When marketer-turned-restaurateur Florian Pfalher developed the concept of Hannah’s Bretzel, a healthy yet quick alternative to the traditional fast food chain, he did so with customers in mind. Inspired by the Whole Foods approach, Florian spent time at the organic grocery store to learn if his idea would resonate with people. And soon enough he found out that it did. Since launching in 2005, Hannah’s Bretzel has grown to five locations across the city, and according to Crain’s, the German native has plans to expand the über sandwich chain beyond Chicago. We reached out to Florian through email. Here, he shares his thoughts on the challenges he’s faced over the years, what it takes to build a strong company, and being prepared for those “what if” scenarios.
Full Disclosure: Hannah’s Bretzel is a program sponsor for Impact Engine’s 2013 class.
What inspired you to start your company?
FP: I was inspired by Whole Foods and the lack of interesting lunch options in the Loop. When I moved from New York to Chicago to join Leo Burnett, I was introduced to the grocer. There was no Whole Foods in New York at the time (1999) so this was a new experience that dramatically impacted my way of looking at business, particularly food and healthy living. marketer and foodie that I am, I became a frequent customer and started to do what any solid marketer : I talked randomly to customers (still the best market research there is) to find out what they were thinking about food, health, and living, and what motivated them to shop there. Based on that information, the idea […]