Demel (German: Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel) is a famous pastry shop and chocolatier in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 1786 on the Michaelerplatz. In 1857, August Dehne (the son of the founder Ludwig Dehne) gave the company to Christof Demel, who moved the bakery to the Kohlmarkt, where the Demel is still located today in its original building. The company, once a purveyor to the Imperial and Royal court of Austria-Hungary, was headed by the Demels until 1972, when Udo Proksch bought the company. In 1989, the year Proksch was arrested, the Raiffeisen Bank became the owner of the famous company. In 2002 Do&Co took over the Demel.
The white-aproned waitresses — the Demelinerinnen — address the customers using traditional, polite language, "Haben schon gewählt?" or "Wollen etwas zu sich nehmen, wenn belieben?". Caberet singer Helmut Qualtinger extoled their timeless quality in his song, "Die Demelinerinnen".
Demel has one additional location in Salzburg. Demel formerly had a small cafe at the Plaza Retail Collection in the Plaza Hotel in New York, but this location has since closed (as of March 2010). The corporate website indicates they are continuing to look for a new location to operate in New York.
The Vienna site features a museum with artifacts about the history of the Imperial chocolate-making bakery.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, a legal battle over the use of the label "The Original Sacher Torte" developed between the Hotel Sacher and the Demel bakery. Eduard Sacher, son of Franz Sacher, the inventor of Sachertorte, had completed his own recipe of his father's cake during his time at Demel, which was the first establishment to offer the "Original" cake. Following the death of Eduard's widow Anna in 1930 and the bankruptcy of the Hotel Sacher in 1934, Eduard Sacher's son (also named Eduard Sacher) found employment at Demel and brought to the bakery the sole distribution right for an Eduard-Sacher-Torte.
The first differences of opinion arose in 1938, when the new owners of the Hotel Sacher began to sell Sacher Tortes from vendor carts under the trademarked name "The Original Sacher Torte". After interruptions brought about by the Second World War and the ensuing Allied occupation, the hotel owners sued Demel in 1954, with the hotel asserting its trademark rights and the bakery claiming it developed and bought the title "Original Sacher Torte".
Over the next seven years, both parties waged an intense legal war over several of the dessert's specific characteristics, including the change of the name, the second layer of jam in the middle of the cake, and the substitution of margarine for butter in the baking of the cake. The author Friedrich Torberg, who was a frequent guest at both establishments, served as a witness during this process and testified that, during the lifetime of Anna Sacher, the cake was never covered with marmalade or cut through the middle. In 1963 both parties agreed on an out of court settlement that gave the Hotel Sacher the rights to the phrase "The Original Sachertorte" and gave the Demel the rights to decorate its tortes with a triangular seal that reads Eduard-Sacher-Torte.
- Philipp Charwath, Wen ist anders - Ist Wien anders?, p. 894
- Anne Commire (1999), Women in World History, p. 493, ISBN 0787640638, "In a hectic and unstable world, Demel's has come to signify an unchanging world of tradition, perhaps best described by the Viennese cabaret artist Helmut Qualtinger in his song "Die Demelinerinnen" ("Demel's waitresses")..."