Who has not heard the famous slogan “Quadratisch! Praktisch! Gut "? This phrase is strongly associated with the name of one of the most famous chocolate manufacturers. Our sweet tooth does not need to be explained what these German words mean.
The very same company Ritter Sport is a classic European family business. It's just that in this case, each subsequent generation understood how important traditions are, continuing to observe them.
And the history of the brand began back in 1912. Then the pastry chef Alfred Ritter invited the young Clara Gottl to marry him. The girl agreed. It turned out that the couple was kept together not only by love, but also by professional passion. Both of them loved sweets and were engaged in them. Alfred was a pastry chef, and Clara had her own candy store. After the honeymoon passed, the newlyweds thought about creating their own joint venture.
In the first year of family life, Alfred Ritter Schokolade-und Zuckerwarenfabrik was born. Production began right in their rented home near Stuttgart. Alfred created new products, and Clara sold them in her shop. The family was doing well right away. But then it was just a small family business, which simply allowed not to live in poverty, while doing what you really like.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Alfred went to the front. The company's affairs were shaken, its future was in a fog. But here the Ritters were lucky - in 1917, Alfred was transferred to civilian work. And to a very useful object - a chocolate factory in Stuttgart. There, the pastry chef learned how to create chocolate, how to mix it with fillers. This radically changed the future of the family company.
Returning home, Alfred Ritter decided to change his family's place of residence. After all, their house did not suit him in any way as a future base. There was no large warehouse that was soon to be required. After the move, Alfred, armed with new knowledge, began to create chocolate. It was the secrets he had spied at the factory in Stuttgart that helped him. In 1919, the Alrika brand of chocolate saw the light of day and quickly became famous. Ritter has put all his knowledge into this product. In total, the company released three types of chocolate, it differed in filling: raspberry, rum and orange.
But in those days, such a composite sweetness was generally a rarity. Consumer interest in the tasty product has driven the growth of the company. A year later, it already employed 40 people. And after 6 years, the first branded truck appeared, which began to deliver products to shops. The company now employed 80 people. It ceased to be a craft, but became a real enterprise, a factory. The Ritters also opened their second store.
And in 1930 the company opened a factory in Waldenbuch. At the same time, all workers who lived in Bad Cannstatt remained on the state. The Ritters took them to work on special buses. Today this attitude towards the staff is not surprising, but for those times it was very unusual. This is how Ritter Sport began. It may be noted that the Ritters owe their success to simple borrowing. Even business manuals advise you to borrow their best ideas from competitors, which Alfred Ritter essentially did. The fruits of this approach were not long in coming - 2 years after moving to a new factory, a new product was presented that has become a classic for decades. This is the famous Ritter Sport square chocolate bar.
At the same time, it is worth talking not about the breakthrough of a separate company, but about a real revolution in the industry. Clara came up with the idea to create chocolate of this shape. She noticed that sports jackets with small sports pockets are becoming popular in the country. So why not make the chocolate in a shape that you can safely put in your pocket? This idea was put forward at the Ritter family council. Clara suggested making the chocolate strong enough not to break, while still weighing the weight of a regular bar.
The Ritters decided to try to implement this interesting idea. However, they could not even think that in the future such a product would become not even the main product for their company, but generally the only one. But then there was still no talk about this, the 1930s began. The company began to gradually promote its square chocolate to the market, having in its arsenal other popular products - sweets, Christmas and Easter sweets, and just ordinary chocolate bars.
In the 30s, the Ritter business grew, but in the 40s it became difficult to talk about development - the Second World War began. For 6 years the company ceased operations altogether. Only in 1946 the production of sweets was resumed. At the same time, in the difficult post-war times, when creating products, they had to do without cocoa, it simply was not in Germany. Only by the beginning of the 50s did the situation stabilize.
In 1952, after the unexpected death of his 66-year-old father, Alfred Otto Ritter, the son of Alfred and Clara, became the head of the company. But the heir was already in adulthood, so he was quite ready for such a position. It was the youngest Alfred who made the main step in the history of the company, concentrating all efforts around the release of square chocolate. In 1959, the second founder of the company, Clara Ritter, also passed away.
In the 60s, classic bars, candies and other sweets gradually disappeared from the Ritter Sport range. And since 1970, the company has begun to conquer its native German market. It was then that the first television advertisement with the slogan “Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut ". There was also chocolate with yoghurt filling. They started talking about the manufacturer all over Germany. By 1972, the company produced 10% of all chocolate bars in the country, and its turnover was 100 million marks.
In the early 70s, color televisions were delivered to consumers. At first, such a miracle was available only to the wealthiest, but soon it became a mass phenomenon. The Ritters decided to use this fact. Alfred Jr. came up with the idea to make a special color for each type of his chocolate. This would distinguish the variety by the color of the wrapper. Such a move would allow Ritter Sport chocolate to become even more distinctive. And again we can talk about a revolution in the industry, because then no one took such actions.
Today this approach seems natural to us. A corresponding advertisement that appeared along with such packaging in 1974 read: "Everything has become more colorful, happier and more active, and with them the chocolate." A couple of years later, the Knick-Pack packaging that still protects Ritter Sport tiles was presented. The highlight of this package is that you can open it, bite off a piece of tile and close it again. Today, this wrapper is the trademark for Ritter Sport chocolate.
And in 1978, Alfred Otto Ritter died. For some time, the management of the company was carried out by his wife, but then the children - Alfred Theodore and Marley - were introduced to the supervisory board. And the management itself was entrusted to outside managers. This was logical, because the heir was then only 20 years old. He was just studying, receiving education in the field of psychology and economics. And by 1983, Alfred Theodor will head the supervisory board, but all the same, the direct leadership will not be entrusted to him. In 1987, the company already had 710 employees and a turnover of 400 million marks. 10% of all products are exported.
It is curious that in 1988 Alfred also organized his own company Paradigma. Her business had nothing to do with sweets - the company produced thermal solar panels. And the reason for the emergence of such a new business of Ritter was the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Oddly enough, she influenced the mainstream, chocolate. The radioactive cloud began to move towards Turkey. But it was there that the hazelnuts grew, which the company purchased for its main product.
So those events became unpleasant, Alfred decided that it was necessary to help humanity to abandon such a dangerous nuclear energy. Paradigma has made some significant progress in its research now, becoming one of the leaders in its industry. And in 2005, Alfred became the head of the family business. He had a conflict with top managers who saw the future of the company in their own way. So the owner had to take direct control.
Alfred's management style is consistent with the kaizen philosophy. The leader himself is quite gentle and allows subordinates to show independence. According to Ritter, the main success of his enterprise is nepotism and continuity. Each new generation of executives has been thinking about long-term success, not the pretty numbers in current reports. This allowed the company to really grow, despite the difficulties.
Ritter Sport is loved in Russia, it is no coincidence that 5% of all foreign sales come from our market. At one time, the Germans produced their products at the Korkunov factory, but after its transfer to the American Wrigley, the agreement was canceled. In total, people in more than 70 countries enjoy Ritter Sport chocolate.
And in 2008 the company launched a new variety - bio-chocolate. It is distinguished by exceptionally the best ingredients. Cocoa in it from Peru and Ecuador, cashew nuts from Tanzania, and raisins and almonds from sunny California. The product turned out to be environmentally friendly, complying with all EU regulations regarding bio-products. As a result, the chocolate turned out to be not only tasty, but also healthy. So Ritter Sport continues to keep pace with the times, not forgetting the traditions of the past. The head of the company hopes that it will remain family-owned in the future.