A simple country baker

first_imgWhat to buy Barbara, my wife, for her birthday is my latest dilemma. Like many men who indulge their wives outrageously, I could not think what to buy her – she already has me! But I suddenly had a brainwave. I would buy her an honour.But I had a problem. Should I give Tony at Number 10 £5 and a £50 loan to make her a Dame or £10 and a £100 loan to make her Lady? I quite fancied being Lord Phillips the Country Baker myself! Well, you all know by now that it is too late to buy a title. As usual my timing was off. I should have acted earlier. Timing is vital in achieving success in both your business and private lives. Surprisingly enough, my business life is usually marred by being too early with many new products, hence the reason for my lack of success! I remember trying muffins and the sales were very poor so we dropped them. Now we sell quite a lot. A big factor in this was buying a flow-wrapper, which enabled us to give them a much longer shelf-life and make much larger displays.One of the reasons most of our new lines fail is that the sales per shop are low. We can never make a big enough display as our wastage percentage would be astronomical.I have just returned from the Birmingham NEC and the two-day conference of the British Society of Baking. It was absolutely terrific! The speakers were all of a very high standard and anyone attending who did not return home bubbling with enthusiasm and great ideas must have been asleep.The only regret many people had was that Jean Grieves has retired from organising the conference and speakers. To say she will be sorely missed would be the understatement of the year. While I suppose nobody is irreplaceable, she must be as near as you can get to it. All I can say on behalf of small humble members like myself is thank you for making us feel as welcome at the meetings as the large successful bakery companies we get to meet and talk with. By the way, I got to talk to Sir Michael Darrington, MD of Greggs, at the conference and I can assure you he is the odd one out. He got his title on merit! Mind you I did find it hard to understand how such a nice man could allow his company to gazump me on a shop lease and cost me a £1,000. Maybe he had one or two other minor matters to deal with rather than a single shop in Gloucestershire!To put his mind at rest, I will promise not to open shops next to all of his if he promises not to do it again. During the conference the one thing that kept being mentioned was quality; without it there is no way smaller companies like mine can survive.We have to face the fact that the big boys with their buying power can always produce more cheaply than we can, and their quality is good. So we have to be that much better and a very easy way to do this is to use the best ingredients money can buy.If we pay, say, 2p more for an ingredient, we can increase the selling price by, say, 4p because it is a higher quality product. This is how we can make money and compete.last_img read more

Q up for franchising

first_imgThe made-to-order sandwich category has been in long-term decline, but that trend was bucked with the advent of Subway.As noted in British Baker, 9 March, pg 4, the 2007 Key Note Bread and Bakery report says high street bakers increasingly view sandwich chains and cafés as the main competition, ahead of in-store bakeries and plant bread, and many are following suit with made-to order sandwich offerings.”The concept is successful because there’s an argument to say made-to-order sandwiches are superior to, or fresher than, pre-packed,” says Quiznos UK’s head of franchise development Phil Craston. “Made-to-order is a trend that’s here to stay and successes elsewhere in the market have created a business opportunity for us.”With Subway on track for 2,010 outlets by 2010 in the UK, does Quiznos hope to compete on this scale of growth? “Certainly Subway are ahead of us,” says Craston, “but success is not just achieved through numbers and that is not a figure we’re looking to achieve. If a franchise business is all about volume, you can miss some of the finer points of managing the brand and maintaining the brand integrity.following a successful lead”Subway had a head start because they were the first into the market. When a company has explosive expansion it does create an environment and diversity follows. It’s only natural that companies will follow in the wake of another successful company.”With 25 UK outlets now in place, Quiznos has some way to go to match its massive success in the US, where the multi-billion dollar franchise recently appointed former Burger King CEO Greg Brenneman to run the business. There, the chain is adding around 1,000 stores a year, with a total of some 5,000 outlets today.Originally, Quiznos was a chain of pizza restaurants in and around Denver. It switched to making toasted subs after it ran out of pizza bases one day and resorted to serving toppings on baguette bread instead. These quickly proved more popular than the pizzas and, from 18 restaurants in 1991, the firm built up a 1,000-store empire by 2000.outlet plansIn 2001, Kazem Najafi, previously a Burger King franchisee in the south of England, brought the Quiznos franchise to the UK. Looking ahead to the next five years, there are tentative plans to hit 200 outlets right across the UK. This year, Quiznos will build its first stores in Scotland, where Craston sees “a tremendous demand and business opportunity”.One key difference from Subway’s approach is that Quiznos is seeking out higher rental pitches with larger sales areas, rather than clusters of small stores. The hope is to “carefully saturate the market,” says Craston. “You certainly don’t want to annoy your franchisees by opening too many stores that restrict their business or their sales area.”Another difference is that Quiznos is not yet entertaining the prospect of splitting up its business into area directorships; instead it is looking to retain centralised control. “By managing everything centrally, we can ensure consistency. People need to have the same experience in every store they go to.”The consultancy PSS sources ingredients, from cakes to cookies to breads and Craston says a premium is paid for quality ingredients, including up to £11/kg for meat used in sandwiches. Sourcing suppliers has not been a problem, he adds. “Suppliers need to have faith in a business’ future. All of our suppliers have a very good long-term view of where Quiznos is going. The successes in America have meant doors have opened relatively easily for us and we’re taken seriously.”The light and airy baguette bread, made-to-order by Kent-based Speciality Breads to the US specification, is “the special ingredient” in the sandwich, he says. “If we put a traditional baguette-style bread through our toasters, people wouldn’t eat eight-inch sandwiches, because baguette-style bread is quite heavy,” he explains. “Our recipe is designed to be toasted – it’s light and airy and crisps up nicely.”The 22-inch baguettes are delivered frozen into stores. “There is the perception that if you freeze bread, it loses its consistency, but the consistency is always perfect and it creates the right balance with the meat and vegetables.”It takes one minute and 45 seconds to make a sandwich and 120 sandwiches can be made per hour; Quiznos sells equal amounts of the four- and eight-inch subs and relatively few extra large 12-inch options. All ingredients are sliced, ready to meet the crucial lunchtime trade. “People will not join a long queue,” he says. “The subs need to be made quickly. It’s not something people can do from the word go, but it’s important to get right or you risk losing revenue.” Training courses are provided for franchisees to get up to speed in running their business.While Quiznos offers a pricier product – a Subway regular sandwich sells for between £1.99 and £2.99 while Quiznos is £2.49 to £3.49 – Craston believes it offers value for money. “It’s a product that people are more likely to purchase out of choice rather than as a budget decision. In areas where there is a higher-than-average income, we would expect more people to make their eating decisions based on desire. That’s why we don’t want to compromise on the quality.”With competition on the high street fierce for food retailers – not least from Subway – how does Quiznos hope to mark itself out from the crowd? “It’s about identity,” answers Craston. “We like to make a distinction between ourselves and ’fast food’. Quiznos has modelled itself on the delicatessen. There are a lot of brands that come and go very quickly but quality will always find a market.” nlast_img read more

When the chips are down

first_imgCorporate social responsibility may be the buzzwords on everybody’s lips, as green issues hit home with bakery manufacturers. But while some companies are ebbing with the tide of public opinion, others don’t need a gun to the head to bring sustainability to the forefront.Due to its remote location in the north of Scotland, Macphie already employs an environmental manager and has a range of targets, including energy and water usage, packaging reduction and reducing waste to landfill. Chief executive Alastair Macphie says he’s been “spraying sludge” over his estate for years, an image not as horrifying as it first appears.”We’re always looking at more sustainable ways of doing what we do because of our rural setting. Fortunately, they are always the more cost-effective ways,” he says.Yet plans to more than double Macphie’s energy usage, to 1,500-2,000kVA by 2011, along with long-term growth in the business, uncovered massive problems with the creaking rural infrastructure. After calling in the electricians, the company discovered the old wiring wasn’t up to the job. Scottish & Southern, which provides overground power cabling, linking the site to the grid, quoted between £0.5-0.75 million for new cabling to cope with the demand.”They took one look and said the cabling was never designed for a business of our size,” says Macphie, who balked at the jaw-dropping quote. “So we said, ’How can we utilise what we have here as farmers, as well as food producers, to come up with a combined heat and power plant?’”Energy consultants advised against installing a combined heat and power biomass plant. Instead, a grant from the Scottish Executive’s Scottish Biomass Support Scheme buttressed a £1.5m investment in a biomass plant – a boiler fuelled by wood chips to provide just the heat for its factory on the 2,000-acre family-owned estate. The plant, due to be operational by summer 2008, is part of a renewable energy plan that will cut carbon emissions by 2,000 tonnes annually.Initial feasibility of the plant calculates a payback within five to six years, based on an oil price of $65 a barrel. Now that oil prices have jumped to $86 a barrel, the payback will be quicker. The cost of wood chips does fluctuate with the price of oil, but only marginally, says Macphie. “The nearby sawmills have been looking for an avenue to get rid of their ’waste’ – the bark and shortcuts. To chip it and move it three miles to us is a godsend. And between 5-10% of the annual total will come from our own farm.”But storing the 5,000 tonnes of chips needed per year to power the plant presented a problem: to safeguard for contingencies, the firm needed a week’s worth of wood chips, or 100 tonnes, stored on-site. “That occupies quite a big area; that’s where oil beats wood chips hands down!”Machphie’s combined heating and power bill now totals £0.75m, but electrical usage has been reduced by 20% over the last three years and a feasibility study to tac-kle power needs, with sources such as wind turbines is under way. nlast_img read more

New Spin for slush kit

first_imgItalian ice cream equipment supplier Carpigiani has developed the Spin machine to produce slushes, shakes, smoothies and frappés. It features special effects to light up the product inside.Spin features a freezer with one, two or three 12-litre tanks and an indicator light to warn when the drip-tray is full.www.carpigiani.comlast_img

Greggs opens doors to chip and pin

first_imgGreggs has introduced chip and pin technology across all its shops, with customers now able to pay for transactions over £3 by card.Previously an all-cash business, the UK’s largest bakery retailer introduced the new technology because of demand from customers. Chip and pin readers were successfully trialled in 100 stores and are now being rolled out across Greggs’ 1,500-plus estate.“Until recently there hadn’t been the demand from our customers for chip and pin, but we are starting to see that change,” said a spokeswoman. “There needs to be sufficient demand to cover the cost of the facility in the shops and the cost of processing each transaction. Increasingly, our customers are asking for this facility, so we are meeting their requirements. However, we still anticipate that the majority of transactions are likely to continue to be in cash.”last_img read more

Fab Baker Bros to head up Craft Bakers’ Week

first_imgTom Herbert, former BB-columnist and one half of Channel 4’s Fabulous Baker Brothers, and his brother Henry, have been signed as the face of National Craft Bakers’ Week.Tom, a member of the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) and one-time winner of Young Baker of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards, is being used to promote the week which takes place between 7 and 12 October.In an already special year for the NAMB, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a Gala Banquet on 3 November 2012 at The Guildhall, London, the addition of Tom and Henry marks a PR coup for the week.Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the NAMB, said: “Having filmed with Tom and Henry on the last episode of the Fabulous Baking Brothers – and I was told to be miserable, I promise – I am pleased that such talented and genuinely nice brothers have agreed to be the faces of NCBW. They are delighted to support the NA ,and other members in this exciting venture.”last_img read more

Videos: Behind BB75 Jenkins Bakery and Britvic

first_imgBritish Baker spoke to David Jenkins, commercial director at Jenkins Bakery in Llanelli, South Wales, about difficult trading conditions in 2011 and addressing parking issues on the high street.We also spoke to Lindsey Garland, business development manager at Britvic soft drinks – the main sponsor of the first BB75 Lunch. She discussed the importance of the right breadth of range in stores, the highest-performing soft drinks categories for 2012 and formulating relationships with retail bakeries at the event.Music: Pasadena by Emerald Park (Creative Commons licence)YouTube link (David Jenkins): http://youtu.be/dlufCm7nP3YYouTube link (Lindsey Garland): http://youtu.be/324puhfk5Kwlast_img

Study: Indiana the 4th least called state for robocalls

first_img Twitter Study: Indiana the 4th least called state for robocalls IndianaLocalNews Pinterest Facebook Pinterest Google+ Facebook (Photo supplied/ABC 57) Robocalls are on the rise across the U.S. Nearly half the calls made from U.S. cell phones in 2019 were spam according to a report from the Federal Communications Commission.Using data from the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry, Provision Living analyzed robocall complaints in every state to identify where robocalls are happening the most. In the report they analyze which states had the most robocalls in 2019 as well as the states with the most robocalls since 2015.Here’s what they found:Indiana was the 4th least called state in 2019. Indiana residents filed 64,305 robocall complaints, or 972 robocalls per 100,000 residents.Since 2015, Indiana has received the 5th fewest number of robocalls of any state. 338,438 robocalls or 5,117 robocalls per 100,000 residents.Nationwide, robocalls have seen an average increase of 14% since 2015. Indiana saw the highest increase nationwide in that time period at 35%.Top types of robocalls in Indiana since 2015 include debt reduction, imposters and medical & prescription calls.Click to see the full report. By 95.3 MNC – February 20, 2020 0 226 Previous articleSouthwest Michigan man accused of beheading grandmotherNext articleI&M approved to build, operate Michiana solar facility 95.3 MNCNews/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel is your breaking news and weather station for northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. Google+ WhatsApp Twitter WhatsApplast_img read more

Woman charged after leaving baby in a hot car on Grape Road

first_img By Tommie Lee – July 13, 2020 0 421 WhatsApp Google+ Woman charged after leaving baby in a hot car on Grape Road Scorching heat waves combined with heavier rainfall events are among the effects of climate change in store for Indiana, according to the new National Climate Assessment. Photo credit: Scott Liddell/morguefile. A woman has been charged with neglect after leaving a baby in a hot car on Grape Road.Officials say it happened last week when a store employee saw 28 year-old Samantha Ferrell run outside and then return with a baby in a carrier.WSBT reports the baby was described as “very red” according to police, who were called when the employee said the mother didn’t seem concerned.The temperature at the time was 88 with sunshine.Medics were called after the child was found to be nearly purple and overheated.The child was treated and released and the mother was arrested on July 9 and released two days later on her own recognizance. IndianaLocalNewsSouth Bend Market Pinterest Twitter Twitter WhatsApp Google+ Facebook Pinterest Facebook Previous articleKroger stops issuing change in coin form during national shortageNext articleThose accused in Bloomington racist incident accuse victim of lying Tommie Leelast_img read more

News story: World-first register to crack down on criminals laundering dirty money through UK property market to go live by early 2021

first_imgA world-first register revealing owners of overseas companies buying property in the UK will go live by early 2021 to crack down on criminal gangs laundering dirty money in the UK, the government has announced.More than £180 million worth of property in the UK has been brought under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of corruption since 2004. Over 75% of properties currently under investigation use off-shore corporate secrecy – a tactic regularly seen by investigators pursuing high-level money laundering.The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s register will require overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK to provide details of their ultimate owners. This will help to reduce opportunities for criminals to use shell companies to buy properties in London and elsewhere to launder their illicit proceeds by making it easier for law enforcement agencies to track criminal funds and take action.Yesterday in the House of Lords the government committed to publishing a draft bill this summer and introducing it in Parliament by next summer. Following legislation, the register would go live by early 2021.Business Secretary Greg Clark said: We are committed to protecting the integrity and reputation of our property market to ensure the UK is seen as an attractive business environment – a key part of our Industrial Strategy. This world-first register will build on our reputation for corporate transparency as well as helping to create a hostile environment for economic crimes like money laundering. world-first public register will require overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK to provide details of their ultimate owners £180 million worth of property in the UK has been brought under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of corruption since 2004 government will publish draft laws this summer and the register will go live by early 2021center_img The register will also provide the government with greater transparency on overseas companies seeking public contracts.The response to an earlier call for evidence will be published shortly.last_img read more