A sweet vision
Josef Manner & Comp AG is a leading manufacturer of wafers, sugar-coated candy and aerated confectionery. Josef Manner & Comp AG is a rare example of a successful Austrian company, which has been largely family-owned since its foundation. Our popular confectionery products are exported to more than 50 European and non-European countries. Around 700 employees work in two locations; the main site in Vienna's 17th district and a branch site in Wolkersdorf in Lower Austria. This is where Manner, Casali, Napoli, Ildefonso and Victor Schmidt branded products are manufactured. The turnover of Josef Manner & Comp AG for the 2018 financial year amounted to 209.9 million Euros.
Confectionery store at the Stephansplatz in Vienna
Josef Manner I. - Pioneer and businessman
Like all great success stories, this story begins with a unique personality from the pioneering days of the company. In 1890 Josef Manner, a trained merchant, opened a small store in the heart of Vienna, only a short distance from St. Stephen's Cathedral, selling mainly chocolate bars and fig coffee. From the very outset, Josef Manner aimed to offer chocolate products of better quality and at a lower price than the competition. “Every child who spends a Kreuzer on my goods,” he used to say, “should not only get a snack for it, but something of nutritional value.”
Founding of the company Chocoladen Fabrik Josef Manner and registration of the St. Stephen's Cathedral as a trademark
Josef I becomes a chocolate manufacturer
Because Josef Manners' suppliers were not able to deliver the desired quality of chocolate, the Stephansplatz-based confectioner decided to produce his own chocolate. At the age of 25, Josef Manner I. bought the license, premises and furnishings of a small chocolate producer in Vienna's 5th district in the former Wildenmanngasse. As of March 1. 1890, he was the new owner of the “Chocoladenfabrik Josef Manner”.
“Chocolate for everyone”
“Chocolate for everyone” was the company's motto right from the start. And an old “grinding stone” with which cocoa beans were ground by hand as well as a business card showing St. Stephen’s Cathedral in its original form, a trademark which has been used ever since, still exist today as reminders of the company's origins. As early as 1890, the company had to expand due to its great success. The tephansplatz store and the factory building in the Wildenmanngasse, which quickly became too small, were sold. By 1897, the former confection seller had become a genuine chocolate manufacturer with over 100 employees at the company's headquarters in Hernalser Kulmgasse.
Neapolitan wafer no. 239.
The Manner wafer, which has even reached iconic status in Hollywood thanks to the endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger, was listed in a Manner catalog in 1898 under the rather functional name “Neapolitan wafer no. 239”.
The Manner wafer, the pack size of which has never changed, got its name thanks to its inventor’s early understanding of the controlled designation of origin concept. The hazelnuts for the spread between the five wafer layers originated from the area around Naples. This region, which even back then awakened Mediterranean desires, was perceived as almost magical by the Viennese.
The rapid success of the company convinced Josef Manner to find a business partner early on. He found one in Alfred Teller, his diligent accountant who joined the company in its third fiscal year and held half of the shares. But on October 16. 1900, two years after the creation of the Manner wafer, Teller sold his share to his brother-in-law Johann Riedl. This laid the foundation for the successful cooperation between the Manner and Riedl families which continues until today.
Leading confectionery company of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
Headed by the successful partners Josef Manner and Johann Riedl, the company's success and turnover rose continuously. The expansion of the Hernalser factory began as a result of this in 1904. Construction continued for nine years until 1913. Because the number of orders often grew faster than the premises could be expanded, it was not uncommon for production to take place “on the construction site” in the truest sense of the word.
Manner becomes a stock corporation
After the factory building, which had existed since 1895, had been expanded and Manner's old parental home had been replaced by a practical new building, state of the art machinery was also purchased. As a result, the Manner company finally succeeded in becoming the undisputed number one confectionery manufacturer in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In view of such a success story, it was only natural to consider going public like any other thriving company. By October 23. 1913 the time had finally come. The company Josef Manner & Co. was transformed into a stock corporation with the name Josef Manner & Comp AG. The company, which employed 3,000 people, owned 60 transport horses and now also had state-of-the-art production facilities, was managed by Josef Manner and Johann Riedl, who was supported by his four sons and his son-in-law.
From economic boom into the design age
Unfortunately, the founder of the company died on May 5. 1947 and was unable to experience how the Manner company, after the difficult times of war and a tentative new start in the late 1940s, quickly became part of the economic boom years, achieving international success. Many tried and tested Manner products, which are still widely popular today, were carefully adapted to the increasing demands of product durability during this time.
In 1960 the Manner company finally took the leap into the age of technology. The decisive factor for this was an innovation that is still considered significant today in terms of industrial design history. The double-aluminum foil packaging of the Manner wafers, with its typical red tear strip, was designed to keep the flavor and aroma in.
The new packaging not only guaranteed a longer shelf life, but also made opening the packaging easier and has been an Austrian design classic ever since.
Manner at the forefront again
With the new packaging, the Manner wafer became the most successful and best-selling item in the entire product range. In 1964, Manner set a new milestone. For the first time since 1914, the record turnover achieved during the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was exceeded.
Brand acquisition "Victor Schmidt"
In 2000, the company Victor Schmidt & Söhne GmbH also made its debut as a member of the the Manner family of companies with the brands “Ildefonso” and “Victor Schmidt Austria Mozartkugeln”.
Markenerwerb "Victor Schmidt"
2000 feierte schließlich auch die Firma Victor Schmidt & Söhne GmbH mit den Marken „Ildefonso“ und „Victor Schmidt Austria Mozartkugeln“ ihren Einstand in der Manner Großfamilie.