After Bourke Street Bakery founder Paul Allam travelled to a small village on the Thai-Burma border to set up a bakery that local villagers could run, he knew he wanted to do something similar here in Australia. Using his recipes and knowledge from Bourke Street Bakery, Allam & Co-Founder David McGuinness launched The Bread & Butter Project in the heart of Sydney.
The Bread & Butter Project not only trains and supports refugees and asylum seekers to create a career in baking, but is a large-scale commercial bakery supplying 286 customers across Sydney.
The Bread and Butter Project is a huge success, transforming the lives of each of the trainees that comes through it’s programme, but the challenges of running a social enterprise are immense, on top of the existing challenges of running a commercial bakery!
General Manager Philip Hoban has ambitious goals for Bread and Butter Project. “We want to get to a stage where we have 30 trainees going through the programme every 12-14 months. Considering it took us 5 years to train 26, it’s a huge ask. And the only way we can do that is through increased sales. Government grants are tiny, so we rely on philanthropists but the thing that will make us self sustaining is if we continue to increase our bread sales.”
The bakery itself is profitable, but the training program comes at a $660,000 annual cost, so growing the bakery whilst remaining very cost efficient will allow them to help more people.
“We have a fantastic board of volunteers, but we don’t have a marketing team and we only have one sales person. Our competitors are huge, our biggest one has 6 sales people, 6 merchandisers and lots of support staff working on marketing. We’ve got a team of 4 all up.”
With such a lean team, Bread and Butter Project turned to Ordermentum to support their operations. “Ordermentum has helped us in a few different ways. It’s helped us from a point of view that everything’s set up, so it’s easy for us to manage. No more ‘death by excel!’”
Ordermentum helps the Bread & Butter project access more customers and save time processing orders. With 140-160 orders coming in each day, the bakery is able to instantly see all orders in one place, and doesn’t have to employ someone just to take and write up their orders.
On top of that, the insights features allow their team to identify straight away which customers need to be prioritised. “We can run lists and understand what people are ordering, when they last ordered, and if they have changed from their usual ordering trends. So it’s a very proactive tool, rather than us waiting to eventually see something that’s changed or gone wrong or a customer that’s dropped off or not paid, and reacting to it too late.”
Finally, Ordermentum’s payment processing has improved payments and cash flow “It’s set up on a 2 day payment term, so that if we short orders we don’t have to do refunds. But it’s a hell of a lot better than waiting 60 days to get an invoice paid! We’re new to it, but looking forward to rolling out more features as we know we can get a lot more out of the system. We’d like to move more customers to paying through Ordermentum and to link it to our other systems, which will make it just a perfect tool for us.”
For Bread and Butter project, the most important thing is that their customers like Ordermentum. “Running all our Orders through Ordermentum is another reason we have such happy customers. We’re getting great feedback because they have a system, instead of ringing orders in or emailing them in.”
In such a saturated market, they know just how important customer retention is. “It’s very simple for our customers, and it has to be or else they would just go elsewhere.”
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