DCornelius Everke, chef of the battered restaurant chain Vapiano, surprisingly announced his retirement on Sunday at the end of August. A statement from the company cites personal reasons. The contract was terminated "by mutual agreement" on 31 August, it was said.
The fast-growing restaurant chain has been in deep crisis for a long time. With a turnover of around 372 million euros, the company had to accept a loss of 101 million euros in 2018. This was mainly due to high depreciation and higher operating costs in the course of expansion. The debt mountain grew significantly. In the same area – ie excluding the new restaurants – sales fell by one percent.
According to the announcement, Vapiano has not yet found a successor to Everke. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board Vanessa Hall is to temporarily run the company until at least April 2020. The permanent succession should then be sought in a "structured process".
Chiefs of Finance Scharpe is to extend until 2023
At its regular Supervisory Board meeting on Tuesday, the Supervisory Board would like to extend the contract of CFO Lutz Scharpe for another three years until June 2023. In the announcement of Sunday evening, the company emphasizes wanting continuity on the position of CFO.
This seems necessary in view of developments in recent months. Three times in the spring Vapiano had postponed the presentation of the annual accounts and justified this with negotiations for a much needed loan over 30 million euros. Only at the end of May did a binding loan commitment come from the financing banks and the major shareholders. About four weeks later there was only the annual accounts.
Everke admits mistakes in foreign expansion
Vapiano went public in 2017. With the proceeds from the IPO, the chain continued to expand, last year, more than 30 new restaurants were added. Vapiano is now present in 33 states with around 230 restaurants, most of them in Germany. Still-CEO Everke admitted in June mistakes in the growth strategy. "In the past, we have somewhat relocated to overseas expansion," he said.
But the problems are not just abroad. Long queues also caused trouble for customers in Germany. The company wants to tackle this problem from earlier information by changing workflows and simplifying the menu.
49 different dishes were permanently on the menu plus 10 seasonal dishes, and you could choose from eleven different types of pasta. That's too much, especially since the orders make complicated, said Everke in June. For example, you will no longer need an Asian salad in the future. He announced to slim down the menu soon. "We have to go back to the roots, so to the classic, honest Italian cuisine."