Business and Operations
Editor’s Note: November 2012
By Laura Aiken
Rogers’ Chocolates is celebrating 127 years in the business.
Rogers’ Chocolates is celebrating 127 years in the business. That means the company has been at it since 1885. Bakers Journal published its first issue in 1938, just six years after the formation of Allied Trades of the Baking Industry, but it’s just a baby at 74 compared to how long it’s been since Charles “Candy” Rogers was serving up chocolates in the back of his grocery store in Victoria, B.C.
Fast-forward nearly 13 decades and technology, economy and consumers are redefining the chocolate and baking industry at a rapid rate. Yet, some things never change. Bakeries are still born in the backs of stores, the basements of homes and the backs of pick-up trucks. And perseverance is still the defining trait of the forces behind every successful bakery business.
This year’s finalists for the Bakers Journal Business Awards – lead sponsored by Fuller Landau Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors and co-sponsored by Puratos and Hallmark Insurance – were no exception to this rule. Congratulations to Red Square Bakery (Burnaby, B.C.), Kinnikinnick Foods (Edmonton), Curbside Bliss Cupcakes (Mississauga, Ont.), The Cake Box (Kitchener, Ont.) and Dessert Lady (Toronto). All of this year’s finalists are real leaders in what they do. And so is Rogers’ Chocolates, profiled in our cover story.
Canada is a competitive place for bakers, pastry chefs and chocolatiers because there are just so many fearless, talented and tenacious entrepreneurs in this country innovating the way we eat. Understanding your competitors is one of the most important aspects of staying in the competition. There are five competitive forces, Bruce R. Barringer and R. Duane Ireland (Pearson Education Inc.) wrote in a case study of Panera Bread and how they positioned themselves as a fast casual bakery café chain. These five forces are rivalry of existing firms (central), threat of new entrants, threat of substitutes, the bargaining power of buyers and, conversely, the bargaining power of suppliers. Within these forces, companies face direct, indirect and future competitors. The authors showed how Panera Bread classified its different types of threats by strength and then systematically reduced the power these threats had in impacting the business while innovating in ways that made it tougher on new competitors entering their space. Getting beyond an awareness of your competitors to a place of analysis is a crucial way to put all the enthusiastic love of your bakery to pragmatic economic use and ensure your bakery stays in the game.
In short, tenacity plus analysis is the math that adds up to the kind of long success Rogers’ Chocolates has achieved. Interviewing our business awards finalists and reflecting on our cover profile’s longevity reminded me of these well-known words attributed to American president Calvin Coolidge: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
If you haven’t given yourself a pat on the back lately for simply toughing it out in this tough business, do it now. You deserve one. Stay tuned to read all about the winners of this year’s Bakers Journal Business Awards in upcoming editions of the magazine.