For our inaugural Founders’ Story, we interviewed Andrew and Jon Schnipper, of Schnippers Quality Kitchen in New York City. Before founding Schnippers, these brothers started the NYC chain Hale & Hearty. So, suffice it to say, they know their way around the restaurant business…
With Schnippers, Andrew and Jon traveled the country before developing their to-die-for menu, which includes items like The Big Schnipp (10 oz burger with the works and a special secret Schnipper sauce) and sloppy fries (yes, that’s fries made like a Sloppy Joe with cheese). Yum! So while we go order ourselves up some Schnippers onion rings and a shake on delivery.com, you should take a peek at our Q&A with these seasoned brothers below:
delivery.com: Can you tell us a little about your background, and how your experience starting Hale & Hearty helped you take on what seems like a real passion project in Schnippers?
Andrew and Jon: We’ve both been in the restaurant business since graduating college. Hospitality is in our DNA and we love what we do. At Schnippers, we’ve elevated the fast casual experience by making foods the right way in real restaurant kitchens. Everything is made fresh to order and made the way we believe it was meant to be made.
delivery.com: What’s Andrew’s favorite item on the menu. And what’s Jon’s?
Andrew and Jon: Andrew’s favorite item is the chicken fingers – he generally orders a salad to be healthy but loves it when his kids don’t finish their chicken fingers so he can finish them. Jon’s favorite is a classic cheeseburger.
delivery.com: How has the restaurant industry changed since you first got into it?
Andrew and Jon: Many of the original rules have been thrown out the window and things that seemed as if they couldn’t be done are being done. Years ago, a quick service place couldn’t prep fresh ingredients and cook foods from scratch. We have learned with Schnippers that whoever made that rule was wrong. It used to be that only a full service restaurant could serve food to diners at their table – wrong again. For great casual food that we serve at Schnippers, diners don’t need the expense or the extra time added of ordering from a waiter or waitress. They can have a great meal at a lower price point with the same amount of hospitality they’d get at a full service restaurant.
delivery.com: Do you have any plans for the future of Schnippers, or maybe another project coming down the pike?
Andrew and Jon: Yes. We will be opening our 5th location on Church Street near the WTC site in late Spring and we are constantly looking for new locations here in the city. We are also beginning to look at expanding beyond NY to another city or possibly the suburbs.
delivery.com: With all that experience, any advice for aspiring restaurant or business owners?
Andrew and Jon: The restaurant business is a tough one and my brother and I ask ourselves the following question almost daily – “Why would anyone voluntarily do this for a living?” It’s somewhat rhetorical for us because the answer is that we love what we do. So my advice to aspiring restaurant owners is that you have to really want to be in this business or you will hate it. As tough as you’ve heard it is, it’s even much tougher than that and if you don’t have a real passion for it then find something else to do.
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