‘We were lost for words at first,’ says Stefan Hummel. When the Michelin Guide announced the new winners of its stars in March 2022, Hummel could hardly believe it – Hummels Gourmetstube in the southern German village of Wischenhofen was among them! The restaurant was opened in 2015 as part of Gasthaus Hummel, where traditional Bavarian cooking has been on the menu for 100 years.
The road to the star was gruelling, not least because of the coronavirus crisis. ‘It was a marathon. Our kitchen team is small – just my sous-chef Michi and I, with my wife Stefanie front of house,’ explains the top restaurateur. ‘The staff shortages in rural areas are even worse than in the cities.’ But the Hummels battled through. ‘They breed us tough here in the Upper Palatinate region, and we put all our passion and energy into our efforts to make it into the premier league.’
Gourmet cuisine, Hummel-style
Hummel, self-styled ‘king of the roast dinner’, is inspired by his parents’ regional cooking but also by other influences such as classic French cuisine. He trained at the Roter Hahn in Regensburg, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2021. He has also worked in other Michelin-starred kitchens, including the Falconera on Lake Constance. In Hummels Gourmetstube, the chef serves upmarket cuisine with the ‘Hummel signature’, as he puts it. ‘We are very particular and don’t let anyone tell us what to do. We cook the kind of food we like to eat. Anything that doesn’t taste good to us is out.’ The testers from the Michelin Guide appreciated this and praised the ‘finesse and bags of flavour’.
The foundation of Stefan Hummel’s success was laid by his parents. His father was a farmer and butcher and ran the inn as a sideline. His Zwiebelbraten, a dish of roast beef and onions, is still very popular today. ‘My father had been a customer of METRO Regensburg since the 1980s – everyone knew and liked him,’ says his 41-year-old son. ‘Every Thursday he would go to METRO and buy everything he needed, from the ingredients for the roast dinners to the decorations for the wedding parties.’ As a boy, Stefan Hummel used to accompany his dad and help him to load the shopping into the trailer.
He doesn’t have to spend time and effort loading and unloading the trailer any more, because around 4 years ago Hummel signed up for deliveries, and now receives his orders from Food Service Distribution (FSD). The ordering cycle is always the same: ‘Every Sunday evening we order what we need on the METRO app,’ explains the gourmet chef. ‘With just a few clicks of the mouse, the order is placed and I can turn my thoughts to other things.’ Every Wednesday morning at around 7.30 am, the METRO delivery van rolls into the picturesque mountain village of Wischenhofen (population 200) and delivers the perfectly chilled products.
‘Here in Regensburg we have well over 200 delivery customers in total, and the numbers are skyrocketing,’ says Wilhelm Stadler, manager of METRO Regensburg. Since 2009, the store has offered out-of-store delivery with an FSD product range of around 9,000 food and non-food articles. Wilhelm Stadler has been with METRO for 41 years and knew Stefan Hummel’s father. ‘We love having the Hummels as customers. We have formed a special relationship with the family over the decades.’
... but shopping is an experience for all the senses
Hummel appreciates the deliveries but wouldn’t forgo his trips to the wholesale store. Every Friday, he drives to the METRO wholesale store in Regensburg to pick up additional products fresh for the weekend. He enjoys chatting to the staff about new products, wandering along the aisles and drawing inspiration from what he finds, such as the range of fresh meat and fresh fish.
‘The fish counter is heaven for a gourmet chef,’ Hummel says with delight. ‘I stand at the counter and my mind immediately starts buzzing with new ideas.’ For example, he recently put a langoustine starter on the menu, ‘because the fresh seafood was virtually calling to me’, he says. ‘For me, METRO is like a market hall. Seeing, smelling and tasting is important because it stimulates the creative process.’
Digital solutions help with the business side
Hummel also takes advantage of other METRO services. For example, he has recently been receiving support from one of the METRO restaurant consultants. ‘Cooking well is one thing; running is business well is quite another,’ says the restaurateur. The METRO consultant takes a close look at the business and examines how internal processes could be made more efficient using the digital tools from DISH. ‘On the consultant’s recommendation, we are now using MenuKit, for example, which is software that optimises the use of ingredients in dishes,’ says Hummel. ‘I can calculate important key figures such as the contribution margin of a dish.’ MenuKit uses the latest METRO prices in these calculations, as the tool is linked to the METRO app that Hummel uses to order his products.
‘More and more HoReCa customers are using digital solutions to maximise the potential of their business,’ reports Wilhelm Stadler from METRO Regensburg. He sees the Hummel family as a good example of how well the interplay between delivery, bricks-and-mortar retail and digitalisation works, proving the truth of the motto that ‘more channels means more opportunities’. Stadler has no doubt: ‘METRO’s multichannel concept is the future.’
Multichannel: making good use of all resources
As a multichannel wholesaler, METRO combines a wide network of modern wholesale stores with a comprehensive delivery service (Food Service Distribution, or FSD). Customers can choose between shopping in one of the large wholesale stores and having their orders delivered, and can benefit from the strengths of each channel. At the same time, an online marketplace is being created in more and more countries in the form of METRO MARKETS, which focuses in particular on professional equipment for HoReCa customers. Another element of the multichannel marketing strategy is the digital solutions offering that METRO is continuously expanding.