Good news story: How an artisan bakery has reinvented itself

We spoke to Birgit Gunz, Director of  Frankonia The Bread House about how her business has changed during COVID-19.

“I own an artisan bakery in Surbiton, Greater London which I set up originally in 1998 as a small bakery and shop in Wimbledon Village. Due to high demand I changed from being a retail bakery to a wholesale bakery a few years later and moved to much bigger premises in Surbiton where we are still today. We make our products by hand, do not cut corners and produce a wonderful range of artisan breads, sourdoughs, sandwich bread and breakfast goods on a daily basis.

I supply/ied many 5 star hotels in Central London but also across the whole of the UK. To name but a few, the Ritz, the Savoy, the Goring Hotel, Houses of Parliament and Fortnum & Mason all belong to my list of loyal customers.

When the crisis hit the hospitality sector my business went into free fall and within 48 hours 90% of our sales were wiped out.

Giving up is not in my vocabulary and it seemed to be such a struggle for the public to buy fresh bread. So I moved like lightening and opened a shop at the bakery. We are on an industrial estate away from the high street but we are in a residential area so I thought this stands a chance. I sent my drivers out leafleting and took out some advertising slots on the local radio station and I am pleased to say the shop is going great guns. We have had the most amazing response and I am astonished.

In addition we have also started to deliver to local CO-OP stores and have set up a home delivery service. The home delivery service is being fine tuned at the moment and once this is done I will start to work on a concept for nationwide deliveries to households, which is what I have been thinking about for a long time but wasn’t sure if the market was ready for it. Well I think the time has come so maybe that is my next project.”

Look out for more good news stories as we cover how women are doing good with food during the lockdown and beyond. Be the first to hear by signing up to our newsletter.

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