Opinion

Where Tacos, Burgers, and Doughnuts Meet Wiener schnitzel

For the premium retailer, globalization has brought choice, improved opportunities, and greater influence while simultaneously creating highly competitive markets.

By Peter Pointner

The Austrian restaurant scene is currently blooming as hardly ever before. Young, dynamic restaurateurs are scoring points with new, style-conscious, and tasty concepts. International system catering is also warming to the Alpine republic, however.

At the end of 2014, master franchisee Patrick Marchl opened the first Austrian offshoot of the cult American chain Dunkin’ Donuts on Vienna’s Mariahilfer Straße and caused an acute case of doughnut fever. The number of stores has since grown to three. Marchls medium-term goal is to expand to 25 locations in the next few years.

Next to the palm-sized American doughnuts, the Austrian restaurant scene is currently enthused about another US classic: the burger—in premium quality. Fresh ingredients, perfect staging, sophisticated presentation, and individualized, made-to-order burgers are the motto of the young burger maker LeBurger. LeBurger was founded by the famous Austrian system caterer Thomas Tauber, whose “Tauber Brötchen” is already represented in numerous Viennese shopping centers. The current locations in two Viennese shopping centers are to be just the beginning. LeBurger is expanding and looking for franchisees. “Everything burger” is also the motto of the Austrian brothers Alexander and Jan Oliver Platzl. With the brand Burgerista, the Pizzamann founders are present in selected malls and have even made a daring hop to Germany, so far quite successfully.

Vicky, Clemens, and Roman, in turn, are the founders of Juice Factory. On a trip around the world, the trio suddenly hatched the idea to open the best juice shop on the planet. The concept worked. The offers in three locations in Vienna include the “Iron Lady,” with apple, baby spinach, and pineapple; and the “Sunshine Daddy,” fruit cups with orange, banana, and kiwi. Another fresh, healthy, and urban concept is that of the young restaurateurs of Grünzeug in Graz. Grünzeug serves salads and soups from organic farming and scores points with its own vegan line, perfectly in line with current trends.

Another American food trend, Tex-Mex, is currently also enriching the Austrian market. It provides high-quality, fast-food from Tex-Mex cuisine. Nacho Libre’s founder Heinz Tronigger provides tacos, burritos, bowls, and salads with tasty ingredients in Donauplex near the Donauzentrum and at two other locations. “Max & Benito,” meanwhile, is a sensational new burrito restaurant in Wipplingerstraße in Vienna’s first district. It is run by the two young lawyers Stephan Ronay and Markus Herpich, who imported Tex-Mex cuisine to Vienna after experiencing it during their time in London. Further locations are already planned.

The founder of Vapiano has apparently also fallen for Austria. GinYuu is Kent Hane’s new gastronomy concept. The focus here is on pan-Asian-Pacific cuisine, the fresh and flavorful ingredients of which are intended to provide a stress-free feeling. Individual help from so-called “Ginyiis” (GinYuu employees), front cooking, and the “industrial meets Asia” ambiance are meant to reflect pleasure and a zest for life. GinYuu is currently working on its market entry into Austria. The Turkish system chain simit sarayi is doing likewise. It offers Simits, desserts, and other Turkish specialties. Simit Sarayi has more than 400 branches internationally and will probably soon be available in Vienna.

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