Australian Franchises

An Interview with Gabby Kelly - Bakers Delight General Manager of Company Growth

Written on the 19 December 2011 by Australian Franchises

An Interview with Gabby Kelly - Bakers Delight General Manager of Company Growth

Recently Australian Franchises was given the opportunity to interview Gabby Kelly from Bakers Delight. As General Manager of Company Growth we were delighted to be able to pick her brain about the challenges currently facing the retail sector and how international expansion compares to a franchises initial growth in it's domestic market. 

Gabby Kelly GM Company Growth Bakers DelightBeing a baker requires many years of training through an apprenticeship. How does this affect Bakers Delight's franchisee recruitment strategy? and what tips would you have for other industries that require minimum qualifications?

While becoming a baker does require structured training, you do not have to have baking experience to become a Bakers Delight franchisee. No matter what your background or financial position, the main criteria we look for in a successful franchisee is drive and ambition.
All our prospective franchisees undergo the comprehensive Bakers Delight Franchise Training program to ensure they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to operate a bakery. The 16 20 week competency based training includes extensive on the job practical training, from baking, production management, marketing, purchasing and inventory to accounting and management practices.
We're not in a position to provide tips on other industries that require minimum qualifications, as this is not needed to become a Bakers Delight franchisee.

Finding the right location is essential for the success of any retail store. What tips can you provide for franchisees that may be looking at several locations?


Bakers Delight's experienced property team uses its expertise in property selection to locate viable retail precincts and also negotiates leases directly with landlords on behalf of its franchise network.

Tips for selecting a successful retail location include:

  • Consider customer flow it is important to understand traffic flow, because without customers there is no business.
  • Complete a site selection report/process/lease analysis Bakers Delight conduct a thorough review of what else is available locally in terms of entrances, exits, car parks and supermarkets.
  • Demographics of area we make sure we understand the customer and where they are located and make sure the business complements the existing retailers in the area.
  • Talking to the landlord finding out what is planned for the centre in the coming years, especially around refurbishments and how it could impact the business.


Keeping your franchisees happy is essential for your business. What tips can you provide to franchisors and franchisees for dealing with any disputes that may arise from time to time?

Bakers Delight New UniformsBakers Delight offers 'hands-on' support and proven business procedures and systems, to assist in managing a business.
Area Managers are assigned to each bakery to act as a business partner and provide guidance on operating a business. Conferences, marketing forums, baking competitions and territory-based meetings, also give franchisees the opportunity to share their successes and talk through challenges with like-minded business operators and head office. This constant support is a key driver of managing mutually beneficial relationships with our franchisees.
The opportunity to network with other franchisees and benchmark results provides an invaluable support system to the 700 strong bakery networks.

Many businesses in the retail sector are still hurting post GFC yet Bakers Delight is growing stronger and expanding global operations. Looking back to when the GFC first hit the news, how did Bakers Delight respond to protect itself and its franchisees and would you do it exactly the same again?

With bread a staple and growing consumer demand for fresh baked bread, Bakers Delight stands up well in tough times. When the GFC hit Bakers Delight was undergoing a brand reinivigoration and invested heavily in advertising to further reinforce this positioning.
Bakers Delight continues to expand despite the retail slump and is predicting strong financial performance for FY12, expecting to reach a global sales turnover of $587m.

On your website you mention that 10% of your outlets are company owned. What are the benefits of keeping company owned outlets and not franchising them all?

Company owned bakeries are an important asset as they provide not only a source of profit for the Bakers Delight network (and COBS Bread in Canada) but also an excellent training environment for our staff and new franchisees.

In the past, people where very particular about their bakers. It was a very personal choice. How have you managed to build a national franchise, without losing that essence of "the local baker"?

Despite being Australia's largest bakery franchise, Bakers Delight has maintained strong  community ties. Links with local communities, reinforces that Bakers Delight isn't a faceless brand   bakeries are run by real people from real communities. 

Being involved in the community means that our franchisees are able to build meaningful relationships with their customers. Personal service makes a huge difference. Bakery employees also get a lot of satisfaction out of giving back to the local communities in which they serve. There is a feeling of making a real difference to the lives of many and it brings staff, the franchise network, our customers and communities closer together.

Community, social and environmental initiatives demonstrate Bakers Delight's commitment to the triple bottom line. This commitment contributes to the organisation's long-term sustainability. Over the years Bakers Delight has developed a range of initiatives that contribute to its leadership in the industry including Bundraiser Day at Easter, long-standing support of Breast Cancer Network Australia raising $5.5M, and local community sponsorship.

Bakers Delight has expanded operations in Canada and New Zealand. What key challenges have you had to overcome with setting up overseas operations?

Bakers Delight/COBS Bread international strategy involved taking our proven business model and systems to a 'like' market.
Since we entered the Canadian market in 2003 a portfolio of over 70 has been established.
Global expansion has not occurred without challenge. Overcoming and learning about government, industry and cultural differences has resulted in thorough research of foreign markets. The real challenges, however, are not dissimilar to challenges faced in the Australian market.

Bakers Delight prides itself on baking everything fresh in each store, each day. Does this create any challenges meeting customer expectations with regards to quality and product availability?


Bakers Delight bread is baked fresh from scratch each day using real ingredients, and this is the reason our customers love our products. This is a key point of difference from many pre-packaged supermarket breads that could be sitting on the shelf for days before being consumed.

At Bakers Delight we are constantly staying on top of consumer trends, in order to make sure we have the best product quality for our customers. At the moment there is an increasing consumer demand for healthier options. Bakers Delight has a range of products that support this trend including our healthy Traditional White Block Loaf, to our wholegrain range including the ever popular Cape Seed bread with nine grains and seeds, Chia Bread, high in fibre and a source of Omega 3 ALA, and our Hi-Fibre Lo-GI white bread that has the highest fibre of any freshly baked white bread in Australia and is low GI.

As part of the company's health commitment, Bakers Delight's Traditional and Continental bread range is made with unbleached flour and contains no preservatives, added sugar, or artificial colours or flavours.  Bakers Delight has introduced 25 wholemeal or wholegrain products in the last 10 years and have seen a marked  increase in sales due to customers' desire for wholemeal and wholegrain breads which provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The Bakers Delight TV commercials have become something of an Aussie Icon.  What are the challenges faced with national marketing for a "local" store?

Bakers Delight has a strong brand presence. Essential to local connection is being active in the local community.
Bakeries have access to local marketing support from in-store local initiatives, press advertising, local PR, community sponsorships, and more.

Author:Australian Franchises

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