Photo Credit : Ian Carlson at Ian Carlson Photography www.iancarlsonphotography.com.au
From the humble beginnings of a lone café in 1994, to the booming “Breadtop” empire that we know today, brothers Kenneth and Simon Ip have established an exponentially growing business that has become a popular household name. The duo was presented with their big break from Crown Casino which turned their earlier years of struggling business into a flourishing venture. In 2002, the first Breadtop store was opened. Since then over 60 stores are in operation throughout Australia.
Having been trained in Hong Kong, Japan and France, co-founder and head pastry chef at Breadtop, attended the renowned training school Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Patisserie, Confiserie, Glacerie and Chocolaterie in Lyon. This multicultural experience inspired the combination of Asian and Western cultures to cultivate a fusion-style identity that Breadtop is known for. Breadtop is a contemporary bakery that is synonymous with quality, freshness and affordability. Their “baked on premises” retail concept has consistently attracted the masses. A greater consciousness about health and food production was recently sparked within the general public, and Breadtop utilized this movement of thought and applied it to their business model.
Breadtop prides itself on providing people with the freshest, most original baked goods available in the market. Their brand symbolizes a modern and contemporary spin on traditional pastries. Prompted by the cultural hubs of the world, inspiration has been taken from Italy, France, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. Their head chef travels around the world each year, attending exhibitions and visiting other bakeries and factories to seek inspiration. These measures go beyond the standard benchmark, and are taken to ensure that their brand pioneers the way for new key products.
Located in most major shopping centers around Australia, Breadtop has become a staple store that generates attention and revenue. Their bold and striking store design compliments their vast, unparalleled range of breads. The variety of breads available is ever changing. Seasonal styles are created throughout the year, and international calendar events such as the moon cake festival in China are celebrated. The success of their brand is based on a deft knowledge of their products, embracing multi cultural traditions and the desire to incessantly exceed expectations.
Store/brand Innovation / Need
Competing in the quick paced food and hospitality industry, Breadtop remains at the forefront of their league by routinely developing new products. To date, there are over 70 individual cake styles and 80 bread and pastry lines. This extensive repertoire is periodically refined based on calendar events and the location of each store. Every franchisee will tailor their products to suit the tastes of the local demographic. This flexible outlook has satisfied the needs of their target audience and surpasses the benchmark in customer satisfaction.
A never before seen scheme that Breadtop has widely implemented in their stores is the idea of forming a close relationship between the consumers and the products. This philosophy has been translated through the design of the stores and the attitudes of the staff. A self serve structure has been established where customers are able to leisurely browse through the breads and select individual items. Unlike other mainstream bakeries, this “pick and choose” method engages the customer whilst being non-intrusive. It is the first in the market to approach sales in such a way. Breadtop encourages an honest and open approach to their baking. Vision panels allow passerbys to witness the process from the preparation of ingredients to the finishing touches. A video has been produced, touring the factories and capturing the cake making. This video is informative and reassures people of the high standards that Breadtop enforces. On a continuous loop in every store, this clip can be viewed from the front counter.
Food manufacturing is a competitively driven industry that is constantly changing. In recent years, healthy eating and living have been at the forefront of consumer activity. This new and refreshing market-need proved a challenge, yet provided an opportunity to revolutionize the brand. To cater for this new direction in health consciousness, Breadtop have been brainstorming recipes for healthier options for their customers. A suggestion box was set up in their stores, encouraging their audience to voice their concerns or ideas. As a result, a new range of healthy eating options are now available in stores. Breadtop have constructed laboratories attached to their factories to test for bacteria levels and the nutritional values of the products. These measures have been taken to ensure that the needs of the current market are satisfied.
Following this new direction of healthy eating, customers have become increasingly interested in how products are made. The new addition of vision panels in their store design allows people to explore and engage with the baking process. This feature provides transparency between the front and back of house. Hygiene is a major concern for any customer, and this glazing panel allows Breadtop to showcase their unprecedented standards. The central food processing factories in both Sydney and Melbourne have been accredited by the HACCP for hygiene and food safety standards.
Awareness and the contribution to sustainability is a value that the team at Breadtop uphold. All aspects of this business reflect the growing consciousness of using sustainable materials and sustainable business management and operations. Supporting local businesses, a high percentage of their fresh produce, such as the fruits and vegetables used in their pastries and breads, is sourced from regions around Australia.
The latest installation at their Brisbane based factory includes the innovative and environmentally savvy assistance of solar panels, reducing their carbon footprint. Another forward movement in their strive to achieve a sustainable lifestyle is the addition of rain water tanks in their Adelaide based factory. Breadtop are heavily active in finding new ways to employ environmentally sustainable devices that they rely on for everyday operations. On an internal level, the administrative team reduce paper wastage by dealing with contracts, invoices and other documentation in an electronic form. The team at Breadtop are exploring ways to make their packaging biodegradable and a sporting effort is made to encourage customers to recycle the boxes and wrappers.
This award recognises retail interiors and design, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes and aesthetic presentation. Consideration given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.