January 21, 2020

Rohlik wants to ring German doorbells

Rohlik-CEO Tomáš Čupr (photo: Rohlik)
CEO Tomáš Čupr: Is determined to make Rohlik an international brand (photo: Rohlik)
Rohlik.cz is already the leading home delivery company for food in its native Czech Republic. The online start-up now intends to honk its horn in Germany within the next three to five years. "It's my primary objective," says CEO and co-founder Tomáš Čupr.

Rohlik has just kick-started international expansion in neighbouring Hungary and will press the ignition button in both Vienna and Bucharest later this year. Čupr sees both range selection and delivery speed as the company's USP, especially when competing with bricks & mortar retailers who try to run online shops.

Rohlik is currently active in nine Czech cities where it can deliver within a timeframe of just two hours. Even in distant Budapest, where international retail giants like Tesco, Auchan or Spar deliver the next day, the pure player says it can get the job done in three hours.

It's one thing to be quick, but it's a completely different thing to be both fast and profitable. So how do these Czechs make their dough?


"We've developed our own IT system, which makes for highly efficient planning when it comes to the last mile," says Čupr. Rohlik was only launched in 2014, but its balance sheet for 2018/19 reveals that net revenues have already hit the €100m mark.

Screenshot of Rohlik's web shop in the Czech Republik (photo: screenshot)
Screenshot of Rohlik's web shop in the Czech Republik
This is far more impressive than one might think at first blush. We estimate that even mighty Tesco only makes around €35m in annual online sales in the Czech Republic where there are a mere eleven million inhabitants. More significantly, a small profit was recorded for the first time last year; so the company is now in the black.

Rohlik is anything if not ambitious and wants to hike sales by 80 per cent to 4.5bn Czech Krona or nearly €180m this year. "We are quite obviously an IT company that's learned to do retail," says Čupr.

Rohlik carries more than 8,000 lines, including fruit & veg. It also works with numerous regional suppliers as well as local bakeries and butchers. The company prides itself on its user-friendliness. Customers can choose from hundreds of different recipes on its site where ingredients can be moved to the shopping cart in just a few clicks.

Rohlik in Hungary (photo: screenshot)
Rohlik in Hungary (photo: screenshot)
The online retailer is quick to react to new trends. "We were the first to delist battery eggs, for example," says Čupr. Rohlik also offers "an uncomplicated money-back guarantee", should customers not be satisified with the quality of the products.

The company has just diversified into B2B via its 'Rohlik Fresh Partner' programme. The new service delivers fresh produce to corporate customers and has just begun to install chilled pick-up points in Prague office buildings.

So who's financing all this? According to an official announcement at the end of April, 2019, Tomáš Čupr holds more than 70 per cent in the company via his investment firm Rohlik cz Investment a.s. If Amazon stays out of the Czech Republic, this young entrepreneur will soon be a very rich surfer in cyberspace...


Podcast microphone (photo: Gerhard Seybert-Fotolia)
(photo: Gerhard Seybert-Fotolia)

Podcast. Click arrow to listen to an audio version of the text:







Lebensmittel Zeitung with its online sisters (photo: LZ)
Lebensmittel Zeitung with its online sisters
Read in German
: 'Rohlik will auch nach Deutschland kommen' by Sebastian Rennack, on page 10 of Lebensmittel Zeitung, no. 3, 17.01.2020

Herr Rennack is a part-time correspondent for our newspaper and is based in Warsaw. He principally covers Central & Eastern Europe, including Russia. He also freelances as a retail analyst and management consultant.



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