Bakers Journal

Editor’s Letter: Finding inspiration

July 2, 2022
By Colleen Cross

Bakers Journal has been out and about making connections this spring – at Bakery Showcase in Toronto in April, at the RC Show in May, at the Canadian Pizza Summit in Vancouver and at the BAC Ontario Chapter’s golf tournament scholarships fundraiser in June.

We’ve been basking in the luxury of seeing friends and colleagues in person and meeting new ones. Making connections is important in what can be a solitary industry. Many learned during the pandemic just how crucial it is to our mental health and ability to make wise business decisions. Making decisions is hard to do in a vacuum. Hearing how other baking professionals are handling thorny issues like being short-staffed or understanding the viewpoint of those working in different types of bakeries may give you insights and context needed to take the next step toward resolving a business, production or technical baking issue. 

It can also give you hope, courage and the gumption to grow your business.

That’s what the BAC and its busy chapters are all about – making connections happen. And that’s something we strive to do in Bakers Journal: our goal always is to be a hub for learning and conversation. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we’ll find someone who does and connect you. Whether it’s a seasoned baker in the association, a list of suppliers (see our buyers guides online and in print), or a business specialist who can give you objective advice, I encourage you to reach out to us.

We believe our Inspirational Bakery of the Year, Westside Bakery, will offer motivation to anyone in the industry who has thought about giving up. Owners Leeanne Tucker and Travis Blake – partners in life and in business – doubled down on their dream of opening a wholesale/commercial bakery despite a worldwide pandemic, and although they took a detour along the way, they realized their dream. 

The detour confirmed to them the importance of community to their sense of purpose and their botttom line. They continue to be tested daily by challenges like soaring ingredient costs, but, brimming with ideas of how they can help others, they face them down one by one. As Leeanne says, failure is not an option!

On another note, Technomic’s latest Insights Report points to some interesting data on sandwiches – that mainstay of all bakery-cafés. It said ingredients perceived as fresh and natural continue to be the highest deciding factors for sandwich purchases.

This was the case back in 2020. However, buying 100 per cent Canadian has become more of a priority for consumers, even above the claims of “made from scratch” and “high in protein.”

Canadians love to support local businesses and will often go out of their way to do so.

What does a small to medium-sized bakery or bakery-café do with this information? Find new ways to highlight the freshness of your products and highlight menu items that are sourced in Canada. In other words, shout it from the rooftops and don’t assume customers know this about your business. It can take several points of contact before the message gets through. When it does, you’ve got customers’ attention and a real claim on their food and leisure dollars.

We wish you a profitable tourist season and a splendid summer of reconnecting with friends, colleagues and loved ones! 

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