How Local Bakeries Solve Supply Chain Disruptions


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Weak links in the chain


Among the ongoing problems that plague food service operators the most are supply chain issues.  The recent pandemic revealed the weaknesses in this chain that wreaked havoc from the manufacturer to the end user.  Supply lines backed up creating pockets of scarcity and rising costs which led to the closing of restaurants who were already riding a fine line of profitability. Supply chains that utilized national/international sources still face labor restrictions, container shortages, congestion at harbors and rising transportation costs.

Pivot and be Flexible

In the post-pandemic marketplace the shortest distance between two points may not always be a straight line. Talented professional athletes who are both mentally and physically agile/flexible can easily pivot and take the ball to the goal around their competitors.  Instead of always using the same game plan there is a need to ‘read’ the field and quickly adjust to changes or challenges.  Who can do this best?  Broadline distributors or smaller specialty distributors?  What is the difference?

Broadline distributors

Broadline distributors are the ‘big guys’ in the game who have the capability to handle larger volumes of different types of products, serve grocery stores, larger foodservice chains and businesses.  Though these handle vast quantities of products and may be able to provide better pricing on occasion, they suffer from the inability to be flexible when offering fresh, high quality products.  Their wide range of national and international sources places them right in line for the weaknesses in the supply chain we have already experienced.  Additionally, their large capacity sales to their larger accounts (which include food retailers, groceries and chain restaurants) mandate that the products be mass produced, frozen and warehoused to be delivered over long spans of miles.  A lot can happen between point A and point B.

Smaller specialty distributors

Now entering the court is the smaller, more agile specialty distributor. Specialty distributors serve a narrower range of specialized accounts and products.  Their suppliers are, in most cases, local bakeries who can provide orders fresh from the oven and are typically more flexible than suppliers farther away. They can prepare products quicker, accept an addition or adjustment in an order with a smaller amount of notice. Using local bakeries facilitates just-in-time production, smaller batches with regular deliveries.  This fits in with the needs for the chef or foodservice manager who wishes to have greater control over how much they order at one time.

By using local bakeries the smaller distributor can, if needed, have face-to-face visits that allow them to ensure the bakery meets their standards and address any issues.

Some specialty distributors opt to incorporate micro-fulfillment strategies which include the use of small storage facilities in more densely populated areas.  This brief, short term warehousing allows the fresh baked products to be delivered same-day but at different times.  For example, some customers prefer their orders to be delivered in the early morning hours before they open. The fresh bread is brought inside or placed in a locked external breadbox. In either case the driver has been trusted with keys and alarm codes for access. Other customers prefer their fresh bread deliveries after the staff has arrived.  Once again the smaller distributor has more delivery flexibility.

Tapping local bakeries ensures that the hotels, restaurants, concessions and non-commercial foodservice providers (i.e. nursing homes, assisted living centers) are able to have fresh hand baked goods that go from truck to table and negate the need for large storage areas.  Because of this it allows those entities to use their space more efficiently.

Delivering the Memorable Dining Experience

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The distributor who uses local bakeries supports the memorable dining experience the restaurant owner and manager want to provide. Fresh bread adds an ambiance to a meal that causes eyes to light up and mouths to water.

In a recent AlixPartners consumer survey, fresh, never-frozen ingredients were rated by 55% of respondents as the most appealing factor in picking a restaurant to eat at. And this trend gained traction year-over-year as only 48% of surveyed consumers in 2018 said it was the main factor in influencing their choice.

Bringing to the table bread that the end user can buy at the grocery is a ‘rim shot’ and misses the goal of customer satisfaction.  Fresh is best.

How M.C. Bread Distributor Co. Resolves Supply Chain Issues

M.C. Bread Distributor Co. uses local bakeries to provide handmade bread products that are delivered fresh to your door.  Last minute event or menu change ups?  We won’t freeze on you!  Toss us the ball and we will pivot, run and bring your order fresh for a winning game.  It’s a team effort and privilege to serve our local community a memorable dining experience.

Free samples of most of our products are available upon request.

MC Bread Distributor Co. – That’s how we roll!
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