Situated in the heart of the North Shore, Auckand, Cake Concepts, supplies top quality products to many places across the country with a focus on the wholesale sector.
Managing director, Wayne Munro has over 30 years of baking industry experience and his wife Veronica is involved in a variety of facets of the business as well.
This year Cake Concepts has generously donated baking samples to be handed out on the NZ Food Technology stand at the Foodtech Packtech trade show.
We got in touch with Wayne to learn more about what makes a successful bakery in today’s world.
How did the business get started and how has it grown over the years?
The bakery has been in business for over a quarter of a century. Throughout this time, it has remained Kiwi owned and operated, though the current employees represent a variety of different ethnicities which makes for a good working environment.
The business started in 1995 selling large cakes and slices. Four years later new owners bought it and before long, the bakery moved to its current location at 7B, Ascension Place off Constellation Drive in Rosedale on Auckland’s North Shore. For over ten years, I was the production manager and in 2010 we introduced savoury products to the range.
In 2015, I purchased the business and, along with my wife, Veronica and the team we have come close to doubling sales. As for many businesses, Covid-19 has been disruptive, but the whole team has worked together to ensure customers are supplied and we are looking forward to the future with enthusiasm.
Has the technology you use changed over time or do you believe in the ‘tried and true’ baking methods?
I was trained using traditional ‘tried and true’ baking methods and, over the years, have used these skills and adapted them to 21st-century consumer requirements and tastes. Like me, the production manager Lisa, also has a wealth of baking experience.
The equipment we use has hardly changed from the early days. Keeping Cake Concepts as a scratch bakery has meant that while machinery like the oven and mixers are larger than those in a home kitchen, many of the processes are similar and this, coupled with carefully selecting the right ingredients means the bakery can produce hand-crafted products that taste great.
Where do you supply to?
Cake Concepts supplies a diverse range of wholesale customers throughout the country. Cafes, restaurants, caterers and hotels find the ease of being able to buy in quality products very useful, enabling them to concentrate on other aspects of their operations. Businesses in our local area enjoy the convenience of ordering for morning tea shouts and other occasions.
Individual portion cakes, slices, muffins, tarts, scones and biscuits as well as larger cake options, brownies and slices offer a good range of choice on the sweet side and there is plenty on the savoury side to complement them. We also make some products that are Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan etc because the demand for free-from products that taste delicious is increasing.
In addition, Cake Concepts has a thriving retail shop on the bakery premises where parking is easily available. Members of the public can pick up sweet and savoury treats for family functions or snacks and order cakes for special celebrations like birthdays or simply come in and browse through our cake decorating supplies.
What makes Cake Concepts different from other commercial bakeries?
Cake Concepts’ focus is on the customer and where possible I like to visit customers to ensure we are meeting, and hopefully exceeding, their expectations. Being a scratch bakery and producing good hand-crafted products is one thing but ensuring customer satisfaction in all areas is another.
Each member of the bakery team, from kitchen staff to office staff, plays their part in offering great service. Veronica is usually on the phones and keeps in close contact with customers taking orders, discussing options and quickly resolving any problems when they occasionally arise. If she is away the rest of the team take over so customers can be assured of good communication and service at all times.
What does a day in your working life look like for you?
Every day is different and plans for each day need to be flexible – just one phone call can change the day. Having said that, a typical day might be as follows. I generally start early doing pastry work for caramelised onion sausage rolls and other products as required. The bakery staff know their roles so there will be mixing, baking, finishing and packing all happening during the morning. Bulk batches need to be scheduled to maximise use of the oven, mixers, pastry sheeter and other facilities.
Mid-morning there might be an ingredient delivery to put away or I might pick up some ingredients from a local supplier. I get some more bakery work done in the latter part of the morning and check-in with the office staff. Being an owner/manager, there is usually some paperwork to be done.
After lunch, when possible I get out to visit customers and do some marketing and around mid-afternoon, I check back with the staff and see to anything needing my attention. Cleaning is in progress around that time. We have a HAACP based Food Control Plan so nutritional data is important and there are numerous checks at all stages of production to ensure good operating practices, food safety and cleanliness are of the highest standard.
What do you enjoy about your day-to-day tasks at Cake Concepts?
I enjoy the variety that each day brings. I like it when I have the opportunity to go out and see customers. I also like the hands-on bakery work where I am part of the bakery team with all the banter that goes with it. It is satisfying seeing ingredients transformed into batches of great-tasting products.