One of the overriding themes of this month's Operations Review story on Cleveland-based Orlando Baking Co. is how the bakery sought new opportunities after its primary market changed. Changes seem rampant these days, with gas prices rising, commodities in crisis, people facing layoffs and a general downturn in the economy.
Unfortunately, the city of Cleveland hasn't reacted well to economic challenges, often forcing businesses to seek opportunities elsewhere. When business declines, the population shrinks with it, causing a cascade of other trends. Businesses remaining in the market may have to re-strategize by realigning their product mix, refocusing their customer strategy or searching out new markets.
Still, Cleveland's economy wasn't the only factor affecting Orlando's business. Foodservice markets have changed considerably during the past decade. Chain restaurants have clearly made inroads in major metro areas and smaller communities as well, driving some independents out of business. Many, if not most of these chains, want a consistent and high quality supply of product from one bakery. “The trend now is consistency, not only in product, but in pricing,” says Nick Orlando, Jr., vice president, sales, Orlando Baking Co.
So, while Orlando Baking continues to build its fresh business in its local and regional market, it is following the path where it sees the most growth in foodservice — by supplying restaurant chains with frozen specialty products.
Another article this month, the Trends & Statistics story on bread, provides further proof of how times of crisis or change can open up new opportunities for bakers. Although rising prices could have driven bread sales down, sales actually remain strong, as consumers buy more bread for sandwich making at home. While this might not be good news for foodservice, it also could be an indication that consumers equate sandwiches, whether eaten in the home or away from home, as a less expensive alternative to other meal choices.
The key is to search out new opportunities in times of change.
If only someone would show the city of Cleveland, my hometown and truly a great place to live, how to identify and seize new opportunities.