2.5 million for a very special meal

Wanzl stories (part 3)

In 1972, the company was in urgent need of larger premises in order to fulfil the high number of orders. Plant II was set up, meaning that Wanzl was able to process their full order books reliably and to the usual quality standards. But then, out of nowhere, the company’s Augsburg-based bank demanded that the building loan be repaid. They urged Rudolf Wanzl to sell the plant and pay off the credit within six weeks. With his back to the wall, Wanzl decided to approach the local Günzburg savings bank. He told them about the situation and the bank immediately agreed to help.

Shortly before the credit was approved, the bank director and his deputy turned up at Wanzl’s home. It was lunchtime, and Rudolf’s mother had just finished cooking; the whole family was sitting around the kitchen table. The family invited the two visitors to take a seat, and served them bread soup, and then mashed potatoes with crackling, onions and garlic. The loan was approved on the same day, and the company could breathe easy again. A little while later, the director of the savings bank explained why the approval was provided so quickly and smoothly: “When a family spends time together in this way and is so unassuming around the lunch table, nothing can go wrong.” To this day, no-one really knows who was really behind the arbitrary decision to demand repayment. The loan enabled Wanzl to continue his course of growth, and achieve success with the first expansions into new markets. And mashed potato is still served in the Wanzl cafeteria today!