The history of Menigo’s strategy work

The quest for the perfect food experience.

In 2016, when Swedish food service provider Menigo was acquired by the global foodservice leader Sysco, it gave Menigo’s CEO, Jonas Köhler, a lot to think about: “With new owners, how will that influence and affect our company identity?”

Jonas Köhler
Photograph by Magnus Skoglöf

“On the flight back from Sysco’s headquarters in Houston, I realized that Menigo had to clarify, and maybe even redefine, its identity. Who are we and what are the core values that we are committed to? In order to take the next step of our journey to strengthen our market position, it was essential to find answers to these strategic questions.”

Jonas Köhler
CEO Menigo

The situation

Back home again, Menigo’s management team and Jonas shared their ideas and thoughts:

We agreed that identifying our company soul and core values was a top priority project, so we commenced work to address these issues and made sure to involve the staff from the very start.

“It was of the outmost importance to channel the new strategy work through our business area managers and directly to the staff, thus including, involving and engaging everybody in the process. Otherwise, we ran the risk of developing a meaningless document with little or no relevance to our reality.”

Jonas Köhler

“Working with these issues, we realized that the core values identified by Menigo were also clearly in line with the core values of our new owner.”

Jonas Köhler

After a number of workshops, where the majority of Menigo’s 1,500 employees contributed with their thoughts and ideas, they eventually managed to identify and embrace Menigo’s new core values – Teamwork, Inclusiveness, Excellence, Integrity and Responsibility.

Once Menigo’s values were established, the next step was to implement them in the daily operations. This called for further hard work, and Menigo decided to approach and include external competences.

“A member of our management team had in a previous assignment been in contact with PwC’s Strategy& and was impressed with their strategy models.”

Jonas Köhler

How we helped

Strategy& has developed five strategic acts aimed at closing the gap between strategy and execution. The five acts are called Strategy that Works:

  1. Commit to an identity: Companies that connect strategy with execution make clear choices about who they are, and stick to them over time. Companies win by making choices about who they are. They define and develop a value prop­osition that sets them apart.
  2. Translate the strategic into the everyday: Winning companies create a blueprint that defines their most distinctive capabilities. They build and refine them, and then bring them to scale across the enterprise.
  3. Put your culture to work: Culture can reinforce strategy — or undermine it. At companies where strategy doesn’t connect to execution, executives complain about culture. They say employees reject strategy and resist change. But winning companies view their culture as their greatest asset.
  4. Cut cost to grow stronger: When it’s time to cut costs, leading companies don’t slash and burn. They don’t treat costs as something separate from strategy. Their cost cutting is a form of strategy. They redi­rect money from things that aren’t strategic to fund the things that are.
  5. Shape your future: Over time, focusing on what they do best allows the best-performing companies to develop capabilities that go beyond their original goals. They don’t complain about the state of their industry — they reshape it.

Strategy that Works

As far as Menigo was concerned, the first two acts were also the most urgent. Strategy& assisted Menigo in identifying two unique market positions (ways to play), solutions provider and experience provider, both with 100% customer focus, and both which Menigo's employees could relate to regardless of role, rank or business area. In addition, operational excellence was implemented as a solid foundation for the strategic framework to rest upon.

Results

The Strategy& team started their work in 2017. Initially, the team performed an analysis of current and future industry trends that might influence and affect Menigo’s operations and business model. Strategy& also analyzed the capabilities that Menigo possessed, including their competitive strengths.

Among other activities, the team conducted customer surveys, aiming to identify how Menigo was perceived by its customers. Furthermore, workshops were carried out within Menigo’s management team, in order to secure that the strategy work was effectively implemented in all business areas, and that the whole company could rally around a common vision and goal.

With eight different locations throughout Sweden and headquarter in Stockholm, Menigo is a major full food service supplier, serving restaurants, schools and hospitals and food professionals with a complete range of food services, including fresh produce.

“Menigo has operations in a large number of areas, and our roots stem from various different companies acquired over the years. We grow organically, but also through acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships. Therefore, for us it is more important than ever to aim for ONE corporate culture, ONE strategy and ONE goal, and to continuously strengthen our identity.

We are a food provider committed to give our customers a total food experience. Driven by passion, our goal is to be market leader in an industry that is undergoing a huge transformation caused by digitization and new consumer habits.”

Jonas Köhler

“Our new strategy has to be 100% aligned to our customers’ needs and reality. We see new trends and new habits – such as organic food and sustainable solutions. How can we become more relevant to our customers’ customers, i.e the visitors who frequent the restaurants and cafés we supply with food services? How can we cater to restaurants’ needs and make them flourish in a cut throat competitive surrounding?

A considerable amount of our business is aimed towards Sweden’s public sector, this is a commitment that comes with a huge responsibility; how can we constantly improve our services and contribute to a better society by offering great, healthy and nutritious food at schools and hospitals? These questions are what keep us going at Menigo, and the main reason why our strategy work is so important.”

Jonas Köhler

The implementation of Menigo’s strategy work is estimated to be finalized within three years. In parallel, management has established an ambitious growth plan, with the aim of almost tripling sales by 2022.

Menigo key figures
Sales: SEK 6.2bn
Number of customers: 15,000 in Sweden
Number of products: 34,000 items within food, beverages, non-food items and equipment
Number of employees: approx. 1,250

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