On the side of the long, winding Woodstock Road, right next to the Silverwood Inn, sits the Schnitzel Parlour. And I’ve never met anyone as dedicated to their customers’ happiness as its owner, Uwe Kuester.
“I started the Schnitzel Parlour back in 2007 as a private dining place,” Kuester said. “We changed it to a fully-licensed restaurant in June 2010.”
Kuester was not born and raised in Fredericton or even Canada. He, like many others, came to North America to create opportunities for himself.
“I came to Fredericton from Germany in the year 2000,” Kuester said. “I grew up in the German countryside, then moved to just outside Frankfurt back in 1979. We visited my sister who lives here in 1996 and just fell in love with Fredericton.”
The Schnitzel Parlour isn’t Kuester’s only charge, nor is it his first. He started out by selling something else.
“We had the opportunity to make our dream come true and we took it,” Kuester said.
“We started with chocolates back in 2000. My biggest passion was, and still is, with chocolates and we still sell them here. We added the Schnitzel Parlour in 2007 because our customers wanted us to.”
Despite Kuester’s obvious passion for making people happy through his cooking and baking, it still doesn’t make it an easy job.
“It is not an easy task to run a restaurant,” Kuester said. “Even after we close our doors, there’s still hours of cleaning and preparing for the next day to do.”
Despite the responsibilities and the hardships, Kuester has made it work. Without a large budget to spend on advertising, he has used the oldest and most effective method of business exposure: word of mouth.
“We have done a couple of things, like things for the food bank and Feast in the Fields. But we count mostly on word of mouth for our business to become known,” Kuester said.
“It’s a slow process, but it’s a safe process because people can count on other people’s recommendations. It’s not just a jingle.”
Kuester has clearly gone above and beyond to make his customers happy and that includes not cutting corners with his food.
“Everything here is done by hand,” Kuester said. “The chocolate, the baking, the cooking, everything. It takes more time and costs more for us but that’s okay, because showing our customers we care is important.”
Kuester loves what he does, which is every entrepreneur’s dream, and he knows the price tag that carries.
“You must be willing to go the extra mile, and running a restaurant, there are many extra miles to go,” Kuester said.
“But at the end of the day, I work for myself and for my customers. No one tells me what to sell or what to do; I serve what I serve because my customers want it.”