Who chooses the new Vapiano Specials?
It’s all change for our Vapiano menu! Every two months we release a new selection of Vapiano Specials in addition to our regular dishes. For a limited time only, you can currently enjoy Risotto Zucca Caramellata, a vegan risotto with pumpkin and coconut milk. But who chooses which of the proposed recipes will go on to feature as a Special? Introducing: the Vapiano Squadra!
The word “squadra” is Italian and means “team”. In fact, Italy’s national football team is known as “squadra azzura” or “the blue team”. Our Vapiano Squadra is made up of 15 members including product developers, franchise partners, colleagues from our marketing, purchasing and accounting apartments and even employees from our restaurant reception desks. The aim is to amass as many different opinions, ideas and flavours so we can ensure our menu and the latest Vapiano Specials appeal to everyone. One thing all our Squadra members have in common is sensory training that allows them to make an objective decision about which recipes are best suited for Vapiano.
The Squadra convenes every two months to discuss future Vapiano Specials. In some cases, this may happen more frequently, like when our new Vapiano menu was being designed. Today, Philipp Zinggl, Director of Product Development, tells us exactly what goes on at the meetings.
Hello Philipp, thanks for chatting to us today. Tell us about your Squadra meetings and how new Vapiano Specials are created.
We always meet at 8 in the morning in a Vapiano restaurant. Our Product Development colleagues prepare everything in advance and then cook the new recipes freshly. Every contender for a Special has their own table. Squadra members then wander around and sample the new dishes.
How many new dishes do you try?
There are usually between 25-30 recipes. The Vapiano Specials comprise Pizza, Pasta, Salads, Antipasti and Dolci so the Squadra has to try something from every product range. We’re always pretty full at the end of it! (laughs)
What criteria are important to the Product Development team when planning new Vapiano Specials?
Our Specials always have a seasonal twist. Food and lifestyle trends also play a key role. However, the Squadra only focuses on flavour and appearance. Every member is given an evaluation form to grade the dishes they try.
Talking of food trends – both the new Vapiano menu and the current Specials feature a range of vegetarian and vegan options.
That’s right. We were inundated with requests from our guests asking for more vegan choices. That was one reason we re-designed our classic menu. Plus, the September and October Specials focus specifically on vegan recipes. Although we have veggie members in the Squadra, we don’t have a vegan yet. That’s why for the first time we invited external tasters to try out this month’s Specials. Some of them applied on Facebook. The idea definitely paid off. We’re really proud of the latest Vapiano Specials.