New signature for Messe Basel's catering

Interview with Frank Wassermann on the merger between Käfer Schweiz and Wassermann & Company

For weeks, the Basel grapevine has been sizzling with rumours about the catering at Messe Basel and the Congress Center. Confirmation came at the beginning of December. There is to be a merger, taking effect on 1 January 2016, between Käfer Schweiz and Wassermann & Company, which is based in Basel. That means that two SMEs, whose relationship with one another up to the present has been characterised by affability and respect, are now joining forces. Business is going to continue in future under the overall leadership of Frank Wassermann, who has built up a first-class reputation for himself in the region through his company. Thanks to Wassermann & Company’s local presence, it is going to be even easier to cover the broad range of congresses, trade fairs and even organised events for the general public. The Käfer company has its home base in Munich. It has been responsible for the catering at Messe Basel for the past four years and will continue to play a part as a shareholder in the business resulting from the merger. The know-how that has been accumulated is to be passed on to the new operator.

Five questions to Frank Wassermann

Wassermann & Company
Frank Wassermann, CEO of Wassermann & Company
Congress Center Basel: Starting in 2016, Wassermann & Company is going to take charge of catering at Messe Basel. Tell us, as concisely as you can, what is in store for our clients?
Frank Wassermann: We want to build further on the really sound foundation that Käfer Schweiz has laid here in Basel. The focus is always on the customer and the quality of the food. We have our roots in Basel and are correspondingly firmly established here.

What is to happen with the employees and their know-how following the merger?
In recent weeks, I have managed to build up a detailed picture of the current personnel. I am fascinated by the motivated crew and their know-how, and I am looking forward to working along with this team. As is usual with a merger, their employment contracts are being taken over and continued.

How can a German survive on the Swiss market and be successful there?
There is only one recipe wherever you are in the world, and its name is integration. I think we stand a better chance of making more out of proximity because we are not the subsidiary of an internationally operating group. I have personally moved to Basel with my family and am making myself at home here. I originally came from Baden-Württemberg and during my decades of activity in Munich, I also initially had to demonstrate what I was capable of despite being an outsider.

Messe Basel is part of an international scene, with buzzwords like Baselworld and Art Basel. Perhaps one size too big?
No, even that register ought not to be out of range for an experienced caterer. Since 1997, in other words since my time in Munich, I can look back on international experience as a managing director. We have arranged countless events with an international impact not only in the Olympia Park, later Arena 1, but also in the Allianz Arena – not just sporting and cultural occasions, but corporate events too.

The starting date in January isn’t far away. What are your targets for the initial months?
Correct. Swissbau is just around the corner, and Baselworld is not far behind it. So, daily business must go on without interruption. Apart from that, I attach great importance to seeing integration thorough properly and fairly for the benefit of our customers and employees too. Let me stress once again: the exhibition and congress business is to continue with the excellent know-how that is already present. On top of that will come the Wassermann signature.