What’s happening in the bread business? Bakers Delight takes our Q&A

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

The Australian bread market is a mature industry and the consumer taste in bread is changing. So how does one of the major food franchises in Australia see the future in the bakery market? Meagan Sanders, group manager, marketing, at Bakers Delight takes our Q&A.

What drives consumer bread purchasing?

We find that our customers are consistently driven by flavour, quality and experience. Nothing quite stacks up to the taste of fresh bread and baked goods, especially when they are still warm out of the oven.
Our customer is also concerned with healthier options, and ingredient integrity. By using simple tried and true recipes, with fresh high quality ingredients, we find we don’t need to supplement with preservatives or additives. 
We also take genuine pleasure in what we do, in delighting our customers and being an active member of the community. An authentic interest in our customers is what keeps them coming back.

How do you cater for gluten free and gourmet tastes?

Evolving tastes, emerging ingredients and growing health and diet concerns form part of our constant market monitoring.
When we see a new trend that also fits our brand values, we will experiment and love to bring new and different products to our customers. For example, in the next couple of months we will be offering Herb & Garlic Pane di Casa for a limited time. 
Gluten-free brings very specific challenges with it. Because we bake fresh bread in our bakeries using raw ingredients, and because gluten travels in the air, to produce gluten-free bread we would need to make this outside our bakeries, meaning it wouldn’t be baked fresh every day. Unfortunately because of this, we will not be producing gluten-free bread in the foreseeable future. 

Given that the bakery market is mature, what potential is there for growth within your business?

The bakery market is mature, but it’s also facing an exciting time of growth. Delicious fresh bread never goes out of fashion. This coupled with the foodie revolution, the passion we are seeing from consumers for fresh delicious product and new exciting flavours and formats, we are confident that this growth period is here for a while.

What does a new franchisee need in a location to ensure it is viable?

When considered as a function of the sales, the total cost of occupancy (rent, outgoings, promotional fees, etc.) needs to be low enough to make the business viable. Having a Bakers Delight bakery close to the registers of a major supermarket is also an advantage.
Where this is not possible, being on the main customer path between the car park and the supermarket is a terrific alternative. The local demography is vitally important to Bakers Delight. 
The company has census data that provides such things as the income of the customers in the surrounding areas, the amount of money the customers spend on bread and bread-related products, as well as the ethnicity and the employment status. 
The strength and vibrancy of the High Street or the shopping centre where the bakery is/will be located and the quality of the surrounding retailers from both a brand and a fitout perspective is also important. 
Parking access to the bakery and parking access for the customer when they arrive at the centre has to be taken into consideration. If the car park is hard to approach or it too far away from where our shop is, it can strangle customer numbers and impact heavily on sales performance.
The Bakers Delight property managers take all sorts of factors into consideration when looking at both opening new sites, as well as when they negotiate a renewal for an existing bakery.

What is the biggest challenge now and how will that change?

Externally, we are continuously aware of competitive activity, in particular anything that runs the risk of commoditising the category. 
As bakers of fresh bread daily we are truly passionate about what we do. We try to always walk the talk, to show our customers exceptional value and exceptional product.
This brings me to our biggest internal challenge. With a large distributed network, with every bakery we try to find the right balance of autonomy at a local level to meet unique market needs, while still delivering a consistent offer to the highest standard to every customer every day. It’s a tough but important balancing act.