In Focus
EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Schnitz co-founder Andrew Dyduk: Customisation is becoming more important to our customers

Apart from their new vegan range, he tells QSR Media that the schntizel chain is exploring mock meat alternatives.

Recognising the undeniable demand for plant-based menu alternatives, Schnitz has recently extended its menu offering, with new menu items featuring vegan and gluten-free options designed to appeal to a diverse range of consumer appetites.

Schnitz’s new vegan items include a vegan schnitzel and vegan parma, a selection of vegan wrap and roll options, with three different vegan cheeses and a mayonnaise.

Leading the charge is Schnitz co-founder and managing director Andrew Dyduk, who detailed to QSR Media the fast casual chain's plan within the vegan space, why the industry needs to look at customisation, and even the possibility of introducing mock meat schnitzel.

QSR Media: Aside from growing demand, what were the other factors that made Schnitz decide that it was finally time to offer some items for the vegan market?
Dyduk: Consumer tastes continue to change with customers far more interested in what they are eating, where the ingredients come from and how their food is prepared. People make these decisions for a number of different reasons (health, sustainability, ethics etc.) and we want to be able to provide suitable meal options for a wide range of tastes.

The shift towards a vegan diet is one of the fastest growing food movements within Australia at the moment, and to cater to this appetite we have introduced a range of new products including our vegan schnitzel, a number of vegan cheeses and a vegan mayonnaise option. Our vegan menu is something we are really proud of as we want to create options that no matter what your dietary requirements, you can visit a Schnitz restaurant and enjoy a tasty meal with friends.

QSR Media: What other spaces within foodservice that Schnitz is looking to explore?
We are seeing a big focus from our visitors on customisation. Customers wanting the ability to have a say and construct their desired meal for a more tailored dining experience isn’t a new thing but it’s becoming more important to our customers. So, we’re wanting to empower them to add, remove and build their own meals as they see fit. Many of our customers are delighted to learn that it’s even an option to customise their meal.

The popularity of customisation as well as the changing tastes of our customers and the lifestyle decisions they are making is a core part of why we rolled out a suite of new menu items nationwide. The new menu includes gluten-free and vegan products, which allow us to widen our customer base and ultimately become more things to more people.

QSR Media: What are some aspects/issues in the industry that you are currently thinking about?
So far, we have received really positive feedback around our new vegan products. Our customers are loving the new options and the variety on our menu. However, there are a few calling for mock meats to become part of the mix too. We are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience and innovate the menu, therefore we’d love to explore our own mock meat schnitzel solution in the
future.

QSR Media: Any particular investments - tech or otherwise - that your brand is doing or will do?
Technology is ever growing and impacting our industry. Whilst not new technology, we’re relaunching our website in July which will allow customers to order online, and skip wait times at store level. We’re also looking at other technology that can further enhance the customer service process like apps enabled with table ordering and kiosks.

QSR Media: What can we expect from the brand before the year ends? What should the industry look forward to?
This year we introduced a strong selection of vegan menu items to go alongside our famous chips, which are also vegan. Next, we’re hoping to explore further flavour combinations in our plated meals, with five new menu items being trialled in select restaurants right now. These plated meals highlight some of the classic flavour combinations we all know and love, coupled with expertly cooked schnitzel. We hope to further introduce them across the network before the year is out.

QSR Media: Where do you see the brand in five years?
What’s next for Schnitz? We’re keeping our ears to the ground to ensure we’re in touch with what customers are really wanting from the dining experience and their much-loved schnitzels. We will continue to solidify our national footprint and gain more awareness amongst our desired audience, whilst also scoping for international expansion, which is exciting – the Schnitz name is trademarked in over 60 countries worldwide so there is lots more to come in this space over the next few years.

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