GHDI logo

Munich Gourmet Stores Cater to the Elite (December 23, 2004)

page 2 of 4    print version    return to list previous document      next document

The Customers Pay Cash

Germany’s most storied gourmet shop simply offers more: a sense of shopping. Of course, most come because the wine selection is superb. Because they can choose from 50 different kinds of honey, 120 kinds of jam, and 75 kinds of assorted pralines. Because they’ve been buying their cold-smoked duck breast and filet Wellington here for decades. And because the wild salmon is sliced to perfection at Dallmayr. Granted, an avocado costs 2.50 Euro here, but it’s guaranteed not to taste watery and is neither rock hard nor mushy when you cut it open.

But this isn’t the only thing that has made Dallmayr the most popular Bavarian tourist attraction next to Neuschwanstein. You can experience moments of culinary bliss in this perfectly stocked store, where customers still mostly pay cash and no inane Christmas music plays over the loudspeakers. “One day, I was feeling really down; I had received bad news from the doctor,” recounts Helga Kiefmann from Gauting. “I immediately went to Dallmayr and bought myself the most expensive treats; that consoled me quite a bit!”

The man in charge carries himself with the same reserve that characterizes the 300-year-old family business. Georg Randlkofer, an elegant man in a gray suit with a neatly trimmed beard, doesn’t make a big fuss when he receives a visitor in the conference room above the storage and retail rooms. In fact, he doesn’t speak about customers at all; in this regard, he’s a diplomat: after all, when official foreign guests are received at the Residenz, he prepares the appropriate menu for them at the request of the state government. Fifty people are busy preparing the food in the Dallmayr kitchens.

“We’re happy with the business during the Christmas season,” says Randlkofer. For him, December 23rd is the best sales day of the year. “I like it when bank board members stand here at the counter and decide on the holiday menu while talking on the cell phone with their wives.” The customers allow themselves time and money for good food – one has to agree with Randlkofer on this point. But is there any truth to the notion that older, tradition-conscious Munich residents shop at Dallymayr, while social climbers in pinstripes from law offices and firms drive to Käfer in Bogenhausen because it’s easier to find a parking spot there for the S-Class Mercedes? “No, actually many young people come to us,” replies Randlkofer. “And singles who enjoy the good life.” Perhaps this is the reason why the firm used to sell 300 geese at Christmas time and now only sells three dozen. Singles prefer mini-portions. Caviar, for example. That can be had in tiny portions.

first page < previous   |   next > last page