Similar to many colleagues, specialized catering supplier Ercan Duruöz of Elele GmbH had to absorb tough sales losses during the pandemic. However, the Essen-based fruit wholesaler made a virtue out of necessity and, together with his nephew, set up a stand sales business called Elele Express, which has since become an independent operation. After Corona, Duruöz decided on a comprehensive restructuring of his catering service: A modern, sustainable cutting operation for vegetables, salads as well as fruit was created in the new hall.
Ercan Duruöz shows a modern washing line
At the height of the Corona crisis, Elele GmbH's management suffered a slump in sales of up to 90 percent, Duruöz says, looking back. "I was forced to put everyone on short-time work and drove around with only two cars to supply the remaining customers. In addition, I had to dispose of a lot of merchandise, as we always coordinate quantity take-off programs with our suppliers in advance. By the luck of the draw, however, many also showed understanding, which is why we were able to make some arrangements."
Insight into the production hall. Depending on customer requirements, the raw material is processed either by machine or by hand.
Although the restaurant and hotel industries have largely recovered, the after-effects of the pandemic are still pervasive, Duruöz continues. "The prices of many products are at an all-time high, plus the high freight and logistics costs. Normally, prices are always 30-40 percent higher in winter compared to summer. Then, starting in the spring, they usually go down more rapidly. This year, however, I strongly expect prices to remain high and stable through the summer."
Expanding convenience production
From a longer-term perspective, Duruöz said the crisis has also left deep scars. "Many restaurateurs are now only open in the evenings, which is why we have also been forced to shift our delivery times. In addition, many have lost part of their workforce and now have to get by with fewer staff. We are now responding to these needs by investing in modern plant technology for our convenience production. As a result, we now offer our customers not only peeled vegetables but also ready-made salads that can be put together individually as desired. This service does involve considerably more work, but at the same time, it is also an interesting, unique selling point."
Elele GmbH has invested heavily in modern plant technology.
About 80 percent of the cut goods are vegetables and salad products, and the company also processes fruit, such as peeled apples. Duruöz: "Quality is also crucial in this area, which is why we only process Class I goods. So there are no quality differences between our riser goods and convenience products." The processing division's growth to date has already been promising, and further growth potential is certainly available, according to Duruöz. "We pay special attention in processing to ensure that there is little waste. When the chef cuts his own vegetables, a lot of net weight is usually lost. Because we cut very precisely, we can guarantee the customer an exact net weight, which is why they can calculate their purchase quantity even more accurately."
Convenience goods made in-house.
Want to find out more about the Essen fresh food center? Click here for the picture gallery of our wholesale market visit in March 2023.
For more informationen:
Obst & Gemüse Gastroservice
Tel.: 02 01 – 34 32 28
Fax: 02 01 – 33 36 54