When it tastes great, we all speak the same language - this is our motto for the 50th anniversary of our company. As while there may be different people, cultures, traditions, religions, languages and, not least, food, everyone agrees when it tastes great: Yum! This is what we at RATIONAL work for every day. This is why we have specialised in hot food preparation. For restaurants, hotels, company canteens, hospitals, schools, supermarkets and all the other places where people cook. Also where they get the best possible support thanks to our partners, specialist dealers and service partners around the world.
This is what turned an idea into a collective round-the-world 'yum!'
Siegfried Meister founded what is now RATIONAL AG in 1973. A company that places particular emphasis on employee management. For 44 years, he led his life’s work to success and remained true to his motto of focusing on customer benefit. The values embodied by Mr Meister are still firmly anchored in the corporate culture today.
Together with the Chairman of the Supervisory Board Walter Kurtz, we look back on the founding years and the work of innovator Siegfried Meister. His spirit still shapes the company to this day.
“Mr Meister was able to motivate and inspire other people,” says the current RATIONAL Supervisory Board Chairman and co-founder of the company.
He had the vision that things could be done much faster and more perfectly in the kitchens of restaurateurs if chefs were given better equipment to prepare their soups, potatoes and schnitzels with.
His mother's duck dish, Siegfried Meister recalled at the time, was so delicious mainly because it was repeatedly basted with the gravy. That’s exactly what he wanted to implement in a cooking system. The result was the invention of the combi-steamer in 1976, which combined hot air and steam, essential for humidity, which could boil, fry, steam and grill.
The original business idea and corporate philosophy of RATIONAL is still as consistent and successful:
concentration on hot food preparation. With the will to continuously improve. And above all with the conviction that in the end it is not turnover, profit and growth that are in the foreground, but customer benefit.
The idea of proving the benefits of the systems directly to the customer, in all senses and without any safety net, has been part of RATIONAL's DNA from the very beginning. Our chefs quickly became the backbone and trademark of RATIONAL.
The service concept was just as important. “The customer is always right, that was Siegfried’s attitude,” says Walter Kurtz.
Meister, the visionary and pilot; Kurtz, the doer and runner. “I think it was precisely because we were so different that we not only complemented each other well professionally, but also appreciated each other personally," says Walter Kurtz, who still comes to the company almost every day. Over the years, they became good friends. They were able to rely on each other almost blindly, and they knew about each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
"Building up RATIONAL was and still is my life's work," says Walter Kurtz at the end of the interview.
Wembley National Stadium - holy ground to the English and home to the Football Association, the “Three Lions”, the UCFB (College of Sports and Event Marketing), show stars like Elton John, Adele, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran and up to 90,000 fans. They all have one thing in common: At some point they get hungry - just like the police, fire brigade, security personnel, press and so on. And they all rely on the delicious food service of Stefan Pappert, Lead Chef 3 Lions for Wembley National Stadium, and his team: fish & chips, pizza, nachos are his fastest selling products. Everything is produced in four SelfCookingCenter 202 units and three VarioCookingCenter 311 units in the main kitchen. The kitchen can send out up to 600 chickens in 12 minutes and 150 litres of creamy lobster soup at the same time in a VarioCookingCenter.
Why RATIONAL? Pappert gives us one good reason: He likes to rely on the efficient use of his staff, on digital solutions like ConnectedCooking, on stainless steel, cooking research - and technical refinements like MyDisplay. This means that the most important dishes can be viewed on the unit display as a picture or icon, the corresponding cooking program is stored. Now just one press of a button and the cooking process runs automatically and according to plan: Steam and heat, not too much, not too little. After all, the 600 chickens ultimately have to all look the same.
But a bigger challenge for Pappert and his team is the fact that football fans don't come for the food, but for the sport and entertainment. So they see themselves as a part of a package: Pappert is all about creating dishes with an element of surprise. Like the hot dogs and nachos that are so long that two people have to carry them.
500 master chefs around the world work for RATIONAL, in daily interaction with our customers, and with their knowledge and experience they form the DNA of the company. In this way, they ensure that our products are geared to customer benefit. Their cooking know-how is the basis for the development of new products. Our film "4 Chefs - 4 Journeys", which was shot in 2014 and won the Silver Award at the Corporate Film Awards in Cannes, shows how this works.
This is what the experts at Euromonitor have to say about how people will be eating in 50 years time. Since 1972, they have been dealing with all questions about the future and researching what moves people in 781 cities and 21 countries. So what’s next for the food industry?