The Gourmet-Taxi – Food a different way
Interview with Volker Risse, idea finder of the Gourmet-Taxi in Sinzig/Ahr
It is lunch time and you are craving something special and different; instead of the usual pizza, this time you want a plate of antipasti. If you live near Sinzig, Germany, you are in luck and can order duck legs or baked goat cheese from the Gourmet-Taxi. Volker Risse and Gerd Höschen make it possible with their gourmet meal delivery service. Five upscale restaurants teamed up for this project, thus throwing down the gauntlet to pizza deliveries. Volker Risse tells us in our interview how this all came to be and why it happened specifically in the sunny Rhineland region of Germany.
How did you come up with the idea to create this kind of delivery service?
For purely selfish reasons! What I mean by this is not the financial success of this project, but providing great food for myself. For many years my partner Ottic (a.k.a. Gerd Höschen) and I pull an all-nighter once a week and intensely and creatively search for new business ideas. At one point or another you get hungry and would like to have some food delivered to your house. And the food we had delivered from the cheap pizza taxis was not tasty, but sometimes even dangerous to your health. So there we are getting together since 2001, have created a list of approximately 200 partly sophisticated, partly bizarre business ideas, but then of all things we actualize one that is so mundanely simple and just happened so casually.
Why did you choose this rather rural region and not one of the larger towns like Cologne or Düsseldorf?
For practical reasons! We live here and know the good restaurants and also their owners. Besides, one does not exclude the other. Right from the start, the plan was to also extend the project to other areas and also to larger towns. We are still looking for an investor for this.
Was it hard to obtain interested restaurant owners for this kind of cooperation?
Not at all. And the reason for this is to a lesser extent that we personally knew the restaurant owners. The reason is that there is virtually no risk for the restaurants. Our commission is generated per order. If there are no orders, the restaurants also don’t incur any costs. This excludes advertising costs for the print and distribution of the menus, though this amounts to less than 500 Euros per restaurant. The advertising effect is quite bigger than any other adverts that the restaurants also usually distribute. After all, the editorial publicity, the television news coverage on our Gourmet-Taxi project on the SWR channel and the menus that were distributed to 60,000 households, also lure many guests straight into the restaurants, alternatively to ordering food to be delivered to one’s home.
What does your regular clientele look like? And to which customers do the menus of these restaurants appeal to?
Our customers are in the following ranking order: 1. Middle-class family that are no longer in the mood to cook something or go out on a Friday night after a hard week of work. 2. Well off senior citizens, some of them single, who are not able or do not want to cook for themselves and don’t want to eat “Meals on wheels“ every day of the week, but would rather like to choose something culinary exquisite from an extensive menu(!) instead. 3. Corporate clients for their weekly brunch that includes a brainstorming session with their associates. These are almost exclusively customers that order at noon. 4. Catering and party service. Many customers book our restaurants for their family events, birthday etc.
What is the “top seller“ among your orders: the candlelight dinner or instead the tapas from the Spanish restaurant?
Both items you mention are bestsellers! But to be honest, the traditional German cuisine and the grill platter from the Wendelinusstube in Koisdorf are just as much top sellers as an assortment of tapas from the Spanish restaurant.
Are you in touch with or have information on similar services in other cities or areas in Germany?
No we don’t, because we are the only ones doing this. As far as we know there is no comparable service to ours in Germany, which works with this concept and teams up several ”normal" established restaurants.
In times of skinny wallets has this type of service a chance of survival?
But the wallets aren’t really skinny. Perhaps these days our business idea would not do so well in Greece or Portugal, but here in Germany there are enough people who “live like God in Germany” as the German proverb goes, and who can also afford it and want to treat themselves.
Ingrid Spicker, InterMopro.de