It’s time to throw your Microwave away! – Kochhaus’ walk-in Cookbook

Las week I wrote about the opportunities and threats the prosumer movement provides to management. Now it’s finally time for the third installment of the prosumer-series! This time I’m going to introduce a company which has successfully incorporated prosumer aspects into its management: Kochhaus.

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Let’s start today’s blog post with a personal confession:

To be honest with you, I am a complete failure when it comes to cooking. I’m not talking about not being able to make the perfect chicken masala; I’m talking about putting something into a microwave and being proud of how it turned out. But I know that I’m not the only one out there.  For all the other incarnations of laziness – our pleas have finally been heard!

Since September 2010 a Berlin Start-up has been cooking its way into the heart of the customers. The name itself, “Kochhaus” (cookhouse), already indicates that the company is focusing its products and services on cooking related activities. As a matter of fact Max Renneberg who is one of the founders described “Kochhaus” as a “walk-in cookbook”. How does this work you might wonder?

“Kochhaus’” key to a successful business is the possibility for customers to buy food in reference to individual recipes. A wide range of different ingredients is showcased on tables and blackboards with names and further information about the products. Apart from that a huge advantage is the fact that customers are able to buy products in small portions. This especially benefits households with just one single consumer such as singles or students. Prices are a bit higher than in discount grocery stores (one garlic clove costs 15 cents), however offering products at the same price as ordinary food stores is not what “Kochhaus” is aiming at. Their target group consists of people who want to have more individuality whether it shows in the amounts or the compilations of ingredients they buy and who are willing to pay more money for that kind of customization.

The Start-up is following an increasing trend which experts call mass customization. Erik Eliason, blogger on the Huffington Post, has an explanation for that development:

Consumers expect it their way. In the era of Facebook stalking and self-aggrandizement, consumers view products as another form of expressing their uniqueness. […]Individuals have long expressed themselves through various forms of media such as the clothing they wear, the car they drive, and the food they eat.

So instead of being forced to buy one pack of tea which contains 30 tea bags, customers are able to purchase just one single tea bag. Why would anyone want to do that, you might wonder. If you ask me the whole prosumer movement really is about customers wanting to express their individuality and their  to mass-produced goods. According to Terry Hughes, author on widality, one social trend is more and more visible:

Consumers trust each other more than they trust advertising or companies.

By enabling customers to individually choose the sizes or amounts they buy they are given more power. Of course not everyone needs the service “Kochhaus” offers, but that is not problem since the company’s success (they have just opened a second “Kochhaus” in Berlin and one in Hamburg) proves that there are enough of those who do appreciate it.

Fellow Blogger stefochka (berlinlcalling) has tried out the concept of “Kochhaus” and has her own opinion on possibility to buy food in small portions:

I think what “Kochhaus” does is really clever since lots of people, especially in Berlin, yearn for more individuality and ecological awareness. People also have less and less time to engage into ecosensitive activities and “Kochhaus” helps them to preserve a semblance of the ecological individualist.

One thing is certain: “Kochhaus” is definitely a refreshing change in the landscape of the discounter and retailer industry. If you’re living in Berlin or staying here for vacation it is worth a visit.

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Still curious? Check out one of the two “Kochhaus” stores in Berlin!

Kochhaus Berlin
Akazienstraße 1
10823 Berlin Schöneberg

tel 030/577 089 100

opening hours:
mo-fr 10-21
sa 9-20
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