CHF 68 million.