Thursday, January 22, 2004
Thanks to a rather round-aboutation, we found this wonderful site: My Own Business. They offer a very well structured entreprenuerial course on line, with lots of lovely extras. We already had much of this information via mentorship with a local prominent businessman. And we've been implementing them in an apparently haphazard fashion on this blog (it really is more organized than it appears - we just happen to be in our test-marketing phase, which is exciting and quite unpredictable).
But if you don'y have a local businessman who is willing to devote some
time to answering your questions and steering you around, this site gives you everything we got from our mentor - and then some.
Who says clicking around will get you nowhere?
Anyway, back to our mentor: He adored franchises, and was forever questioning how we planned to make our bakery a franchise, which did spur certain thoughts. In the end, we've decided franchising is not a viable option for the sort of business we want. We've noticed that the quality becomes static and descends to catering to the common demoninator in bakeries when they are franchised. Bakeries we once loved for their ethnic breads have turned to parbaked and premixed products, and the breads have suffered as a result.
In our research - and our test marketing - we have discovered people adore the personal touch, love the full-bodied ethnic breads, and are willing to pay the price for that sort of enduring quality.
When you have a 72 year old man standing before with tears running down his cheeks because the bread slice you just gave him tastes exactly as he remembers from when he was a little boy growing up in his home country - how could we offer the standardized breads of other bakeries?
When there's a college student who tastes a slice of bread, and starts telling you it's just like the bread she ate on a student exchange program that she thought she'd never find in the US, and offers to buy the rest of the loaf right then to share with her friends - how can we limit ourselves to a few "favorites"?
When someone eats their very first slice of fresh baked bread, the look on their face is priceless, the ecstasy that comes from closed eyes and a smile that won't quit - how can we offer less than our best?
Sure, parbaked bread is convenient. It reduces manhours, and thus lowers employee costs and overhead expenses. But something special is lost.
One of the things we want to bring back is that special touch: the artisan bread, the daily bread, made fresh from scratch. We want to see that look of remembrance, that joy that something once thought lost is found again.
Plus, you know, homeless hungry people don't always get the best. By having the best bread in the city - and soups and desserts - we will be offering a little bit of dignity to them, and maybe an inspiration to help them find a way off the streets and back into a productive (for them) life. We aren't even averse to giving more help in the way of employing them. Sometimes, all they need is for someone to give them a moment of dignity.