Warrens Bakery’s Jason Jobling explains to Abbie Dawson how the firm’s hard work has paid off with winning the 2018 Baking Industry’s Craft Bakery Business Award.

For Jason Jobling, operations director at Warrens Bakery, winning the Craft Bakery Business of the Year category was the stamp of approval he had been waiting for.

“We’re so proud. It has given something back to our team who work so hard,” Jobling tells British Baker. “We’re always giving feedback internally, but to get that external recognition is great.”

Warrens Bakery has made the finalist list for the category before, but this is the first time it has taken home the winner’s trophy.

 “I think what made us stand out to judges this year is that we’ve been on such a journey for the past seven years or so, trying to create a brand and an image and now everything is in place,” explains Jobling.

“We ran our first ever Budding Baker competition this year, and we’re looking at other ways to bring the next generation into the industry – that’s really important for us.”

As a baker by trade, Jobling believes the key to running a successful bakery business is having a passion for the industry, and the right people around you.

“Never stop working,” he adds. “Build your brand and don’t stop building. Just because you’re the best one year, that doesn’t mean you can stand still. You have to keep going, or someone else will become better and you’ll quickly be swallowed up.”

Following the win in September, Warrens Bakery decided to give something back to its customers, opting to give out Baking Industry Awards-branded vouchers entitling the holder to 50% off their next purchase. Jobling says it was important that customers got something too as, without them, the business wouldn’t function.

Jobling has advice for businesses considering entering next year’s awards.

“Don’t be frightened. Some people don’t enter because they don’t think they’re good enough. I think, just go for it!”

He adds it’s important to include every detail in your application, as something you might see as an everyday, mundane task, such as waste control and recycling, could be crucial to one of the judges.

Since winning the title, Warrens has bought back three of its franchise stores to operate as managed sites and has announced a store opening at Bristol airport. “We want to make the business a success, so we bought back the three stores, and we’ve got eight new stores opening before Christmas, including one at Musgrave Hospital in Taunton.

“We’ve found that high streets and town centres are challenging, and there’s a risk involved, so, while we’ll continue to open new sites, we might look to move away from those areas.”

Sponsor’s comment

“Warrens Bakery embodies a modern craft bakery business where products are made by skilled bakers, using traditional skills handed down from generation to generation.

While the firm has been crafting hand-crimped Cornish pasties for more than 150 years, it has also diversified into new product areas to keep its offering fresh and relevant for today’s customers. We were impressed with Warrens’ product offering and the way in which it has expanded using a franchise model for its retail outlets, supported by innovative marketing. This is a forward-thinking craft bakery business.”

Tim Clarkson, sales director – distributive accounts UK, Dawn Foods