Good bread makes good sales

Bread, made properly, is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and it’s also one of the simplest to make. Which is why I think it is a shame that so many caterers buy all of their bread in, rather than making it on site themselves.

A lot of industrially produced bread contains processing aids – things that are referred to as ‘improvers’, ‘conditioners’ and ‘preservatives’. These are chemicals which are not really so great for health.

Good bread really is one of the simplest – and most creatively satisfying – things to make. You need just four basic ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast.

When we bake bread ourselves, we can be sure it is pure and nutritious. As long as the customers do actually eat it, of course. And this is the key. Nothing is nutritious if it is not eaten.

All of our Cucina units are under constant pressure to drive sales. We cook all food from scratch, using the freshest local ingredients, but we can only afford to keep doing it if large numbers of students are choosing to eat the food. That means creating excitement and variety to stop them becoming bored.

Baking an ever-changing variety of breads is one really successful way of achieving this.

We like to give quite a bit of free rein to our Head Chefs, encouraging them to experiment with different types of flour: rye, spelt, brown, wholemeal and so on, and to be really creative in their baking.

Adding different ingredients into the bread – seeds, herbs, cheese as well as potatoes, carrots, parsnips and other starchy vegetables to stretch the glutens and build structure to the loaf – adds nutritional value, but equally as important, it also builds the variety so essential to driving our sales.

We have also found fruits like raisins, blueberries, cherries, apples and dates to be fantastic for creating interesting flavours, thereby generating greater interest.

Over the past year, our teams have been baking breads, rolls, baps, flat breads, paninis, focaccias and sourdough loaves with all sorts of seasonings, vegetables and other good things in them. All of our units now mix vegetables into their pizza bases – which is a sneaky way of giving them one of their five a day in one item!

We should never underestimate the fun factor in all this, either. Once Head Chefs have taught their kitchen teams or dinner ladies how to make bread, they can, in turn, enjoy being creative in their baking.

Over the past year, our units have created many fabulous bread products, many of which have been rolled our across all of our contracts. This is another way that we sustain interest, keep our young customers excited about great food and keep our sales high.

Sam Davies
Director of Food

This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.