Lindner Ltd, based at Frankfurt's wholesale market, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The roots of today's company lie in the parental business, which was founded in the early 1950s as a potato trade. It was here that today's managing director Wolfgang Lindner was taught early on what it means to be in a family business, with all its ups and downs. "It also taught me how important it is to have a sustainable set of values to guide you in your daily challenges, such as diligence, credibility and an honest service," he says.
The Lindner management
Since the moment Lindner Ltd was founded in 1981, the company has experienced a steep development as a "start-up company", especially in the early years. On the one hand, this did not go unnoticed by its competitors, and on the other, each new stage of development has required its challenges in adapting internal structures, Lindner explains. "These processes of adjustment were also painful in some cases, especially after the first boom years, but they were unavoidable. We have matured from this and have always prepared ourselves well for further development steps, thus laying the foundations for our current standing."
According to Lindner, the Frankfurt wholesale market will continue to have an important function as a partner and supplier in the near future, especially in the major metropolitan areas (shown here during Freshplaza's visit to the wholesale market in 2019).
Nice growth in the food service sector
The development of Lindner and the fresh food center are inevitably linked. In 2003, during the project of the new wholesale market, the city of Frankfurt, together with most of the retailers, established a joint company with the aim of later making the fresh food center the sole responsibility of the retailers. Lindner: "The retailers are represented on the supervisory board and can thus help determine and shape the company's fate. This contributes to a greater commitment among the dealers to make and maintain the market attractive and viable for customers. We, as part of this company, are also happy to actively assume responsibility on the company's supervisory board."
The company has a state-of-the-art vehicle park
The company has experienced good, satisfactory growth in recent years, particularly in the catering sector, Lindner continues. "Accordingly, the focus of our investments has been in this area, as well as in the development of IT. In addition, we also prefer to steadily develop other fields with product groups that fit into our temperature management. As a partner of the CF Gastro association, we also benefit from a strong purchasing community and are thus well placed to compete."
Stefan Lindner during Freshplaza's 2019 visit.
The trend towards finished, or semi-finished products is basically unbroken, both in the retail trade and in the bulk consumer sector - even if currently reduced due to corona, one observes. "These products generally bypass the wholesale markets. Furthermore, the move away from plastic is unmistakable and also in our industry is also true: for good and sustainable business you need qualified, committed and experienced employees and suppliers. This is where our focus lies. In addition to product quality, this is crucial for the service we have to provide every day in order to be attractive to our customers."
From the family album: Wolfgang Lindner in his younger years at the wholesale market.
Ready for the future
According to Lindner, consolidation, as is particularly visible now in Corona times, will not stop at family businesses either. "The number of medium-sized family businesses will decrease, solely due to the lack of succession plans or the fact that they were tackled too late. Challenging work schedules and the increasing weight of large food companies in the wholesale and retail sectors also contribute to this."
Diana, the well-known Lindner private label.