Baking in house v Ordering Bread

How to figure out what is right for your venue

Managing a foodservice business is always a balancing act. Balancing staff, orders, menu changes, administration, customer service – there are always so many decisions to be made, and never is one simple and straight forward. One decision we often come across in our line of work, is the decision by venues whether or not to bake their own bread in house before busy services.

Of course, this is a topic close to our heart and something that we are always happy to discuss with busy café and restaurant owners. So if you’re deciding between taking the plunge with baking your own or getting a regular bread order, here are some factors you should consider:

Space: First off, take a look at your kitchen. Do you have a space you could dedicate to making your own bread? The most important consideration isn’t necessarily space for mixing and kneading dough, but for resting and baking. Do you have enough flat space to rest several loaves at once? Perhaps a rack? How much oven space can you dedicate to baking?

If you’re one of the few lucky ones who have a kitchen not rammed into the corner of the venue, baking bread is a real option. If not, you should consider ordering in frozen bread (in small cartons that won’t take up too much space in your walk in).

Investment: Next, consider the investment you’ll need to make to begin daily bread production. Of course there’s the equipment and ingredients. But also consider the extra hours you will need to pay a member of staff.

Time: While we are talking about extra hours. Consider what time of the day is best for you to bake bread. If you are an all-day venue, early morning (very early morning) will be best as you won’t want to be baking when you’re in the middle of a busy service. If you open for just lunch or dinner, you’ll need to talk to your staff about coming in early, or finishing late to create the bread for the next day.

Skills: The final thing to consider is the skills of your staff. Just because you have a crack team of amazingly skilled chefs does not mean that they are necessarily skilled bread bakers. You may need to hire someone new to fill the role, or train up existing team members to ensure that the bread you bake in house is up to scratch and worth the extra investment.

Baking your own bread in today’s busy foodservice landscape is definitely a luxury. And one that not all venues can afford (whether it is because of time, money, skills or space). We are here to help with affordable, high quality alternatives that will keep your customers happy, your kitchen roomy and your prep chefs pleased.

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