Wienerwald (restaurant)

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Wienerwald Franchise GmbH
Founded1955; 64 years ago (1955) in Munich, Germany
HeadquartersMunich (Schwabing)
Key people
Daniel Peitzner (CEO)
ServicesFast-food (Hendl, Schnitzel) restaurants franchising
Wienerwald restaurant in Nuremberg, Germany

Wienerwald Franchise GmbH is a German franchise chain of fast-food restaurants with current and/or former stores in Germany, Austria, Turkey, Egypt, Hungary, United Arab Emirates, United States and Romania specializing in Hendl, Schnitzel, and other chicken products. Its name means Vienna Woods.


Founded in 1955 by Linz restaurateur Friedrich Jahn (1923 – 1998) in Munich, Wienerwald rapidly grew to become Europe's largest restaurant chain with more than 1600 restaurants in 1978.

In 1978 Wienerwald purchased the 273-restaurant Lum's chain from the former owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, John Y. Brown, Jr..[1] The chain's inability to market its outlets as providers of chicken (rather than overcoming the US misconception that "Wienerwald" was a wiener chain), plus the huge growth in 1978 brought enormous debts. Many of the restaurants in the USA and Europe had to close, and Wienerwald declared bankruptcy in 1982, divesting itself of its 880 restaurants in the United States.[2]

The chain recovered, but failed to return to its former glory; sales and restaurant numbers declined and many foreign markets were abandoned. One reason for this certainly was the fact that the franchised-restaurant market had changed, with US fast-food giants McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC taking over, and smaller companies finding themselves unable to compete (Wimpy provides another example). In 2003, and again in 2007, Wienerwald filed for bankruptcy again, which resulted in further closures of restaurants and further release of employees.[3][4]

In 2007 Friedrich Jahn's daughters Margot Steinberg and Evelyn Peitzner purchased the company and Wienerwald started a new era. In order to become competitive again, the chain modernized and adjusted its concept, shifting from casual dining more towards fast food – with orders placed and picked up at the counter instead of the customer being served at the table – and also upgrading the interior design.[5] In June 2009 the first Wienerwald in Turkey opened in Istanbul,[5] but despite a rapid expansion - temporarily reaching 30 branches - the market has been abandoned. The first Romanian restaurant in Bucharest opened in April 2011, but subsequently the company withdrew from Romania as well. At the end of 2017 23 restaurants remained in Germany (sited most densely in Bavaria),[6] three in Greater Cairo and one each in Budapest and in Dubai.[7]

Wienerwald Restaurants GmbH (Austria)[edit]

In Austria, Friedrich Jahn sold all Wienerwald restaurants to a different owner in 1986, thus separating the Austrian restaurants from the rest of the company. Today, detached spin out company Wienerwald Restaurants GmbH operates eight casual dining restaurants with a similar menu.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tagliabue, John (1981-07-18). "Wienerwald's U.S. Challenge". The New York Times. p. 29.
  2. ^ "Wienerwald Chain Will Be Cut Back". The New York Times. 1982-06-17.
  3. ^ "Restaurants: Wienerwald stellt Insolvenzantrag". FAZ.NET (in German). 2003-06-17. ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  4. ^ Trauthig, Julian; Dietzenbach (2010-10-12). "Wienerwald: Nicht mehr nur das halbe Hendl". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  5. ^ a b Nicht mehr nur das halbe Hendl
  6. ^ "WIENERWALD | Restaurants in Deutschland". (in German). Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  7. ^ "WIENERWALD | Restaurants in Deutschland". (in German). Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  8. ^ Wienerwald Österreich

External links[edit]

  • Wienerwald - German company's English-language site
  • Wienerwald - Egyptian entity's English-language site