The idea that saved the day: Frosty Pizza à la Roberto

Cologne 2020: When Robert Germer opens his Italien restaurant, the coronavirus pandemic kicks in and lockdowns are ruining his sales. But the restaurant founder comes up with an idea: He sells restaurant-quality frozen pizza. Business is booming. What is the pizza pioneer's secret to success?

Frosty Pizza: frozen pizza in restaurant quality
Cologne gastro founder Robert Germer has an idea that becomes a hit: He produces top-quality frozen pizza. 
Robert Germer produces top quality frozen pizza.

What´s it all about?

  • Gastro start-up during Corona 
  • The sales idea: top-quality frozen pizza
  • The man behind it: Robert Germer

The desire to open his own restaurant had been buzzing around in Robert Germer's head for some time. "I'm like a brewery horse, always running forward and getting things done," he says. In 2020, the time had finally come: the trained media economist retired from the operational business of his advertising agency and founded the "Ristorante alla Pappa" in Cologne's Südstadt district together with his agency partner. The problem: the coronavirus pandemic began, but the rental contracts for the restaurant had already been signed. What now? 

"We had to come up with something," says Robert Germer. He used the pasta blast chiller to produce the first frozen pizza. "At first, I had no idea about anything, but I just kept going and learnt how to produce really good frozen pizza," says the 46-year-old. "Flavour is crucial to success, which is why we only use high-quality ingredients and let the dough rise for 48 hours, just like in a good pizzeria." The dough is rolled out by hand, freshly topped, baked in a stone oven and frozen - and the Frosty Pizza is ready. 

Marketing is part of the pizza trade

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, the pizzasproved to be extremely popular, both with walk-in customers at the counter as well as  local supermarkets. The transparent packaging also contributed to this. "The look tempts you to try it," says Robert Germer. Good marketing is the be-all and end-all for him, especially on social media, where he promotes his product. "We don't want to be an anonymous brand, we want to give pizza a face, with humour and self-irony." The latter is reflected in the name of his pizza start-up, which he founded in 2023: Roberto di Frosty

The company is growing rapidly and wants to tap into gastronomy professionals as a new customer group. Robert Germer sees his Frosty Pizza as a problem solver for the shortage of  skilled workers in the gastronomy sector. "It's very difficult to find good pizza chefs these days," he says. "With our convenience product, you save on labour and production costs and achieve consistently high restaurant quality." The doer from Cologne also has a solution for customers who want to top their Frosty Pizza themselves: the dough is available to buy separately for everyone’s own creations. We can look forward to further ideas à la Roberto, because the brewery horse just keeps going and going and going. 

Pizza coup at the trade fair stand

Robert Germer achieves a masterpiece at INTERGASTRA 2024 in Stuttgart: "I simply walked to the METRO stand at the trade fair with my baked frozen pizza," he explains. "I cheekily chatted on Tim Raue from the side and offered him a slice of pizza." At first, the Michelin-starred chef hesitates, but then he tries the product - and is full of praise. The smartphone video of the encounter at the trade fair stand goes viral on social media the next day. And the success starts rolling: Within three weeks, METRO adds the pizza to its range nationwide and without additional cardboard packaging for the first time. METRO currently offers three types of the pizza. Bulk packs of up to six pizzas per box and 112-packs of various snack pizzas are also planned. Robert Germer is delighted: "METRO has moved faster than I have ever seen from any other large company." METRO has been part of his everyday life since childhood. "Even back then, I used to go shopping with my parents at the wholesale centre."
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