Food service entrepreneurs: facing challenges head-on
What motivates people to become self-employed in the hotel and food service sector?
Stress, worries, a lack of customers? Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals in the hotel and food service industry are often happy and have a sense of fulfilment. But there are also difficulties and challenges, such as shortages of skilled workers, financial uncertainty and the need to constantly reinvent oneself. How does one overcome these obstacles? What services and possibilities are there to support entrepreneurs and business owners in the food service sector? And how can one continue to excite customers in the long run?
A stylish cupcake café opens up on the corner; one street away, a new craft microbrewery is advertising their home-brewed beer and a start-up is attracting customers online with the promise of “online delivery of freshly prepared organic meals”. Whether hotels, restaurants, cafés or snack bars, the hospitality industry is multifaceted and, along with skilled crafts and retail/wholesale, is one of the three most popular sectors for entrepreneurs in Germany. This is one finding of the METRO Start-up Study published in 2014, a representative survey conducted by METRO Cash & Carry and the German market research company GfK. Perhaps surprisingly, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of food service providers are satisfied or very satisfied with owning their own business. “Being independent and directly experiencing customers’ reactions are key factors in feeling satisfied with self-employment,” explains Dr Dietmar Grichnik, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen. “Seeing that their actions are effective is often more important to entrepreneurs than the prospect of making lots of money fast.” This high level of satisfaction in the food service industry was confirmed by another statistic in the study: nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of study participants would opt for self-employment in the industry again.