Bakers Delight to open 200 more stores under new CEOs

By Sarah Stowe | 08 May 2017 View comments

Inside Franchise Business: new CEOs at Bakers Delight will expand the franchiseFranchising is what makes the difference for the Bakers Delight chain according to its brand new CEOs who have set aggressive targets for the brand’s growth.

The national retail chain that was founded back in 1980 as a single store in Melbourne has reached a new stage in its development as founders Roger and Lesley Gillespie have handed over the reins of their business to daughter Elise and her husband David.

Eight years managing the Bakers Delight business in Canada has honed the younger couple’s skills and they are ready to steer the 600+ chain to a new phase.

The long term target is 800 outlets, starting with 15 new stores in 2018.

David says “We need to set our targets high. Our market penetration is strong in Victoria, and I see no reason why it can’t be the same in Queensland and New South Wales.”

And it is franchising that gives the chain a distinct competitive edge when faced with challenges from supermarkets and incoming online grocery retailers.

“We have locals in nearly every bakery, employing local people, being part of the community through footy clubs and schools. We make our products from scatch, it’s what we’ve focused on. Supermarkets have 100 different areas to focus on.”

With artisan-baking boutiques at one end of the competitive spectrum and the supercheap breads from supermarkets at the other end, there remains a massive opportunity in the middle market, the pair believe.

“We’ll be shifting our focus to a group of customers who don’t shop with us as much as we’d like them to,” says David.

So there will be initiatives to encourage time poor, health conscious young families to shop more often in Bakers Delight and to improve the customer experience – from a click and collect option to updating some store layouts.

As the new CEOs take Bakers Delight into the future, they plan to bring a freshness to the Australian business, Elise says.

“The main thing we want to do now is be innovative and nimble, take some youth and enthusiasm to move things a bit faster, to think more about growth, rather than defending our territory.

“We’re not just changing for the sake of it. It’s about growth, sales and profits for the franchisee, and there’s an appetite for change in the network.”