Bread Ahead is renowned in the artisan bakery world, and the social media one for that matter.

The deep-filled doughnuts and golden sourdough loaves draw in crowds across its five London sites and have even been making an impact in the Middle East, where three locations are up and running.

This is just the start for Bread Ahead as founder Matthew Jones, who set up the business 10 years ago, is eager to see it flourish by grasping the opportunities presented across the globe.

Even with the business’ success, Jones is still a hands-on baker and those visiting a Bread Ahead site are likely to see him filling doughnuts or making sourdough. What’s more, he also manages the bakery’s social media offering fans a sneak peek behind the scenes at Bread Ahead.

Doughnuts in metal trays with lashings of cream filling on top

Source: Bread Ahead

British Baker caught up with Jones to find out how he intends to grow his empire and what advice he has for others in the baking industry.

Bread Ahead marked 10 years in business last year – what is your proudest moment from the last decade?

Definitely being an international brand and the signing of the Middle East contract has been a game changer for the business. Over the next three years, we plan to open 35 more bakeries throughout the Middle East and beyond.

What excites you at the moment and how are you translating this to Bread Ahead?

The baking industry, generally, is a very exciting one. We are really at the forefront of the food industry. At the moment, it is all about laminated pastries, paired with the growth of coffee culture society and the demand for sourdough baking. Essentially, we are all about giving people good honest food.

What are your must have ingredients right now and why?

Good butter, good eggs, good flour – decent raw materials are the staples for any good bakery.

Close up of olive sticks

Source: Bread Ahead

What would your message be to artisan bakers who are having a hard time right now?

I often get messages from other bakers that are having a bad time, often around staffing. Managing bakeries is very hard work. I am very fortunate because I am very much a hands-on part of the business myself. I’m not just a business owner but a hands-on baker so can understand the complexities of all areas of the business. Something I have always stuck by is keep a really simple offering and don’t diversify too much.

How is Bread Ahead maintaining its artisanal ethos as it grows?

What’s imperative here is looking after key members of staff, they are so important and the life blood of the business. Several members of our team at Bread Ahead have worked here for a long time – four, five, six years.


How do you see the bakery market changing over the next few years?

It’s going to keep growing and evolving; it’s really just at the beginning. I also think we are going to create more employment opportunities. I see a huge future ahead in the baking industry here in the UK and globally.

What are your ambitions for the next one, three, and five years?

Over the next few years, our focus is very much on the international growth of the business. We have a huge expansion plan for the Middle East, we are also looking at London-wide and national UK expansion because we believe there is a large opportunity here. Lastly growth into Asia, a massive market. We are already in talks with several parties over there about taking Bread Ahead into Asia.