210,000 clicks on a video: This is Dresden's Instagram bakery

Dresden baker René Krause reaches 350,000 people via his Instagram channel, which he launched a few months ago. How he achieved this.
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Man sieht Dresdner Bäckermeister Juan Rüdrich und René Krause
Björn Buhle (from right) films the two Dresden master bakers Juan Rüdrich and René Krause. © Sven Ellger

From Dirk Hein

Dresden. These are impressive figures, the master bakers René Krause Almost as an aside: 55,000 bread rolls leave his bakery every day, and he supplies twelve of his own specialist stores. The 47-year-old believes it is important that every single loaf of bread and roll is made to the highest quality standards: "just like I learned from my father and he learned from his father," he says. That sounds like tradition - but the baker is surprising. At the same time, he is active on Instagram - and has already reached around 350,000 people with his account there.

Dresden baker launches "pop-up stores" in Berlin

The bakery employs 120 people. Krause, a trained master baker, confectioner and business economist, is currently in the process of expanding to Berlin. With his first store on Friedrichstraße, he wants to bring the Saxon cake and coffee tradition to Berliners and their guests. He has already been there during the Christmas period with his own pop-up stores and at the region's Christmas markets. They mainly sold stollen. "We are an institution in Berlin as a stollen baker," says René Krause.

He is also a member of the national bakery team. "It's a bit like soccer," smiles Krause, only to move on to the actual topic. Within months, Krause, together with his "Instagram face", the young master baker Juan Rüdrich and a small agency in the background, has stirred up social media in the state capital.

55,000 rolls a day: the Krause bakery has its offices and bakery on Bismarckstraße in Dresden. Deliveries are made from here four to five times a day.
© Sven Ellger

Krause has posted over 30 videos, mostly together with 29-year-old Juan Rüdrich, in a short space of time: mainly on Instagram. Other platforms, such as Facebook, are more of a sideline. Good videos are clicked on an average of 50,000 to 60,000 times.

Charming smile despite the hectic bakery

To understand what makes Dresden's Instagram baker tick and why he is successful from a standing start, two videos are actually enough. In the first video, master baker Juan Rüdrich stands in the bakery and makes pancakes under high pressure in mid-January. A voice from the background asks with a slight Saxon accent: "How long does it take you to make a pancake?" The slightly annoyed but friendly baker continues: "I can tell you that I need an hour to make 1,000 pancakes, so you can work that out for yourself."

During the video, the hustle and bustle of the bakery can be heard and seen in the background. Juan Rüdrich fills two pancakes with jam at the same time with quick precision - and still has time to smile at the camera at the end. A lively discussion immediately ensues in the online comments. People are calculating how many pancakes that is per minute or per second, arguing about whether it's called a pancake or something else, and the comment: "Awesome guy" comes up again and again.

This resulted in 430 comments. "We have realized that we feel most comfortable with videos in which we show ourselves as we are. When an excavator operator is literally trying to thread a thread into the eye of a needle with the utmost concentration, he doesn't want to be chatted up from the side," explains Krause. The users on the Internet immediately understood the feeling of the video: "He's a bit pissed off that he's being filmed. He's on a mission, he has to bake pancakes, so it's annoying when someone talks to him."

So much love for baking is rewarded: With 200,000 views, this video is still one of the most clicked on in the company's short history.

"It all started without control, without a plan"

The most important motivation is not "necessarily to have more reach in order to sell more bread. We want to use the opportunity to show the fun of the craft. If there's a mistake in the video, it stays in. It all started without control, without a plan. Nobody knows today whether we'll make three videos tomorrow and none next week," says Krause. Maybe that's why the concept is successful.

This can now be measured in numbers. The baker has almost 350,000 accounts on Instagram. The number of profile views rose by 330 percent in one month. 96% of them come from Germany, including 35% from Dresden, followed by Leipzig, Berlin and Chemnitz. 1.5 percent of all users come from Austria, others from Switzerland and Spain.

But there is still room for improvement. Having only started in earnest a few months ago, the number of subscribers is already comparable to that of other Dresden bakers who are active on social media. "I think we'll have overtaken them in six months," says Krause.

Just a few months ago, this seemed unthinkable. At the very beginning, Juan Rüdrich had a plan: "I knew we had to do this with social media at some point." Everything was to start in the fall of 2023. "Coming around the corner with social media just before Christmas wasn't the smartest time, so I had to find something that didn't involve a lot of work."

Nobody in the bakery has needed special workshops and courses for this. What is made is created spontaneously; in the beginning with little tricks. "It's important that people feel comfortable. In the beginning, the camera got in the way. I then said that it was off, and that's usually when the best scenes were created," says Björn Buhle - the voice that asks the first question in the pancake video.

Björn Buhle films, edits, cuts and publishes the videos.
© Sven Ellger

His company films, edits and publishes the videos for Krause. Björn Buhle was also behind the camera when René Krause and Juan Rüdrich recorded the second video, which is so important for the young team, a few days ago at the Blaues Wunder.

The masterpiece at the Blue Wonder

In the midst of the wave of outrage surrounding the painted cycle paths on the Blue Wonder, René Krause built a ramp out of bread and placed it on the bridgeto symbolically smooth the bumpy path from the sidewalk to the bridge for cyclists.

"I wanted to take the situation at the Blue Wonder with humor and show that The trade can help," says the 47-year-old. In the end, that worked too. Among the almost 300 comments, there was only one negative one. Within a few days, there were over 210,000 more hits.

The video shows: The baker also dares to tackle topics that have been the subject of bitter debate across the city. While others are fighting on social media, the appearance in the video is so disarmingly cheerful that a smile remains at the end.

Nevertheless, the Blue Wonder was more of an outlier. The focus should be on the work of the bakers, the understanding that craftsmanship and high-quality materials cost money. "We have to explain ourselves so often: Why does the bread roll cost more than at the discount store? You can explain that. It's better to show it."

So far, this has happened in many hundreds of individual conversations in the stores. "We reach so many people with one video that a lifetime of individual conversations is not enough." One message is: "People, you're asleep right now, but you want 30,000 pancakes tomorrow. They have to be made first."

"The beautifully photographed egg tart doesn't work"

However, it is important to invest as little extra time as possible in hectic everyday life. "Simply committing to it: 'Every lunchtime at 1 p.m. we're going to do Instagram now, that doesn't work. It shouldn't be a burden or an effort," says the baker. There are no real scripts; the more authentic the scenes are, the better they are received. "It's not the beautifully photographed egg rolls that work, but the real videos."

And: both Juan Rüdiger and René Krause are delighted with the appreciation. "It's motivating to be recognized like this. It's unbelievable that we can do something like this in our profession."

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