METRO GROUP takes a share in an online job matching service for restaurants, hotels and caterers

  • A strategic partnership with the start-up Culinary Agents
  • Market niche for the recruitment of qualified personnel to restaurants, hotels and caterers
  • Online job network expanding into France and Italy

METRO GROUP is expanding its commitment to the start-up sector, taking a share in the American online professional networking site Culinary Agents. The young company has specialised itself in job matching, networking, and mentoring for food service and hotel professionals and, in cooperation with METRO Cash & Carry, will offer its services for the first time this year in France and Italy. As a shareholder in the start-up, METRO GROUP will support its continuing expansion in the US, as well as growth into Europe and Asia.

With its stake in the online job network Culinary Agents, METRO Cash & Carry will offer its most important customer group of hotel, restaurant and catering professionals (HoReCa) an additional service for their everyday success in business. With more than 40,000 registered users in the United States, Culinary Agents has already shown that it occupies a market niche in the food, beverage and hospitality industry. Together with METRO Cash & Carry, the global leader in self-service wholesale, Culinary Agents will kick off its own job networks in Italy and France this year. "The services offered by Culinary Agents greatly enrich our professional customers' business. With Culinary Agents, we can facilitate their search for qualified personnel, which presents a serious problem for many entrepreneurs - especially in the hospitality industry," said Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG and CEO of METRO Cash & Carry. "We are happy to have found an especially promising partner in Culinary Agents and will closely accompany the start-up in its growth. Our commitment once again shows that we understand and support our customers as independent businesses."

"METRO is showing itself to be a true thought leader by working with Culinary Agents to expand our reach to its customers, employees, and overall HoReCa community," said Alice Cheng, founder of Culinary Agents. "Our mission is to help people across the restaurant, hotel, catering and overall hospitality sectors with talent sourcing, job matching, and professional networking. METRO sees the value of providing the much needed assistance in these areas, which have historically been major pain points for the industries we serve. This partnership will enable us to build a global network to help talent and businesses across the HoReCa space."

The continual search for qualified and reliable employees is a significant issue for many food service and hotel professionals worldwide. Around 80 per cent of self-employed German food service and hotel managers find it increasingly difficult to find good staff - a serious hurdle for their independence, as the METRO Start-Up Study 2014 showed. The European market presents a similar picture. Culinary Agents, which Cheng founded in 2012, offers technology based solutions focused on job matching, career development and mentorship in the HoReCa industry.

Culinary Agents' technology and services are a cost-effective way to source all levels of positions for various types of hospitality businesses. Unlike other job sites, which are often static, Culinary Agents has an automatic matching process, which tees up opportunities to talent and talent to businesses, along with tools to support applicant matching, messaging, and management.

The partnership with METRO Cash & Carry will also enable Culinary Agents to grow in Europe and Asia. This year, new Culinary Agents networks in France and Italy will create a starting point for this growth. METRO Cash & Carry is intensively supporting market entry in both countries. In order to foster growth over the long term, METRO GROUP, together with the two investors RRE Ventures and Female Founders Fund, will be partners in the start-up.

 

METRO GROUP is one of the most important international trading companies. In the financial year 2013/14, it generated sales of about €63 billion. The company operates around 2,200 stores in 30 countries and has a headcount of around 250,000 employees. The performance of METRO GROUP is based on the strength of its sales brands that operate independently in their respective market segments: METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry - the international leader in self-service wholesale -, Media Markt and Saturn - the European market leader in consumer electronics retailing - Real hypermarkets and Galeria Kaufhof department stores.

Culinary Agents is changing the hotel, restaurant and catering industry (HoReCa), through its development of a professional networking and job matching website for current and aspiring HoReCa professionals. With more than 40,000 users in 30+ cities across the U.S., Culinary Agents supports all types of food service establishments, catering businesses, specialty retail stores, and hotels, as well as schools and non-profit organizations in the HoReCa industry. The strength of Culinary Agents' platform is in its technology and reach. Through its website, Culinary Agents provides businesses with an efficient, cost effective way to source HoReCa talent for jobs of all levels, while enabling job seekers to represent themselves professionally, pinpoint appropriate job opportunities, and find resources to help fuel their careers. For more information, please visit www.culinaryagents.com