Made by Members: Von Matt
The Von Matt Hospitality Group, consisting of Kirtanya, Stephan and Thomas von Matt, has been bringing American flair to Zurich since 2013. Their restaurants are firmly established in the city on the Limmat, and now the family business is on course for expansion.
Whether you’re enjoying hearty gourmet burgers at "The Bite" restaurant, tacos with a twist at "LA Brea SoCal Tacos", authentic Southern BBQ at "Brisket" or Southern fried chicken at "Yardbird", the young restaurant group’s concepts are compelling with a great deal of passion, a high level of awareness for quality and a warm welcoming atmosphere. The three find inspiration for new creations on their travels, which have already taken them across the USA.
How did you come up with the concept for your restaurants?
We are connoisseurs and the restaurant concepts actually came about through our food preferences. On our travels, we discover new things and get ideas for concepts with potential in Switzerland.
On your travels you have enjoyed many different culinary experiences. What makes the restaurant scene in Switzerland and Zurich unique?
In Switzerland, there is a high level of awareness for quality products and details that runs through the entire value chain. In Zurich, people are extremely well informed about gastronomy. They know what they like and are very interested in trying new things. This also makes Zurich a brilliant test market. It is also a city where you can implement narrower concepts with just one focus. In smaller cities, a larger menu has to be offered so a broader target group can be reached.
You are constantly refining existing concepts and working out new ones. What do you think makes a good restaurant?
It is always important for it to be coherent and authentic. That when you enter the restaurant you feel that nothing is put on, but everything is natural – from the staff to the ambiance. The feel-good factor is crucial for a restaurant business to be successful in the long run. In addition, of course, there is the key point of quality: good products that people like to work with.
This factor is a common thread throughout your restaurants. What else links or distinguishes your locations?
Each restaurant has a clear specialty, but all concepts are united under the same philosophy: the goal of turning a simple dish into something special and establishing a top product on the market.
Due to the pandemic and working from home, many people have taken a closer look at their diet. How did or does COVID-19 impact you?
In the wake of COVID-19, we also opened a delivery kitchen that focuses exclusively on the delivery business for "The Bite" and "Yardbird" concepts.
What advice would you give your younger self?
"Enjoy the ride." It's been cool so far and so much more than we ever expected. There were many mistakes that would be prevented with the benefit of hindsight, but we don’t think we would be where we are today if we hadn’t made them. It’s also important to make mistakes: You build the fourth restaurant very differently to the first one, because you have learned from the first three startups and don’t make the same mistakes again.
After looking back – what does the future hold for the Von Matt Hospitality Group?
Right now we are working on expansion plans for "Yardbird", our fried chicken restaurant. We are planning several branches in Switzerland.
Who or what inspires you professionally?
We find the greatest inspiration when traveling. For each restaurant concept, we went on a trip where we researched the region and its cuisine. This is where the benefits of the Platinum Card really come in handy.
Note: The "Brisket" is also a "GaultMillau POP!" restaurant.