Written by:
Jordan Helps

Revoco Talks (DE)…Revolutionising hospitality ops with Flowtify’s Daniel Vollmer

Welcome to the first instalment of our Revoco Talks DE Q&A series – where we’ll be catching up with some of the brightest minds in the German tech scene.

Our first instalment sees us joined by Flowtify’s Daniel Vollmer.

Founded in 2015 by Daniel, Gabriel and Parshin, Flowtify is the tech that is revolutionising hospitality hygiene standards, operations and food safety across Europe.

Since their launch, Flowitify has received significant investment that has enabled them to drive the business further. They’ve now grown to a team of 12 with a customer base in Austria, Canada, Germany, Romania, Switzerland and Singapore.

Together with the internationally-renowned German TÜV SÜD test institute and with GIATA, the global market leader for hotel information we developed the staysafe® label as the first international self-assessment for hygiene checks in hotels.

Here Daniel tells us more about his interesting career path, how Flowtify came about and how they’ve been supporting businesses in fighting the spread of Coronavirus. Read it below…

Can you tell us more about your career and background prior to founding Flowtify?

Right after high school, I started to do an internship in the film industry. After a few years, I became a first assistant film director which was great fun, but after some 10 years, it became kind of boring to be very honest.

So, it was time for a change… despite the fact that I had no idea about how to run a restaurant, I decided to open a daytime Café and a Japanese style DJ-Club at the same time…

Can you tell us more about Flowtify and how the idea came about?

When I was assistant director, I was used to managing teams of 50 people on a daily basis just by using “checklists”. I had checklists for every department to make sure that shooting would progress as smooth as possible.

When opening the Café & the Japanese Club I decided that it’s the same as shooting a movie: I have guests (they are the extras) sitting in my Café (a location designed by the production designer) ordering from my menu (drinks & dishes are nothing else than well-selected props) and my employees are my film team (cook, service, cleaning, delivery…).

When running my Café / Club there were no “digital checklists” that could cope with what I needed for food safety as well as operational checks.

I checked all kinds of calendar tools but nothing was suitable for HACCP (HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.) not even for smart operational checklists.

One day I talked about the problem with two of my regular customers in the club, who happened to be software engineers, currently working on a customer app for Vapiano restaurants. The rest is history – by 2015 we decided to found Flowtify and to apply for Metro’s first “Accelerator for Food and Hospitality, powered by Techstars”.

What problems is Flowtify trying to solve?

Today Flowtify focuses on three different types of problems:
• Flowtify HACCP is for daily documentation of hygiene- & operational relevant issues.
• Flowtify IoT connects temperature loggers, C02 sensors, dishwashers, etc. to our platform to show all relevant information in one dashboard/report.
• Flowtify AUDIT is for spot checks like store audits, supplier Audits, and the like.

All modules can be used as stand-alone solutions or in combination to offer the maximum food & operational safety possible. For the local restaurant management, we help to save time and improve transparency. Area or regional managers have access to all relevant data 24/7 and no longer need to check paper lists while being in a restaurant. They can use their time on location for more relevant matters. And the quality assurance department can manage all checklists in no time at all: they can push new checklists in new stores, can update existing checklists in hundreds of stores in a few minutes or pull comparison reports to name just a few benefits of our platform.

How is Flowtify helping to fight the spread of Coronavirus?

At the very beginning of the pandemic, we published Covid-19 relevant checklists for our customers that they could install free of charge. In addition, new customers could use Flowtify free of charge for an extended trial period of three months.

Together with the internationally-renowned German TÜV SÜD test institute and with GIATA, the global market leader for hotel information we developed the staysafe® as the first international industry criteria for hygiene in hotels.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a start-up founder? How did you overcome these?

I think for the past four years our biggest challenge was to raise awareness in Germany for the importance of closely monitored hygiene management. Compared to the UK, Denmark and other countries Germany does not have a publicly visual rating system for restaurant hygiene. Therefore HoReCa businesses (Hotel Restaurant Catering industry) had other priorities when talking about digitization, which leads to sales cycles of up to 24 months and more! With the pandemic awareness for hygiene, checks have obviously changed…

But we also saw that countries like Romania, where we could close 23 Transgourmet C&C markets in no time at all, were much more used to digitization than the German market.

What has been Flowtify’s biggest achievement to date?

The rollout of 400+ German MediaMarkt Saturn consumer electronic stores in 4 weeks. Our distribution partner TÜV SÜD developed a pandemic hygiene store concept in April this year and all 427 stores were live 4 weeks later! It was really satisfying to see how easy it is to set up checklists, accounts, etc. and to train the staff in just four weeks.

MediaMarkt Saturn Austria followed a few months late with an additional 50 stores. To see that even non-food related businesses can benefit from our technology was a very good experience.

What do you like most about being based in NRW?

Well, coming from Cologne, I would say the diversity and open-minded mentality.

Cologne is a perfect hub to get almost everywhere in no time at all in Germany and Europe. I think Cologne and NRW have things to offer that make the region very attractive. That’s how we can compete with cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Munich. This is of course very helpful for recruiting.

What is next for Flowtify?

Talking about product development we are focusing on more IoT integrations (ovens, mouse traps, ERP systems) and on our latest product the Flowtify AUDIT tool.

In regards to sales, we are currently active in 7 countries, where we happened to grow to with our existing customers. Since our Apps are available in 12 languages we want to explore new markets like UK, Benelux or Eastern Europe to find out where there is the biggest need for our solution.

To do so, we plan a small fundraising round of 800k for early next year!

Want to find out more about Flowtify? Click here to find out more.

Got something to share with the wider tech community in Germany? We’d love to hear from you – get in touch with Jordan here.

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