Like all great success stories, this one too begins with just one person from the pioneer times of the company. Josef Manner, a trained businessman, opened a small shop in 1890 in the heart of Vienna just a stone's throw away from the huge doors of Vienna's St Stephan's cathedral. There he mainly sold bars of chocolate and fig coffee. Josef Manner pursued the goal from the very beginning to offer better quality chocolate products cheaper than the competitors'. "Every child who spends a Kreuzer on one of my products", he used to say, "should not just get a sweet titbit, but also something of nutritional value".
- Josef Manner I – pioneer and businessman
- Josef I becomes a chocolate manufacturer
As Josef Manner's suppliers at the time were not in a position to deliver the desired chocolate quality, the chocolatier from Stephansplatz quickly decided to produce chocolate himself.
At the age of just 25, Josef Manner I bought a licence, the premises and modest facilities from a small chocolate producer in the 5th district of Vienna in the former Wildenmanngasse – and was, from the 1st March 1890, the new owner of the "Chocoladenfabrik Josef Manner“.
- "Chocolate for everyone“
"Chocolate for everyone“ – this was the beginning of the slogan. Today we have an old "rubbing stone" on which the cocoa beans were once ground by hand and a business card, (which shows the trademark "St Stephan's cathedral" in its original form and which has been used ever since) to remind us of these times.
Josef Manner was at first – as was the case of many of his successful colleagues from the "period of promoterism" – a producer, salesclerk and advertising agent in one person and he often even delivered the products to the customers. However, the success made it all worthwhile - already in the year of founding - 1890 - he had to expand. The store at Stephansplatz and the factory in Wildenmanngasse - which very quickly proved to be too small - were sold.
By 1897 the former sweets seller had become a veritable chocolate producer who bore the responsibility for over 100 employees in his office in Hernalser Kulmgasse, which was gradually being extended near his parental home.
- Great value, great taste!
Within not quite a decade the young company "Chocolade Manner" with its slogan "value for money and good" became one of the leading confectioners of the Austro-Hungarian empire and had extended its range of goods to so much more than "Manner-Chocolade“. Whoever looks in a catalogue, will find in addition to bars of chocolate, chocolate sweets and "pure cocoa" in tins, also such articles as raspberry juice, fig coffee, jelly fondant and a number of chocolate figures for children.
Also in the area of organisation the company was innovative and changed the Josef Manner & Co. to a public limited company in 1913. Naturally there were many more milestones in the history of the company.
- Neapolitan wafer No. 239
Meanwhile, the Manner wafer, which has even risen to the level of a Hollywood icon in the hands of Arnold Schwarzenegger, was first mentioned in a Manner product catalogue in 1898 under the rather dry name of "Neapolitan wafer No. 239“.
The Manner wafer - whose size 49 x 17 x 17 mms - has not changed to this day, owed its name to an early idea of controlled indication of origin - the hazelnuts in the cream mass between the five wafer layers came from the Naples area - an area that people in Vienna considered almost magical and which awakened Mediterranean desires.
- A new partner
The rapid success of his enterprise made Josef Manner believe relatively early that it would seem advisable to take a business partner. He found one in his competent accountant Alfred Teller who already joined the company from the third business year with a 50% interest in the company. On the 16th October, 1900 – two years after the invention of the Manner wafers – Teller sold his interest to none other than his brother-in-law, Johann Riedl – and laid thus the foundation for the still continuing fantastic cooperation between the Manner and Riedl families.
Under the management of the successful duo Josef Manner and Johann Riedl the success and turnovers of the enterprise rose continuously. Already in 1904, therefore, the further extension of the Hernals factory had to be started. For nine years, up to 1913, industrious construction activity was the order of the day and because the order books often filled faster than the rooms could be extended, it was not seldom the case that production took place "on the building site“.
- A stock company was established
After having extended the existing factory building, which had been in existence since 1895, and replacing Manner's old parental home with a practical new building, highly-modern machinery was acquired, which helped the Manner company make the jump to the uncontested number one of the confectionery companies of the Danube Monarchy.
Considering this story of success, the next step was – as for every prosperous company – to go public. On October 23rd 1913, the Josef Manner & Co company became a stock company named Josef Manner & Comp AG. At the helm of the company (which by then had more than 3,000 employees, over 60 horses and, in the meantime, the most modern production facilities of the time) were Josef Manner and Johann Riedl, who was supported by his four sons and his son-in-law.
- World War I
When World War I broke out on 28 July 1914, the Manner company faced considerable, but, for the time being, not unresolvable, problems. The company easily managed to get through the first few years of war thanks to a well-stocked store. Later on in 1918 and 1919 the store ran dry and the Hernals confectionery factory had trouble keeping itself afloat. The practically inexhaustible market of the former Danube Monarchy of 56 million people shrank to the just 6 million people of the Austrian First Republic after the end (a disastrous end for Austria) of the First World War. The Manner company suffered under the subsequent inflation and the economic crisis of the thirties in Austria.
The following decades, which were not just economically hard, proved to be a great test for the second generation who took over the company after Johann Riedl's death in 1929 and Josef Manner's retirement in 1935. These hurdles were overcome thanks to extremely careful business practices and strict economising.
It is from this time that the saying we still hear today originates: "We should be able to sell at least one railroad car of chocolate or wafers (meaning 10 tonnes) a day!"
- World War II
Also the vague hope that with the Anschluss to the Third Reich new markets could be opened up, proved themselves wrong when the outbreak of World War 2 in September 1939 put paid to all investment plans.
The Manner production building survived the heavy bombing in 1945 without suffering too much damage and the machinery was completely intact. At the end of the war the company was forced into "donating" their last reserves to Stalin, however, this did mean the company had the chance of a tentative new beginning. In the middle of this restart phase the founder of the company, Josef Manner I, died on 5 May 1947.
- From economic miracles to the era of design
Unfortunately, the founder of the company did not live to see how the Manner company, after a tentative new start in the late 1940´s, quickly became very much a part of the following economic wonder years and gained international success. Many tried and tested products, which are still popular today, were slightly modernized at this time, in that they were adapted to the increasing demands of the product shelf live.
In 1960 the Manner company then managed the still acclaimed leap into the age of technology with an innovation which is still considered significant today. This is the packaging that keeps the flavor of the Manner wafers in, thanks to double aluminum foil with the typical red tear strip.
This new packaging meant sudden worldwide recognition for the good old Neapolitan wafer. The new Manner wafer was born. The packaging guaranteed not only a longer shelf life, but also made it easier to open the pack and ever since has counted as one of the Austrian "design classics".
- Manner is again at the very forefront
In this way the Manner wafer very quickly became the most successful and bestselling article within the Manner range. In 1964 the Manner company set a milestone thanks to this mega seller. For the first time since 1914 - that is 50 years after the best business year of the company history - the record turnover reached at the end of the Danube Monarchy was surpassed.
To not only safeguard, but also to develop the success, financially strong partners were sought. Already in 1970 the merger with the second largest confectionery company, Napoli, Ragendorfer & Co, owned by the Andres family, took place. With the consequent addition of the brand names Casali and Napoli, Manner could rapidly expand its array of products to make many dreams of those with a sweet tooth come true - for example, Casali chocolate bananas and Napoli Dragee Keksi (iced biscuits).
In 1996 the Walde Candita company in Wolkersdorf/Lower Austria was taken over and on 1 January 2000 the renowned company Firma Victor Schmidt & Söhne GmbH with their classic brands "Ildefonoso“, "Heller“ und "Victor Schmidt Austria Mozartkugeln“ celebrated its first day with the Manner family, which had risen to one of the most powerful confectionery companies of the "Global Players".
- In The Age of Globalization
The company's main plant is, as is the whole head office, on the historical site of the company in Vienna-Hernals - in the Viennese district, therefore, in which Josef Manner I's parental home was located.
However, the plant in Lower Austrian Wolkersdorf in the Weinviertel industrial center in the north of Vienna is fitted with equipment which is every bit as modern as that of the main plant.
All Manner production locations work using the same most modern production processes and have the IFS certification, the world's greatest guarantee of product safety and highest quality.
- Manner as a global brand
Fifty countries all around the world see pink when they hear "Manner". This is how far the marketing system of Manner as a global player reaches. The German market is one of the significant European core markets for Manner & Comp AG. However, attention is currently being paid to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe where the Manner brand has been particularly successful since the economic boom of the "velvet revolution". Thanks to the new members of the EU the Manner export turnover accounts for approximately 50% of the entire turnover.
A clear goal of the company is above all to advance the development of these core markets in the future and give them direct responsibility. The key to this is the step-by-step development of independent marketing organizations in each country. Therefore, a branch was set up in Slovenia in 2004 and since 2006 Manner products have also been directly marketed in Germany. In 2009 Manner successfully started a branch in Czech Republic.
Manner knows no bounds which is why the two company colors of pink and blue as well as the "St Stephan's Cathedral trade mark" are known wherever there are satisfied Manner customers.
Corporate Social Responsibiltiy
Employees and Leadership
"The success of our company is based on the motivation and the eagerness to learn as well as the creativity and the qualification of our employees."
"We strive after a healthy balance of economy, ecology and our social responsibility."
Sustainability is more than just a contemporary catchphrase for Manner – our company lives by it for already more than 120 years. Even the foundation of the company in 1890 has been for a social cause. Back then, Josef Manner was not content with the quality of chocolate and was considering producing it himself. Therefore, quality has always been a cornerstone of our company and this has not changed since today. In 2011, Manner started a major CSR offensive with focus on sustainability for palm oil and cocoa.
Manner and UTZ for sustainable cocoa
The Manner AG is the largest confectionery manufacturer in Austria. Due to the high quality requirements, all of the chocolate is produced in-house, beginning with the roasting of the cocoa beans. Because of that, social and ecological sustainability regarding the cocoa is very important.
As a processor of raw material like cocoa, we condemn any kind of slavery or child labor. To ensure, that the cocoa which we use in our products meets our social and ecological principals, Manner is a member of UTZ Certified since 2012. UTZ is one of the world’s largest sustainability programs for coffee, cocoa and tee. The goal of UTZ regarding the cocoa is to provide an efficient certification and sustainability program for a socially responsible and environmentally friendly production of cocoa. This program meets both the requirements of the manufacturer and the market. Since 2012, our company obliged to buy UTZ certified cocoa for all the produced wafers of the brand Manner. The audition process of our manufacturing sites has been completed in the first quarter of 2012. Until 2020, it is planned to cover the total demand of cocoa beans for the products of Manner with sustainable cocoa.
Further information at www.utzcertified.org
"We take a part in the social and cultural life and support charitable projects to the best of our ability. We sense the success of our company as an important contribution to the acquisition and protection of employment."
"Our brands meet great sympathy and trust from the customers. Every employee at Manner is responsible for the high quality of the products to reach the customer."
Product quality and quality management
Quality means that our customers can enjoy Manner products of the same high quality that they have always appreciated at any time.
Did you know that the recipe for the Original Neapolitan wafer from Manner was not changed since the invention by Josef Manner I. in 1898? The same holds true for many other successful products from the assortment of Manner such as Casali Rum-Kokos and Napoli Dragee Keksi, just to name a few.
Best confectionary indulgence
Brand products from the Manner company stand for the best confectionery indulgence. However, every luxury article is only as good as the sum of the individual ingredients, which is the reason for us placing importance on selected, high-quality ingredients. All raw materials are submitted to a detailed check on delivery to our quality control laboratories before they can be released for production. Our philosophy is to enter into a long-term fair business partnership with our suppliers to be able to guarantee consistently high quality.
Naturally the quality of our products is also checked during the continuous production process: for example, samples are taken on a daily basis from each production batch and are checked and evaluated by a trained team of tasters. You can well imagine that a great number of people wish to join this team of tasters!
The continuous improvement of our high-class standards is one of the cornerstones of our enterprise success and for this reason we constantly set ourselves higher goals. Since 2005 the Manner company has been the proud owner of the particularly stringent quality standard "IFS" (International Food Standard). This standard assumes high safety regulations and hygiene regulations and is regularly checked by external consultants. With the extension of the certificate in 2016 we could achieve the foundation level for both Manner locations.