Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries—just a few occasions where one thing is for sure: they can’t happen without a celebratory cake. But a delicious cake doesn’t need a special occasion, you just have to believe you deserve it. It’s at these moments that we wonder how great it would be if the best desserts in town were made here. We have some good news: thanks to Sweet City, it can happen.
Even the most skilled amateur pastry chefs and enthusiastic hosts/hostesses may not want to undertake the task of making a complicated, multi-ingredient cake. Although I myself spend a lot of time at the kitchen table, when the stakes are higher, I’m not sure I’d trust the success of my dessert creations. The cream is too runny, the baking powder is accidentally left out, or the cake just doesn’t fit in the fridge—let’s face it, there are plenty of risks. So there’s no shame in taking the easy way out and sampling what our favorite bakeries have to offer. Yes, but ordering a cake is (hasn’t been) nowhere near as easy (so far) as ordering a burger or pho soup on the platform of a food delivery company. Confectioners only take such requests well in advance, and they may not even have the capacity to deliver below a certain threshold. Not to mention that we might know one or two workshops or brands, but if for some reason we don’t like their offer or have specific needs (special flavoring or restrictions), we might get stuck. We spend time Googling, browsing, and end up deciding we’d rather just bring a bowl of scones or a box of biscuits along.
This is what Gergő Bakonyi and Viktor Kassai had in mind when they created the Sweet City online platform in 2019. These two sweet-toothed guys wanted to start a business, but also missed the best pastry shops on the internet space—many brands were either not present or simply didn’t have the time or energy to offer takeaway options. So they started to look for familiar places and professionals with the idea and experienced a general openness. In fact, at first, they were looked at strangely because they couldn’t imagine the two of them delivering the cake in the trunk, but it soon became clear from the introduction that there was more to it than that. One of the concept’s fortes was the practically curated selection: only premium products could be included, for which they asked the help of pastry chef Attila Menyhárt. In addition, they quickly proved that they had thought of everything—they acquired cars (having sold pretty much all their belongings to have the capital) with refrigeration equipment that could safely get the desserts to the finish line. A confectioner didn’t actually have to do anything, the user made the purchase on the Sweet City platform and they were notified. After, all that was left was to prepare and deliver to the courier. Thanks to Gergő and Viktor, they could reach new people and on the customer side, the wealth of options, customizable preferences, and user-friendly interface made the company an instant success.
However, when launching the start-up, even they did not think about the pandemic. This gave them even more impetus, as restaurants and bakeries were not allowed to stay open and people were in a lockdown, but there were still festive occasions, and home delivery was allowed. It’s no exaggeration to say that for many dessert shops, it was a matter of survival to be able to continue to operate, and for customers, a slice of cake was a liberating and joyful moment, even in these trying times. Not only did they provide food for everyone, but they also offered an experience and care—as sugary (pun intended) as it sounds, they truly did provide professional and human service to the market. And they did not exploit their position, they operated then and have operated ever since on a commission-based system. Basically, you can order in advance, but there is a separate category of sweets available immediately, in case of emergency. Professional logistics and a good customer experience, as well as rapid growth, opened the door to the start-up scene for them, resulting in mentoring from Design Terminal and an injection of capital from Hiventures.
The small office is still in the apartment on Pozsonyi Road, but the power of Sweet City reaches much further. On the one hand, Bolo was born, which, in addition to the world of premium confectionery, has brought together bakeries offering good quality but more affordable delicacies. What’s more, it has also added wine, chocolates, bonbons, coffee, and even flowers to its range, so they got the gift covered, as well. They also deliver to the outskirts of the city and even to the Balaton area and have recently expanded to Vienna, under the name Süssburg. Singapore is the only country in the world to offer a similar platform, and the technology, equipment, and automation mean that they have no real competition. For example, the cars have a built-in system monitoring the impact of the package during the delivery (so that if the cake is damaged, the source can be traced), but the shock technology (where the cakes are suddenly cooled to a very low temperature so that the quality is not compromised) allows them to transport a dessert across Europe.
The team is still speculating about what the future holds. After Vienna, they are also looking to expand in Bratislava, Berlin, and Barcelona and are keen to create an exclusive range of the continent’s most special cakes. So we could celebrate with a Hungarian Eszterházy cake in Paris or a Spanish Bubó dessert in Budapest. What’s more, it’s possible that we’ll soon be able to order our cakes to be delivered to refrigerated vending machines. The mission is noble, and the cakes and other culinary delights are esthetic and delicious, so the possibilities are limitless. I only wish that all our sweet dreams come true!