SAP Serves Up the Big Picture at Sansibar

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Nicknamed the “King of Sylt,” legendary restaurateur Herbert Seckler owns the Sansibar, a restaurant on Germany’s northernmost island. A master of the art of ensuring culinary and service excellence, he feels less at home in the office. But now, thanks to SAP, Seckler can get a glance of how his business is performing with just a touch of a button.

The restaurant Sansibar on the German island of Sylt


When Seckler opened his beach kiosk in the Sylt village of Rantum four decades ago, its annual revenues were equivalent to €80,000 a year. But due to Seckler’s dedicated customer focus and entrepreneurial acumen, the kiosk has grown into a thriving business enterprise comprised of a restaurant, a wine retail business, and a high-end fashion brand – all recognizable by the company’s crossed-saber logo that most famously symbolizes Sylt’s “island feeling.” The company also operates Sansibar stores on Sylt and mainland Germany and is involved in other cooperation projects.

“Today, if my daily revenues are less than €80,000, then business is very bad,” says Seckler, whose company employs more than 200 people. “I’ve never had an elaborate strategy, but even so, the business has expanded enormously in recent years.”

This expansion put a crushing strain on the company’s IT system. “Our database and processes had reached their limits,” says Seckler.

From Kiosk to SME

If a customer ordered wine that was out of stock, that crucial information was not passed on until it was too late to react. So, for example, if a cruise ship placed an order for several thousand bottles of wine, the order could not be fulfilled 100 percent. There were also cases of unpaid invoices not being collected.

Sansibar’s crossed-saber logo most famously symbolizes Sylt’s “island feeling”


Something had to change. Sansibar’s business operations had long since extended beyond the island of Sylt. The former beach kiosk was now a midsize restaurant and retail enterprise.

The New Digital Heart of the Intelligent Enterprise

Today, Sansibar – a firm favorite among celebrities and tourists alike – has embraced the omnichannel experience. With the help of SAP partner Sycor, it is using state-of-the-art solutions from SAP, including the SAP for Retail solution portfolio, the SAP HANA platform, and a web shop built on the SAP Commerce Cloud solution with integrated add-on solutions.

“When an order is placed, you need all the impacted processes to be integrated,” explains Seckler, who can now refer to a specially developed digital management dashboard to see how revenues, personnel costs, and profits are developing. The management dashboard is an essential tool for 66-year-old Seckler. “It’s now rare that I have to spend as much as half an hour per day in the office because I’ve got everything I need on a screen at the touch of a button,” he explains.

In keeping with the concept of the Intelligent Enterprise, end-to-end processes provide transparency on business trends, track inventory levels, create customer-specific offers, and generate payment reminders automatically. Repeat orders can also be processed automatically. Even products with long delivery times can be ordered in good time, and the figures can be available on the dashboard quickly and more accurately than before. In short, Sansibar now has a digital platform on which to make intelligent decisions in real time.

Practical Add-On Tools

Special solutions, such as the management dashboard, run on SAP for Retail, which is in turn integrated with SAP Commerce Cloud. Sansibar is also using other IT tools developed in collaboration with the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam, Germany. A reservation tool gives Sansibar personnel a complete view of customers, including their history, and proposes their favorite table, food, and wine. A call center customer identification tool identifies customers immediately to provide them with first-class service.

SAP: A Long-Term Choice

Seckler describes SAP as a “long-term choice” that gives him the certainty of being able to pass his business onto the next generation one day.

“For me, IT is a closed book, but we’ve already benefited a great deal from it,” he says – especially considering Sansibar’s delivery reliability rate of close to 100 percent.

That in itself is reason for Seckler to feel confident that he will pass on a healthy recipe for business success when he retires.

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