The Story behind the success - from consultant to baker
It was a beautiful summer day in 1995 when Gregor Gerlach and Christian Kiefer were enjoying a fresh bagel sandwich on the terrace of a bagel shop in Chicago. They were wondering why there weren’t any bagels in Germany. In that moment, the idea of today’s “Bagel Brothers-Sandwich Restaurant” was born, which came to realization in Germany in July 1996.
„From now on, you are a baker“, shouted Gerlach and Brother Kiefer realized suddenly his new destiny, which entailed that the 29 years old business consultant had to switch trades in a hurry. Brother Gerlach, however, forgot the other half of the job description. Kiefer had to also become construction manager, cook, buyer, kitchen planner, and human resource manager- all in one.
After countless nights of baking in bagel bakeries in New York, New Jersey and Chicago, training, researching, business planing and location searching, the adventure started. The first Bagel Brothers sandwich restaurant opened with 50 seats in the Nikolaistrasse in Leipzig. The assortment varied from 11 different types of freshly cooked and baked bagels to muffins, brownies, cookies and donuts as well as espresso specialties, drinks, fresh juices and salads.
According to the legends, the round bread with the hole in the middle modelled after a stirrup originated in Vienna in 1683. In the twenties of the last century, bagels started their victory course from New York all across the United States of America.
The new “bagel experts“brought the dough machines straight from the USA. Having had no previous baking experience, however, approaching this project with a naive but nevertheless brave outlook, they started baking bagels „just like in the USA“, set in their ways of not making any compromises regarding the German market. Their biggest fear was the cheap bagel copies, also referred to as „Bread with a Hole", which were soon featured but even faster removed from many gas stations shelves throughout Germany.
This outlines the beginning of bagel brothers, a unique new concept, name and design. The missionaries Gerlach and Kiefer did not only create a new company but became co-founders of a new category: high quality fast food. This new category uniquely combines „fast“ service with individually customized and fresh products. Self-service does no longer mean old and stale products. At bagel brothers every customer witnesses and contributes to the creation of his/her bagel sandwich. Fresh bagels are part of today’s lifestyle, however, not exclusive but reasonable and also healthy.
The perseverance of bagel brothers was rewarded. In June 2001, they opened their second restaurant in Hannover with 50 seats, serving approximately 500 guests per day. Due to its success, the expansion continued leading to openings of restaurants in June 2002 in Gänsemarktpassage in Hamburg, and in December 2003 in Karl-Liebknecht- Straße, Leipzig, respectively. In the last few years, two more restaurant openings followed in Hamburg (Osterstrasse and Ottenser Hauptstrasse) making Hamburg the bagel capital.
Once enough experience and fine-tuning with their wholly owned and operated restaurants were achieved, growth through franchise became the logical next step. A new bagel brother was taken on-board. Mario C. Bauer whose responsibilities primarily entail franchise expansion strengthens the shareholding team.
Franchise restaurants in Bonn, Hannover, and Frankfurt reiterate the success of the team and concept. More restaurants are about to open in Frankfurt, Berlin and Bratislava. The “brothers” have been able to positively pass their idea and concept on to customers and employees. Join the team and become part of the vision.