Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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February 2017 | | 35 "W e have just a little bit of everything, and I think that's what sets us apart," says Charles Camp of Broulim's Fresh Foods' in-store scratch bakeries. Camp is bakery/deli director of the family-owned chain that operates 10 stores in Idaho. Only two stores don't have scratch bakeries on premise; the other eight produce varying op- tions of scratch-made doughnuts, artisan bread, cookies and deco- rated cakes, with product shipped among the stores so each offers a full line of bakery items. Two stores also feature tortilla machines to make fresh tortillas on site. About five years ago, when the stores transitioned to the scratch artisan-bread program, Broulim's sent its bakers to the San Francisco Baking Institute to learn the basics of bread making, including how to use starters. Now, those bakers act as trainers for the rest of the bakery staff on how to prepare the 20 to 30 varieties of bread and bake them in the hearth ovens. e bakery production area is open to customers' view, so they can watch the bakers work the bread dough or the cake decorators icing and decorating cakes. But to help get that fresh-made point across, the stores regularly conduct "chat and chews," during which staff sample the product and answer any questions that customers may have. "It builds our guest interaction, and we can talk about how it's made," says Scott Zahrn, sales manager. "at's a good time to say it's scratch-made in the store." Or the employees may set up a demonstration table and highlight how well the baguettes partner with different dipping oils. Production is staggered through- out the day so customers can always see activity in the department as well as smell the various products baking. Doughnut production begins at 2 a.m., followed by artisan-bread production at 7 a.m. Cookies and cakes are still being baked as late as 4 in the afternoon. And hot French bread is coming out of the oven until 7 p.m. to tempt shoppers after work. Bakery, as part of Broulim's fresh food strategy, is what sets it apart from the competition. "W e definitely have some- thing that other gro- cery stores don't have," says Bob atcher, bakery director for Highland Park Market, an upscale supermarket company that oper- ates five stores in central Connecticut. "We do a lot of things from scratch," he adds. "We do a lot of our own cheesecakes and fruit tarts, and we make all our own butter- creams. We also make a few breads and coffee cakes from scratch. We don't have a lot of product that we just take out of a box and put on the shelf." All five in-store bakeries have pastry chefs and bakers on site who begin baking at 4 or 5 a.m. To help maintain consistency, atcher travels to each store frequently and invests a lot of time in training the staff, often looking to culinary schools to find talent. Scratch production also allows the bakeries a lot of latitude to fulfill custom product requests, which can turn into regular offerings. As an example, atcher notes that the department's cream cheese icing actually was a result of a customer coming in with a recipe and asking atcher's staff to reproduce it. Most of the production, in- cluding cake decorating, is in view of customers, which helps add to the theater of the department and emphasizes the freshness of the product. "People find that fasci- nating, when they see us doing stuff like that. You don't see that at other stores," atcher notes. e mostly service bakeries have few grab-and-go items; customers have to interact with staff, which gives the Highland Park Market team an opportunity to establish rapport and relationships with shoppers. It also allows the product to be displayed to its best advantage. "e cases really stand out," atcher says, and customers can't help but notice the department when they enter the stores. "You get a lot of oohs and ahhs when [customers] walk in and see the case," he adds. "With bakery, it's a lot of impulse buying, so you have to make it look good." Bakery Highland Park Market, Manchester, Conn. Broulim's Fresh Foods, Rigby, Idaho

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