Aug/Sep Article in the franchise magazine

A fresh approach to baking

The hectic nature of daily life means that convenient food on the go has never been in greater demand. Wooden Bakery is a franchise brand that recognises and meets this demand, but without compromising on quality, taste or freshness.

It is an inescapable fact that all across the world people’s lifestyles are changing more and more, and that invariably this means we have less time to do some of the more basic, but none the less important, tasks such as preparing meals. The result of these changes is that an increasing number of people are turning to convenient food options to satisfy their hunger.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this has been the global baked goods industry, which, according to research from Global Industry Analysts, can look forward to exceeding $310 billion in value during the course of 2015. Already well-established in key industrialised regions, Western Europe and North America for instance, growth in the baked goods sector is today being driven by emerging markets such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, where Western lifestyles and eating habits continue to be adopted.

Of course, a change in lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean a change in taste and values, and while people have less time to prepare meals and shop around they remain unwilling to compromise on quality, and rightfully so. What this means is that in virtually every instance, those brands and businesses succeeding in the baked goods industry are those that are committed to delivering the very best quality products in a customer friendly manner.

One such brand is Wooden Bakery. Headquartered in Lebanon, the Wooden Bakery company specialises in the production of freshly made baked products made from only the highest quality of ingredients available. Its products can today be found in more than 5,000 points of sale in its home country alone, while its outlets act as a one-stop-shop where customers can purchase all of their fresh produce.

“What started as a brand focused predominantly on the production and sale of Arabic breads has since grown to become a recognised name as a convenience store, one that fills the middle ground between small outlets and big supermarkets,” explains Wooden Bakery’s Franchise Director, Gilbert Hobeika.

These convenient stores are becoming the go-to location for people to purchase not only breads and pastries, but also a wide selection of cheeses, deli products, grocery items and a variety of Manakeesh, pizzas, sandwiches and salads. All of the these are competitively priced, made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients, and purchased in the calming, ambient environment that Wooden Bakery’s outlets are designed to create.

The Wooden Bakery concept begins with its factories, each of which boasts the latest and most advanced machinery and equipment. Within these factories one will find Master Bakers, Pastry Chefs, Quality Controllers and highly qualified managers, each of whom plays a critical role in ensuring that the 75 tonnes of flour that one factory produces per day, on average, goes towards creating the freshest, most consistent products on the market.

From the factories, the products travel to Wooden Bakery’s outlets. Strategically located in high streets and urban centres used to experiencing high footfall, these outlets capture the essence of the brand’s original concept, to be the place where ‘fresh meets taste’, and where nothing comes to mind more than ‘freshness’.

At the heart of Wooden Bakery’s success, however, is its people. From management to specialist chefs and cashiers, every staff member is rigorously trained to provide an unrivalled customer experience.

“Area Developer franchise owners benefit from a meticulously designed turn-key franchise package tailored to have a new business set up quickly and efficiently. They, like all members of the Wooden Bakery family, can also expect to receive comprehensive training and personal support from their very first day,” Gilbert continues.  “Area Developer franchise owners begin by receiving support with infrastructure requirements, for example architectural layouts for their outlet,” Gilbert states. “They then join the rest of their new team at one of factories where they get a hands-on experience of the production process. Once initial training is complete, and the new branch is up and running, they can then look forward to continuous support, with regular on-site visits every three months, designed to facilitate improvements.”

Wooden Bakery’s aim is to cement itself as the first choice bakery in the Middle East, while also positioning itself amongst global industry leaders in its field, and all evidence points to moves being made in the right direction to achieve this.

At time of writing the brand has plans in the pipeline for eight new branches, as well as a new factory for Arabic bread and one for pastries, in Lebanon alone. Elsewhere, in Saudi Arabia it has signed a 20-year Master Franchise in the Agreement, which will result in the opening of a new factory and as many as 20 outlets in the next five years, while a similar agreement in the UAE will see a new factory and three outlets opened by 2016. Negotiations are also on going in Qatar in order to secure such opportunities.

Using the proven methodologies established by Wooden Bakery and the strengths of its franchise owners, Wooden Bakery aims to become one of the first names in bakery. “In franchising,” Gilbert concludes, “Wooden Bakery harnesses the abilities, energy and dedication of others to realise its goals. In return, franchise owners enjoy valuable skills training, a proven business formula, personalised support, a strong brand name and an unmatched opportunity for success.”