Chocolate Industry

Level up | 2022-03-09

First opened in West Seattle, where the historic Blake’s Bakery once stood, William and Heather Leaman continue to make history every day with unique creations. With over 20 years of baking, baking and chocolate experience, and as captain of the 2005 Bread Bakers Guild Team USA, where he led his team to victory at the Bakery World Cup, William Leaman’s Bakery Nouveau has become a Seattle icon. “We’re going to take it to the next level when it comes to products and variants,” says William Leaman proudly.

Christopher Donka, director of operations at Bakery Nouveau, explains that new technologies and advancements are being introduced to the bakery to improve accuracy and productivity.

“What I have been paying attention to while reading different posts and following advertisement links are more advanced multi-use depositors, different cake slicing/filling operations and specialized decorating tools, as well as crafting specialty chocolates,” he explains. “Since we started our own production of chocolate bars, we also started to pay more attention to wrapping and packaging applications.”

Some of the technology the bakery uses in the store includes a programmable cookie depositor, a multi-purpose automatic tempering machine for chocolate, a dough and filling depositor, and blast chillers.

“We are looking into the possibility of different shapers for dough products (although not new or advanced at all, a roll divider/shaper has been a huge increase in productivity/labour savings during the holiday season). We have definitely found a place for the use of different technological solutions in our stores.

Donka explains that the different tools have increased productivity by improving the speed of certain repetitive tasks – like using a depositor to fill cake pans with cheesecake batter, or a depositor to form macaroons or servings of cookies. This frees up time for employees to get more done in their production week. It also allows a small team to manage the production needs of multiple stores or departments (related to profitability below).

“For us, being able to group certain products into a small team has allowed other production teams to distribute their work more efficiently and prioritize time over products that are better with more hands-on attention,” says -he.

In terms of profitability, advances in technology or equipment help reduce or better control costs in terms of less waste and less time or labor expenditure for the same amount of product. Product consistency, such as the weight of cookies, the layers of filling in a cake, the weight of batter in cheesecake, etc., helps dial in costs and set prices, Donka says. It also makes it easier to provide a consistent customer experience, which is important for making good impressions and developing long-term customer relationships.

“There can also be a reduction in overall labor costs in a multi-store business like ours by consolidating component or product manufacturing,” he says. “For example, we have a pie press and this allowed us to replace the pie tin liner that was being done in our three stores over the holidays by a team of 2-3 people in one location. We use the same press for quiche shells, creating a more consistent product across all of our locations. »

The cookie dropper is another example: a small team now makes all the cookies for all three stores, instead of everyone making and distributing their own. Donka says it’s a huge time saver, and also an improvement in the employee experience by removing a lot of repetitive manual work, which is tied to productivity.

So what are the main concerns or challenges facing the industry right now?

“While a bit more intense than usual, it’s still labor and goods costs,” he says. “As well as really having to keep an eye on costs, we have had to deal with supply issues – mainly delays in some of our specialist packaging due to shipping, but also in terms of ingredients. . Some of the issues appear to be being resolved, others have been recurring issues. We basically continue to look for ways to increase efficiency while maintaining product consistency and quality. »