Café Fromme on Breite Straße is an institution. On Saturday evening, operator Gregor Fromme closed his shop for the last time – after more than 100 years, the end is certain.

When operator Gregor Fromme closed his café of the same name on Breite Straße on Saturday evening (May 18, 2024), it was different than usual. Because it was the last time. The traditional pastry shop is closing its doors after a total of 126 years.

Gregor Fromme took over the café as operator from his parents in 2014; his 85-year-old mother still regularly helped out in the business. Gregor Fromme explains to why he decided to take this difficult step.

“There are many reasons for this,” says the operator, adding: “We would have to invest quite a lot to get back up to date with the latest technology, especially in the bakery.” In addition, his daughters are not willing to continue the family business to take over the future.

Another reason, probably the most crucial, is the lack of staff. “We actually need six to eight pastry chefs here. Recently, however, we only had two – and they also failed at times,” says operator Fromme.

This development has been particularly noticeable since the Corona pandemic, as Gregor Fromme says: “We have had to cut six to eight jobs in the last two or three years because we couldn’t find any staff. There are also two apprenticeship positions that we were no longer able to fill.” Other bakeries have recently had to close due to a high staff shortage.

So a 100-year success story ended on Saturday evening. Since 1892, Café Fromme in Cologne has been a popular place for cakes, tarts and coffee specialties. There will be a clearance sale from May 22nd to May 31st, where the Frommes will offer the inventory to those interested.

“And then it’s finally over. Of course, it took a while before we decided to take this step, but we’re really happy now. It’s been very stressful over the past few months; a lot of things have forced us to give up the shop. We no longer had a choice,” says the café owner.

Gregor Fromme wants to take a sabbatical after his café ends. And then? “I don’t know exactly yet. I’ll see whether I can imagine returning to work or not. First of all, we want to calm down a bit.” A successor is already ready: a Danish bakery chain is taking over the store on Breite Straße.

By Niklas Brühl (nb)

The original for this article “Traditional café closes after 132 years – operator addresses major problem” comes from