Eight years since their first location opened its doors, they are busier than ever, using digital innovation to spread their message.
They say that great food begets great ideas. In Mike Lanner and Moriz Piffl’s case, the idea was born out of a lack of cake—the moist, sugary, crumbly kind that grandma used to make. Fast forward eleven years, a late-night dessert craving morphed into a mission that is shaping the conversation around old age poverty, loneliness, and generational divides in the DACH region. Completed by Julia Krenmayr, David Haller, Hannah Lux and Cornelia Kamleitner, the Vollpension founders’ team built a business around employing senior citizens in the making of great desserts.
Old-age poverty and loneliness are pressing issues worldwide, with some OECD countries reporting that almost a third of people aged 66 or older live in relative income poverty. By employing older citizens, Vollpension doesn’t only facilitate communication and cultivate community, they also make a tangible impact by increasing their older employees’ monthly disposable income by approximately 40%. What’s more, with a team made up of people of all ages, they create a real-life space for intergenerational exchange.
Walking into a Vollpension Generationencafe feels a bit like going back in time—in the best way possible. The throw pillows on the mismatched couches are fluffed, the smell of plum cake floats in the air, and in the kitchen, grandmas tell stories as they roll out sugary dough. A nostalgic scene with a funky, contemporary twist, it’s one of the reasons why Vollpension has become so beloved among the Viennese.
The concept required careful planning and lots of dedication, but the hard work definitely paid off. Today, Vollpension has expanded into two Generationencafes, various pop-up and mobile options such as the Buchtelmobil, as well as a growing digital and media portfolio. Always looking to add some spice to the everyday, the cafes host periodic events where people of all ages gather for pub quizes or baking classes—yes, that means you can learn how to make apple strudel directly from one of the grandmas. Additionally, the new Vollpension Studio offers a space for photo shoots, workshops or unique celebrations.
The forward-thinking Vollpension team quickly realized how much potential there is online, especially for their senior employees. Born initially as a solution for the pandemic-related lockdowns, the BakAdemy today invites older citizens to share their knowledge and make an income by teaching baking classes online.
Launched in the German language in 2020, the platform has since been expanded to allow seniors all over the world to share their recipes and passion for baking. “I find being able to teach from my own kitchen a great idea. I get to cook with young people from all over Austria, and it’s so great to get to communicate with others,” says Karin, one of the grandmas leading her own masterclass. In its first year of existence, the platform had already hosted over 100 masterclasses with more than 500 attendees.