Health and Safety
Editor’s Letter: December 2015
By Laura Aiken
The holidays are a rush. Literally. You are staffed up, ovens are humming, sales are surging and it smells of sugar and spice everywhere. You’ve got last minute customers and your own last minute shopping. Gift sets to create and gift sets to buy. Holiday samples and holiday parties. For many, the Christmas season is as exhausting as it is fun. This sentiment can double for those whose businesses boom during this time.
Somewhere, at the end of it all, there is a rest for you. I hope.
Bakers are an incredibly hard-working set, and while the holiday madness is no time for much needed sloth, it is important to remember to care for oneself during times of chaos. Be a baker on a wee break when you can, for it is in these moments with your eyes closed and the world rushing around elsewhere, that you may solve the dilemma that’s been keeping you up at night. Daydreaming can be quite a neglected place to be, and for plenty of bakers, I’m sure sleep over the holidays can take a back seat too.
Busy times are when you see your operational processes at their peak: what works and what doesn’t. Something mildly inefficient during regular times will be amplified to visibly costly during a December 23 last-minute rush. Your employee whose customer service or skills aren’t quite up to speed will now cause a ripple effect. In the end, it is all more stress for the bakery owner at a time when more stress is the last thing needed. And of course, in the middle of a rush is a tough time to fix things.
It’s a harried occasion, but oh what a joy the holidays can be — and not just for your bottom line. It’s a time for rewarding staff, for treating your customers to something extra special, and for relaxing with loved ones as much as possible. The more you give, the more Christmas will seem like a spirit to be in rather than a never-ending to-do list. Perspective is half the battle over the holidays. There is no better fit for the ‘work hard play hard’ mantra than Christmas.
So take a deep breath, fire up the ovens and get ready to play. What new creation will you surprise your customers with this year? Our cover story on page 8 takes a look at modern twists on two Christmas classics: fruitcake and shortbread. From gorgonzola and pistachio shortbread to fruitcake coated in carbonated maple syrup batter, the bakers interviewed for this story know a thing or two about keeping the traditional fresh and new, but also basic and old-fashioned.
And, after you’ve played to your heart’s content, close the doors and give you and your staff the much needed time to unwind that you all very much deserve.
The New Year will be upon us soon, and with it our new goals and aspirations for the 12 months ahead. The team at Bakers Journal wishes you all the best to you and yours this Christmas season and a successful leap into the year ahead. Cheers!