The Mentors

Mario C. Bauer

Serial Entrepreneur, Investor, Coach & Franchising Expert

Mario C. Bauer, the “Teddy-Bear”, boasts nearly a decade of executive experience at Vapiano, spearheading international growth and partnerships. Under his leadership, over 200 restaurants were established across 33 countries, culminating in a successful IPO valued at €680 million. In 2020, Mario led the acquisition of Vapiano.

As the co-founder of Whites Space Partners, a boutique strategy consultancy, Mario advises on international growth strategies. Besides that, he holds board & advisory positions in various companies as well as for European Food Service Summit and MAPIC. He has also founded and sold multiple successful startups, including Bagel Station, Papernomad, and Curtice Brothers.

Mario's latest venture is the podcast and community platform "From Doubt to Drive, Entrepreneurs only," an extension of his decade-long coaching career, guiding entrepreneurs through challenging situations. Mario has a true international mindset and is constantly traveling around the world, currently around Asia with his wife Natalia and his spoiled French Bulldog “Curtice”.

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Florian Schneider

Entrepreneur, Leader, Innovator

Florian Schneider is not just a mere entrepreneur; he is a dynamic force driving innovation and growth in the foodservice industry. With a diverse background encompassing marketing, journalism, and literature, Florian's entrepreneurial journey began with the establishment of his own media agency during his studies. 

Florian's tenure in Vapiano saw him spearheading the expansion of Vapiano across continents, eventually taking on pivotal roles such as franchisor and director of operations. In 2018, Florian embarked on a new challenge as the Managing Director of Sticks'n'Sushi in Germany, tasked with catapulting the renowned Danish sushi brand into the German-speaking market. Florian has co-founded Dr. Oetker Hospitality as well as pushing bounadries with other ventures.

A strategic thinker and adept problem-solver, Florian's leadership is characterized by a hands-on approach, driving successful operations and motivating teams to achieve unparalleled heights. With a relentless drive and unwavering vision, Florian Schneider epitomizes the spirit of entrepreneurship, reshaping the culinary landscape one venture at a time.

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"Any conversation with Mario is high energy, high insight, high positivity. He is genuinely committed to the growth of others, going out of his way to mentor those around him and provide hands-on support through his super-connector-network."

Jan Wilmking

Investor and Advisor

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"Working with Mario has been inspiring. He's turned big ideas into reality, from expanding Vapiano globally to starting his own consultancy with big-name clients. What sets Mario apart is not just his knack for business but his heart. Growing up in his family's restaurant, he learned early on that success is about bringing people together over what matters most: love and good food."

Benjamin Calleja

Founder & CXO at Livit Design
Serial Entrepreneur

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"As someone who has been there and done it himself, Mario's insights on accelerating business growth are truly invaluable. He brings a really fresh perspective to problems, and encourages ambitious and outside the box thinking."

Ella Harland

Co-Founder and Co-CEO GRIDDLE | B Corp™