(Matthew Fidler, owner and creator of We’re The Wurst | Photos courtesy of Matthew Fidler)
Matthew Fidler, owner of We’re The Wurst food truck company in Bend, is a newcomer to the world of manufacturing. From humble beginnings as a bratwurst food cart business, Fidler is now expanding his operations, and is in the process of opening a production facility in Redmond.
“We’re The Wurst came about because I’m a chef. I successfully dropped out of the Cascade Culinary Institute,” Fidler says with a laugh. “There used to be a great cart here with German sausages, but the couple who ran it moved back to Germany. After that, I couldn’t get a good bratwurst. It became a good old-fashioned business problem: I couldn’t get a good brat, and other people couldn’t get a good brat, so I created one.” He continues, “Thus, a business was born. I really appreciate a product that is well-intentioned and well-produced. We started out as just a bratwurst food cart, but then customers began asking for more.”
The journey to manufacturing began last year when Fidler started working on the licensing process. “It’s quite a long and arduous process,” he explains. “We went from making sausages for just food trucks to having USDA inspections. We have a federal agent in the facility every day to prove that our processes and products are safe.”
Now, the “leash is cut,” as Fidler describes it, and he is able sell to anyone without measure, including grocery stores, restaurants and direct to consumers. “We are still crawling, doing the whole crawl, walk, run thing.” He adds, “What we are doing right now, literally, is building up a new facility in Redmond. We are moving from about 800 square feet to 3,600 square feet. Jon Stark, senior director of Redmond Economic Development Inc., has been a blessing and instrumental in helping us and our business. We also have a really great new landlord.” He continues, “We are leasing the facility; we’re not even close to being able to buy property. Not yet. This hasn’t been easy, so having some good business guys around us has been great. We are going to be able to increase production exponentially in our next space. It will take the training wheels off, and will be like a whole new business.”
In the early days of We’re The Wurst, Fidler says he had a rough start. “I have three children with another one on the way, but I’ve never been so stressed as that first day in the food cart: We had no running water and no electricity; all these awful things happened. If you are a chef and you have a bad dream, this is what it would be,” he says. “We had a line stretching 100 feet, and I’m sure people thought I had no idea what I was doing. But the people who got the product liked it. People were very patient with me; there is no sugar-coating that. I got many customers that first day, and still have many of those same customers.” He adds, “We’ve got the best customers.”
With the transition into manufacturing, Fidler still has a small food cart that he uses to cater special events from, but he no longer runs a regular everyday business out of it. Products currently on his menu include Boerewors (a South African favorite), kielbasa, British bangers, Bockwurst, Chorizo, Linguiça, Moroccan Merguez and more. Prices on the menu range from $6.99 to $7.99.
Although COVID brought challenges for Fidler like it did for everyone else, he says the disruption to business provided the time for him to focus on getting his product into grocery stores. “We are not immune to the challenges of the recent COVID events, but it’s also worked to help us shift gears and get into grocery stores. It’s been challenging, but has also been a blessing.”
werethewurst.com • 541-633-9800