Dallmayr: The one which made the Modern World

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Dallmayr is an abbreviated term used for Alois Dallmayr which is considered as the largest delicatessen company in the whole of Europe along with being one of the most popular coffee brands hailing from Germany. Alois Dallmayr has a history which goes back 300 years back and since then it has been a family owned and operated business till today. Furthermore, today, the company has been divided into four business units which are spread across the major regions of Germany.

What is delicatessen?

Delicatessen, the word is descriptive of a retail establishment which is involved in the selling of food items that are prepared elsewhere, in a foreign land. This concept originated in Germany first during the 1700’s and then with migration spread to the Americas, particularly the United States a century later. This transference of tradition has been credited to the diaspora of the European migrants specifically the Ashkenazi Jews, the Jews of Germany. The Ashkenazi Jews interestingly numbered the greatest within that diaspora. With the influx of this diaspora, the multicultural American composition began to take shape, beginning from the year 1888.

The word delicatessen is classified as a German loanword. A loanword is a word which is adopted by a second language from the main (mother) language in its original form. That is, delicatessen is a German word and it was incorporated within the English language sometime in the year 1889. Moreover, delicatessen was adopted in its plural state and its singular is: Delikatesse. Furthermore, upon tracing the etymological roots of the word, one goes back to the French language. It was realised that delicatessen is a French loanword, the meaning of which when translated means: delicious things that are meant to be eaten. The very root of the word is the Latin adjective: delicatus, which further means: to give pleasure, something delightful or pleasing. With the whole migration and then the popular Americanisation the word: delicatessen becomes – deli. This came into existence around 1954.

It is in-fact the history of Dallmayr itself which is crucial and thus credited for being the pioneering figure as the first delicatessen since 1700 when it was established. It was one of the first of its kind, a retail establishment to import bananas, mangoes, and plums into the German markets from distant places such as the Canary Islands and China. Over the course of the time, almost 300 years later Dallmayr has transformed into the largest business of its kind in Europe.

The first delicatessens to have appeared in the United States were located in New York City in the mid-1800s. Moreover, records show that the word delicatessens were first used in the year 1885 for an establishment which catered to the needs of the immigrant German population which resided there. Within the United States as the population of the German-Jewish immigrants increased, particularly within New York City beginning from the mid-1880 towards the end of the century, delicatessens also increased in number. One of the main reasons cited for this is the fact that their religion imposes certain dietary restriction on them. That is, their Kashrut or Kosher puts forward certain dietary laws with the first of its opening in 1889.

Towards the end of the 20th century and also during the early parts of the 21st century, one could have found the spread of delicatessens throughout the United States. Delicatessens almost became a generic term, being used for many kinds of retail establishments. Furthermore, with the Americanised abbreviated word: deli in place, the word started to become diverse in its descriptive qualities. That is, even the food section of the supermarkets began to be termed as delis along with local economy stores and fast food outlets.

The different regions of the world and their delicatessens

In Australia for instance, delicatessens carries its European connotations. Furthermore, within large scale supermarkets you can also find a deli section. There also exist independently operating delicatessens almost throughout the country. Within both these types of deli one can find a whole range of cured meats, sausages, pickled vegetables, dips, breads and olives along with other items.

Moreover, slight variations can also be observed particularly in the Western and Southern regions of Australia. In these areas, deli denotes a convenience store which is smaller in scale or a milk bar. There are also certain businesses that have incorporated the term deli within their names itself. On the other hand, there are the traditional delicatessens that also exist very much within these states as well.

Within the Canadian region delicatessens were popularised by immigrants as well. Here too their very essence is that of Europe and the setups as well are very much similar to the way they function in the United States.

In United States of America the delicatessens or a deli is usually a combination of a grocery store and a restaurant. Within these delis one can find not only a broader range but also a much fresher menu than the regular fast food chains. The sandwiches available in these delis are usually made to order and they use a fryer usually only for chicken. Sometimes they may also have a steam table which provides hot food which is similar to a cafeteria. One of the more important distinctions that can be observed in the American delis is that they sell cold cuts by their weight and also that they prepare party trays. The delis can also vary in sizes by generally are smaller establishments. They, in the United States are known for their made to order salads. Among the other common items that are prepared are: pasta, potato, chicken, tuna, shrimp or other salads which are usually sold by their wright. Furthermore, delicatessens here also sell a variety of beverages and are known for their pre-packaged soft drinks, coffee, tea and milk. Among the other commonly available products include: Potato chips, newspapers and small items such as candies and mints among others. Their menus also vary considerably depending upon the ethnic diversity of the region. In the case of the case of the delis located in urban locations, they solely rely on ethnic meats such as: pastrami, corned beef and salami. On the other hand, the delis in the supermarkets, they rely upon the packaged meat products such as: ham, turkey and American bologna. Each of the delicatessens are known for their particular cultural tradition. For instance, in the United States there are many delis which specifically cater to Jewish, Italian, and Greek, both kosher and kosher style. In Europe, the American equivalent of the deli is known as a gourmet food store.

In Europe, delicatessens have come to be associated with high quality, pricy food items and stores. When you travel towards the German speaking regions then stores can also be found under the common synonym of delicatessens, that is: Feinkostläden or delicacy stores. These stores sell what is known as: Feinkost or fine food. Within most of the departmental stores one can find a designated section which is known as the Delikatessenabteilung or the delicacy department. Among the category of delicatessens in Europe, the popular stores include: Fauchon in Paris, Dallmayr in Munich, Harrods[12][13] and Fortnum & Mason in London, and Peck in Milan.

The American style delicatessens can also be found in Europe. They are usually seen in up range or luxury markets. In Russia for instance, the Americanised deli system are called kulinariya and they popularly sell salads and main course meals. Whereas delicate meats and cheeses, cold-cut and sliced hot, these items are usually sold in separate sections. The popular Eliseevsky food store located in Central Moscow enveloped in its fin de siècle décor is one such place which comes closest to European delicatessens. This section of Russia is one such place where since the Tsarist era the Russians have been going to procure food items that are hard to get otherwise. The delicatessens stores often sell food items from a varied range of geographies and cultures which are not readily available in the local markets. Take the example of Italy, here, a deli is usually called gastronomia, negozio di specialità gastronomiche, bottega alimentare and also through one of the more recent names such as: salumeria. In todays’ France they are known as: traiteur or épicerie fine.

Dallmayr in History

1700 is the year when the company began its grand journey. It is said, at that time, Christian Reitter, a merchant from Munich operated an enterprise which is regarded as the precursor to the present day company. His business mostly dealt with trading and related functions. Then about a hundred and seventy years later, in 1870, this very enterprise was bought by Alois Dallmayr, whose name is labelled as the name of the current company. Dallymayr was known to have come from Wolnzach in Hallertau.

Then the company was sold by Alois Dallmayr upon the death of Alois Dallmayr to Therese and Anton Randlkofer in 1895. In an almost dramatic turn of events, Anton Randlkofer passed away within his second year of purchase of the building and the shop. Thereon Therese Randlkofer, his widowed wife came to the rescue of this enterprise. She took charge as the chief manager and this event almost became sensational because for a woman to undertake such an initiative was almost unheard of. Therese Randlkofer showed exceptional skills as a businesswoman. Under her leadership the original store metamorphosed into a leading delicatessen houses in Europe. The business had also managed to attain no less than 15 royal purveyor titles. Though these titles they were able to boast wide and loud about their customers which included German imperial family and 14 other royal houses in Europe.

By the year 1912 the shop had almost doubled in its size and employed around 70 people at any given time. Furthermore, the year 1931 is marked with a period of great difficulty in the company’s history. The economic situations had become unbearable because of the Great Depression and after the incident of the Black Friday, Dallmayr was challenged immensely and it had to change its outlook drastically. They then diversified into the production of coffee. By the year 1933, Dallmayr’s coffee era took a solid shape. The year 1933 is also important because it is also the time when Konrad Werner Wille, a coffee merchant from Bremen who was just 19 years old at that time came to Munich and established his specialist coffee shop in the Delikatessenhaus Dallmayr. What is fascinating is that this coffee department still exists today as well and over the course of the decades has also managed to achieve a solid repute internationally. Konrad Werner Wille used to source raw coffee from many regions and then roast them on a machine in person and thus slowly the Dallmayr coffee brand emerged.

World Wars proved fatal for the company as their production units and other buildings were razed to the ground. It was only because of the dedicated efforts of Paul Randlkofer and Konrad Werner Wille that the company was able to breathe again. This coffee business became quite successful. Today, the coffee and tea arm of the company is known as: Alois Dallmayr Kaffee OHG and the Nestlé corporate group initially took control of almost 50 % of the company’s shares but later, in 2003 they reduced it to 25 %.

Throughout the 1950’s the company grew substantially and attained a good reputation. The very next decade saw them diversifying with the establishment of Alois Dallmayr Vending Service. This made Dallmayr the first company in Europe to develop high quality vending machine products.

With the German reunification the company spread its wings and began to setup vending machines throughout Central and Eastern European regions. Thus the company became known first in Europe and then it came to the Americas. The year 2006 saw Dallmayr undertake a complete overhaul. As a result brand new, top of their class Restaurant Dallmayr and Café-Bistro Dallmayr were opened.

All about today’s Dallmayr

The headquarters of the company is located in Dienerstraße which is further situated in the old town area of Munich. It employees over 3500 people and is valued over a billion dollars.

Delicacies that are offered by the Dallmayr delicatessen are one of the main tourist attractions in Munich. As per certain records, Dallmayr is alone responsible for over 1.4 million tourists visiting the region from all over the world. Dallmayr coffee also developed a luxury prodomo brand and its prominence is widely known and appreciated across the German coffee market. Among the contemporary products that they offer are: Dallmayr Crema d’Oro and Dallmayr French Press.

They also have maintained their long standing relations with the numerous royal families and also cater to their special needs such as organising events with several thousand visitors. Furthermore, they were also recognised for organising the wedding of Georg Friedrich Prince of Prussia and Sophie Princess of Isenburg in August 2011.