As some of you know, i’ve been struggling to decide what to do about bread. We don’t make a sustainable profit on our bread. In the restaurant industry its called a loss leader. Meaning a restaurant will sometimes sell things they don’t make money on because there are other things they do make money on (like liquor). But as in our case, when too many people are only buying bread, it doesn’t work. The bakery will quickly go out of business if we keep selling bread to the quantity of people who buy nothing else. (I had orders for 20 dozen bagels this week, for people who mostly bought nothing else!)
Our bread ingredient costs are 400+% more than a wheat bakery. While a wheat bakery pays $14 for $50# of flour, we pay $60+ for grain that we then have to mill and mix. It takes 5-6 ingredients to = that one cup of wheat flour. So our labor costs are also exponentially higher. Some customers have suggested we simply raise our bread prices, but to make the bread sales “sustainable” we’d have to raise the price of a loaf to $20 or more.
There is a reason why GF bread is hard to find. Mass produced GF bread for the most part is starch and white rice –that’s the only way they can profitably sell bread. Those items are cheaper, but also empty calories.
After lots of thought, i’ve decided to sell bread only to our newly established “Buying Club.” Buying Club members are people who commit to buying $75 of non-bread items (sweets and savories) a month. The good news is I have hired a new baker who is making savories only, so we should soon be well stocked with our frozen savories. And we will be soon selling hot pizza by the slice (or whole). And this summer, pasta salads and other such things. To accommodate the occasional buyer, customers can also purchase bread if the bread total is 25% or less of the total one time purchase. (In other words if you spend $3 on a roll, you will need to buy $9 of sweets or savories, to purchase the bread.)
If this doesn’t work out, or it seems like too many people are upset with this new system of selling bread, i’ll have to simply stop making bread. Because it isn’t commercially viable to make the quality of bread that I make.
To sign up for the Buying Club, just tell us your intention to be a Buying Club member (via email or in person) and we will put you on a sheet kept at the register. At first it will be an honor system with us keeping general track of your non-bread sales. (Meaning you DON’T have to spend $75 before being able to buy bread.) Additionally, bread prices eventually will go up slightly.
I know some have told me they don’t eat sweets. We will have several savories you can choose from. If you are vegan, we have several vegan options to choose from. Unfortunately, I have to make this a hard and fast policy. If i make exceptions for one, i’d have to make for all, and that doesn’t work for the viability of the bakery. I need to make sure that the people who are getting bread are the ones who are helping to sustain the bakery.
Thank you for understanding. This goes into affect on March 30th.