Gerhard Kohberger on customer service & trust
For over 100 years, the Hamberger company has been the first port of call for Germany’s gastronomes. Gerhard Kohberger knows why. He is a trained chef and has been the Sales Manager here for over 11 years.
Mr. Kohberger, who are your customers? Can you sum them up?
Walk through the aisles here and you’ll bump into snack bar owners and newsstand workers, canteen cooks and restaurant owners, Chefs du Cusine from luxury hotels and star chefs from Alfons Schuhbeck, the Bayerischer Hof or the Schlosshotel Elmau. To sum it up: our selection is interesting for everyone in the food and retail business. Big or small.
Why is it worthwhile for everyone?
On one hand you have our wide range of products that is one-of-a-kind in Germany. You can get everything you need here: one-stop shopping – from the basics to exotic specialties that you would usually have to special order elsewhere. Where else can you find a specialist wholesaler that carries Bavarian, Italian, Mexican, Asian and American specialties all under one roof?
What’s the bottom line?
The competition in the Cash & Carry segment is very tough. If you want to succeed in this business you have to have an outstanding and dependable selection – especially in the price-performance ratio, quality and service.
To what extent is your price-performance ratio outstanding?
Let’s be clear about one thing here: we are not a discounter. That’s why there will be products here that could be found cheaper elsewhere. But if it’s worth it to buy five apples here and three eggs there is another issue. We don’t have any “anomalies”. We are focused on continuity – on fair and stable prices that are customers can depend on for long-term calculations. Our clients can rely on the fact that they get most economical total package from us. And that trust is very important to us.
You sell exclusively to commercial customers. Why?
Sure, there would be a lot of money to be made relatively quickly if we were to let in private customers. But we are specialists for restaurants and the food service industry. Our entire product range has been fine-tuned to meet the needs of gastronomes. And that’s why we are so successful. Most of our field sales reps were once cooks themselves. We get emergency calls from customers all the time – who are standing in their kitchens on a Friday night and urgently need some special ingredient. Now for someone that has experienced this kind of situation as a cook: it goes without saying that quick help is on the way.
Is that part of your service concept?
Absolutely. It’s one of our principles, and not just in emergencies. We’re here to make our customer’s lives easier. That’s why you can take advantage of our delivery service starting at a purchase amount of 500 Euro – which is really very low, even a snack shop owner can ring up that kind of bill quite quickly. And thanks to our streamlined structures we are able to meet special requirements more quickly than others. Most wholesalers have decentralized management structures, which means there is authorization process, orders need to be approved and stamped. Here you know within 48 hours when the product you ordered will be delivered