It's July and that means it's time for Modern Baking's annual Leadership Awards. This issue is one of the editors' personal favorites, and we hope it's one of yours, too. More than any other issue, this one allows us to find out what is really going on in your bakeries, and what you are doing to be successful.
We all need some good news, perhaps now more than ever. And, guess what, success stories abound in the baking industry even in this tough economic climate. Whether it's Companion's new initiative to spotlight its breads in local restaurants or Daube's Bakery working years to create the perfect cream cheese carrot cake, plenty of you are doing the little things that count: remaining committed to product quality, taking the time to properly train your staff, pursuing creative marketing ventures, ensuring management procedures are in place, merchandising your products to highlight the pride you had in making them and serving your industry. These seven criteria are what this issue of Modern Baking is based on.
Although all bakeries strive to be the best in all of the seven categories recognized in this issue, it can be easy to lose focus. One common theme echoed by all 14 of our leadership winners was the importance of communication, both with staff and customers. In the bakery, keeping everyone on the same page is critical to achieving success in all seven categories. Your staff needs to know where the bakery is heading, whether its new production techniques you want to introduce or the goals you have set for increasing sales.
To achieve those sales goals, letting customers know what's going on in your bakery is vital. Both Paul Conforti and Frank Zehnder, whose bakeries were recognized for leadership in marketing, could not stress enough the importance of e-mail. And, not just to send your customers a coupon. Use it to create a back-and-forth dialogue between you and your customers. Sometimes, bakers can get so caught up in the behind the scenes machinations of the bakery, they forget it's the customers who it is all about. Listen to what they say, you might be surprised.
Again, congratulations to all 14 bakeries honored in this leadership issue and thank you for reminding us that good things happen even in tough times.