European Food: Mr. Schloyer, trinkkontor Rhein-Ruhr is the leading beverage supplier to the gastronomy sector in the Rhein-Ruhr region. What would you say were the important milestones that secured your company a top position within its sector?
Robert Schloyer: The company as it is today grew out of several smaller companies that were gradually incorporated. The cornerstone was Willi Bongartz GmbH & Co. KG in Aldenhoven, which was the first company in which the Bitburger Brewery Group participated in 2003. This was, by the way, the beginning for Bitburger to become established in beverage wholesale. After Bongartz had merged with Derichs-Marder in 2006, in which Bitburger also had a holding, Carina in Willich, Bacher in Krefeld and Stams in Wesel were taken over, each of them renowned companies within the region. On 1 January 2017, all these companies merged into trinkkontor Rhein-Ruhr GmbH.
European Food: So is expansion a declared objective of your company?
Robert Schloyer: It is important to state that for us, it is not about the random acquisition of any and all market players. With the companies we took over, we made a careful choice. But yes, expansion was necessary to reach a certain size, and it also tallies with the strategic focus of Bitburger Brewery Group aiming at securing its access to the market by acquiring beverage wholesalers. Of course, size alone is not a marker of success, but in our case, it enabled us to reach an excellent market position. Within the region covering the area from the northern Eifel to the southern Münsterland, trinkkontor Rhein-Ruhr is clearly among the market leaders in the sector of gastronomy beverage supply, and also in comparison with other companies in the industry, we have reached a considerable market position and size.
European Food: As you mentioned before, size is important in terms of the market presence that accompanies it, but apart from that, what would you say makes your company stand out from its competitors?
Robert Schloyer: To name but one example: Our success as a gastronomy supplier is surely not least due to the tailored sales promotion programs that we offer our customers each year at no extra cost. This includes all-round support and consulting, from reviewing the gastronomic concept and the location up to the exterior and interior design as well as financing and capital support. With our comprehensive know-how, we help our customers generate a lasting increase in turnover and business success. Of course, all of this costs a lot of money, but we regard it as an investment in the customer’s success, which at the end of the day ensures our own. Another factor that distinguishes us from our competitors is our extraordinarily broad product range including around 1,000 beers and beerrelated items as well as 1,400 non-alcoholic beverages and another 1,100 involving wine, sparkling wine and spirits. This huge assortment is our unique selling point. Also a number of other beverage distributors purchase from us.
European Food: What do you see as a general advantage of your beverage supply to other competitors?
Robert Schloyer: Our company does not depend on one business field or on one target group alone. Our customers, for example, come from the hotel and gastronomy sector with 3,000 outlets in total; moreover, we have about 200 partners in the sector of wholesalers and beverage shops. We supply local retailers, especially REWE, and an additional 160 service stations. We also supply several regional events of all kinds.
European Food: Indeed a great starting point for the future. What about your company’s future plans?
Robert Schloyer: Our goal is qualified, organic growth. Further expansion? Yes, with a view to the western Ruhr area as well as the Bergisches Land region. Our annual volume of beverages sold amounts to 1.2 million hectoliters. This definitely sends the right message – yet, every good thing can still get better!