November

Fit for purpose: Part 5 - store format

Richard Hamilton of Agile Space elaborates on his step-by-step guide to revamping your shops
Is there a perfect store format or is flexibility the key to success? The initial format of a store is usually determined at the start-up of any business and is dictated in part by premises, along with product offer. However, evolution can take your brand to new customers if it evolves with flexibility in mind.
Take Pret A Manger, for example. This started out in Victoria, London in the late 1980s as a deli-led sandwich shop, offering a similar concept to the current Philpotts offer. The initial store and operation was designed with large chiller displays packed full of fresh produce, enabling customers to select their own filling and witness their sandwich being made fresh.
As Pret developed from one store, the two founders, Julian and Sinclair, began to realise what was working and that they had to strike a balance between losing the freshly made appeal versus valuable store space initially used for queuing. The sandwich prep moved to a back-of-house kitchen and the product range, although less tailored to individual customers, was now a core range, pre-packaged in display cabinets enabling a rapid transaction and increased turnover.
Take-away sales replaced the deli and the natural evolution was to stick in some stools. Eat-in could be defined as being less luxurious than a café, but for many this begins, without thought, as a row of stools against an eating bench in a window. Like many retailers, the stools were a great success for Pret, as customers could sit and enjoy their sandwich while being a living window display. However, as new competitors hit the high street, Pret recognised the need for good coffee and the value it could add if executed properly.
Once coffee was fully introduced, the first café format was launched in Putney in the early 2000s and sat alongside a full range of stores from take-away to eat-in and, eventually, a freestanding kiosk. Each format worked, each format sold a core range of products, had a kitchen, sold good coffee and, critically, held true to the initial ingredients that made that first store a great success.
l Next month: what a store should look like

Letters

These are interesting times for those involved in the baking industry today. British Baker is reporting on some challenging issues and is clearly working for a response from officials, which industry can work with.
There are many products using high quantities of fat. People should be encouraged to moderate consumption. Reducing fat levels/quality of fat is a wholly inadequate solution. These products are supposed to be a "treat" not just "ordinary".
Regarding salt: it is difficult for bakers to come to agreement on this issue. Ian Barrett's letter (BB, 23 October) makes some interesting points. However, his argument is fundamentally flawed. We are talking about salt levels in the finished product. Using Baker's Percentages, many a recipe is formulated using salt at 2% on flour. Personally, I have been adding salt at 1.8% for over 10 years. I am sympathetic to trying to get this down to 1.5%, but I believe in long fermentation; I like the toughening effect of the sodium ions on the gluten in the dough; it helps to achieve full hydration; control of fermentation is implicit; and finally, yes, flavour is better. But most bread of today needs high salt to overcome lack of flavour. If you consult the work of Professor Raymond Calvel, it is obvious that salt levels in bread dough have increased significantly since the emergence of "no-time" dough.
Salt levels and 'bad' fat are part of a big picture; so too are all the hidden substances that never get as far as the label. My challenge to industry is: declare these! If the Food Standards Agency starts to get tough on this as well, today's bread industry will really have to change.
Andy Smith, bakery lecturer, Newcastle College and bakery consultant

Spice rack: Aniseed

Aniseed grows in the Mediterranean in sheltered, sunny spots. The plant produces flowers similar to parsley. It bears a strong resemblance to dill, fennel, coriander, cumin and caraway, all of which have a slight liquorice flavour.
The seeds are oval, brown and ridged and are harvested from the plant in the autumn. They should not be confused with Chinese star anise which, although similar in taste and aroma, is not botanically related. Aniseed is available commercially, both as seeds, ground and also as oil. It is traditionally found in baked goods from around Europe.
At Christmas time in Germany, Springerle biscuits are made using flour, eggs, baking powder and icing sugar.
The ground aniseed is added either to the mixture or sprinkled on the baking tin. They have special rolling pins or moulds to press designs on the biscuits before they are baked. Aniseed can be added to breads, muffins, biscuits and tarts.

In my world

Tom Herbert is a fifth-generation baker and director of Hobbs House Bakery, a multi-award-winning craft bakery, based in Gloucestershire

Anneliese shows off tin technology

German firm Anneliese was showcasing bakeware: tins lidded or unlidded. Made from aluminium steel or stainless steel, Anneliese offers optional anti-stick coatings.
All the tins are compatible with automated or robot stacking and there is a wide choice of frames, some of which double up as ergonomic handles.

Double deal for bakers

Capway and Rademaker announced they had entered
into a preferred partnership deal at Iba.
Under the terms of the deal, Rademaker will provide front-end dough make-up equipment and Capway will supply provers, coolers, tin or tray handling systems and robotic storage, as well as loaders and unloaders.
Capway also launched a new microwave frequency oven for breads, rolls and pizzas. The company has been working for five years with the University of Utrecht on microwave frequency ovens, particularly suitable for crustless bread, which appeals to catering companies, sandwich makers, children and the elderly.
Also new is a camera diagnostic system used for par-baked bread, which is suited to highly automated bakeries. If there is a technical problem, Capway is able to see exactly where it is occurring.

Unifine displays its passion for pastry

Glamour and passion were two themes on the Unifine stand at Iba. The Decorgel range of gels and toppings provide a translucent sparkling covering to desserts while imaginative fond flavours were included in goods such as Ricotta and Orange and Honey flavour cookies. New premixes, fonds flavours and fillings all fed into a 'Passion for Pastry' theme. However, longer shelf-life and elimination of E numbers also played a part.
Unifine launched a new premix for a chocolate Swiss roll and a range of top-quality jams including damson, plum and apricot. These contain 70% fruit and are freeze-thaw stable.
Unifine also showed a stabilising system for whipping cream, which can go into mousses and icings, and there were several new lines based on a gold and silver theme, which are eye-catching for Christmas or birthdays. These included 2D sugar shapes.

Toolbox opens up supply chain

Toolbox Bakery Solutions offers supply chain management specifically for bakeries.
Graham Jones (below) who represented the company at Iba said: "Our customers are bakers with 20 or more shops or big industrial bakers."
The full supply chain management involves raw material handling, production, stock, distribution and transport. Jones added: "We believe users can recover their investment in 18 months because we reduce labour time and costs and provide traceability, speed and controllability through despatch."

Bakels gives Diamond touch to cakes and desserts

"Bakels Multiseed is now the biggest-selling product in four of our worldwide businesses," Paul Morrow, international managing director, told British Baker at the recent Iba exhibition in Düsseldorf. Two new products were demonstrated by Bakels at the show: Diamond Glaze Extra and Frutojam Gourmet. And the firm also displayed a new Blueberry Crumble mushroom-shaped muffin.
Diamond Glaze can be applied with a palette knife on the flat surface of mousse, cakes and desserts at both frozen and ambient temperatures. When heated up to 50C it is stable on mousse cakes and pastries of any shape. It is ready to use and freeze-thaw stable.
Frutojam Gourmet is a range of bakery jams containing 45% fruit while Bakbel Blueberry Fruit filling is made from Wild Canadian Blueberries.
Bakels group chairman Armin Ulrich said: "These are much more expensive than the farmed varieties but you can really taste the difference." The fruit fillings range, called Lafruta, typically contains 70% fruit.

60-second sales pitch

Claire Brown, national sales manager, weCAN Solutions
So, you supply electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) systems into bakeries. Much interest?
A few years ago, I asked the financial director of a large bakery firm, "Do you have a keyboard I can borrow?" My question was met with a quizzical, then a glazed look. "We bake bread, we don't do IT," she said.

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