Family Affair: Rise of the Mittelstand


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Founded: 1973
Location: Landsberg a. Lech, Germany
Employees: 1,394

Founded in 1973 by Siegfried Meister, an electrical engineer, Rational's ovens are used in restaurant kitchens all over the world. More than 100 million meals worldwide are cooked daily using the Landsberg am Lech-based company's units, according to its website.

The Rational business philosophy is archetypal 'Mittelstand'. "The… idea was and still is to clearly define a target group, and then to establish a close and intimate relationship with this target group," the company's website states.

This targeting of one sector - the professional catering industry - has helped Rational expand domestically and internationally, with Rational units and products being sold in over 85 different countries around the world.

The company reported a turnover of 461.1 million euros ($583 million) in 2013. For the first half of 2014, the company has reported a turnover of 223.2 million euros.

In 2014 the company announced the development of 'the only cooking system with five senses'.

According to Peter Stadelmann, Chairman and CEO of Rational, the company's success is down to its "dedication within a very narrow field in which we concentrate and specialize. Our highest goal is to help people in professional kitchens to cook."

"We concentrate on the Rational Combi-Steamer technology which we invented in 1973. Growth, sales and profit we see as results – not as objectives. They emerge if we succeed in creating more benefit for our customer."