Bimbo Bakehouse, a division of Grupo Bimbo, is a global baking presence; it provides breads, rolls, bagels, pastries, and other products, in a range of sizes, flavors, and formats. Additionally, staff experts offer advice and solutions to help clients grow their in-store bakeries and foodservice operations. The company’s years of experience and array of offerings give it a unique perspective of the baking field and the challenges its professionals face.

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery recently connected with experts from Bimbo Bakehouse to gauge their perspectives on issues facing the industry, including labor issues, shifting consumer interests, rising costs, and more.

  • Heather Davis, senior manager of customer insights
  • Dana Strain, senior marketing manager

Jenni Spinner: Please tell us about attitudes toward labor—how are companies looking to save on labor costs and employee hours with bakery offerings, and what are some of the solutions they’re examining regarding labor-lean formats?

Dana Strain: With the current state of our economy, the industry continues to face high employee turnover. That’s where labor-lean options like bulk, pre-packaged and thaw-and-serve formats come into play. These easy-to-prep, turnkey products require little to no employee training and are key for operators. Versatility is also another big factor when purchasing product and has become a top bakery attribute for operators. Versatile products allow operators to work to create variety within a streamlined menu and therefore, maximize freezer storage.

Bimbo Bakehouse’s premium buns and rolls come in a variety of convenient, labor-saving formats that work across dayparts to maximize any business’ efficiency.

  • Everything Seasoning: Bimbo Bakehouse’s Everything Pretzel bun is made with sesame seeds, garlic, poppy seeds, and more. It is an easy way for operators to enhance dishes across the menu.
  • Pretzel Buns: Pretzel buns have seen 11% growth on menus in the past four years. Bimbo Bakehouse’s Traditional Bavarian Pretzel Bun, as well as pretzel baguettes and dinner rolls, available for foodservice operators, deliver an authentic pretzel taste and effortlessly add an upscale twist to any dish.
  • Brioche Buns: Brioche has grown over 66% on menus in the past four years. Bakehouse's Traditional Brioche Bun for foodservice offers versatile menu usage. It can serve as a carrier for breakfast sandwiches in the morning, as well as burgers for dinner and ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
  • Potato Buns: Potato buns have grown 33% on menus over the past four years. Bakehouse offers a Premium Potato Bun as part of our foodservice specialty bun line that delivers a rich flavor and soft texture.

JS: You mention consumers are looking for on-the-go solutions—how might that play out in both retail and restaurant settings?

Heather Davis: Off-premise dining remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic. Therefore, operators must place importance on items that travel well for diners on-the-go. 

Ordering ahead and mobile ordering have become popular with consumers over the past couple of years. Utilizing products that deliver on flexibility helps balance the influx of online and in-person orders. Bakehouse’s thaw-and-serve products are easy-to-prep ahead of customer rush.

Operators have been adding both takeout and curbside pickup options, as well as items that can easily be consumed on the go. With that, it’s key to offer rolls and buns that hold up during transport. Bimbo Bakehouse has both sandwich rolls and burger buns that travel great from restaurant to home.

Since the pandemic, more operators have added takeout and curbside pickup options as well as menu offerings that can be easily consumed on the go. Products that hold up during transport and still provide a positive dining experience are key. Bimbo Bakehouse offers sandwich rolls and burger buns that travel well from restaurant to the diner’s destination.

The desire for grab-and-go items has also grown. With convenience and safety top of mind, it’s important to find the quickest, most effective ways to keep these items fresh and accessible. Bimbo Bakehouse offers flow wrap packaging options for individually wrapped grab-and-go items, which helps to simplify operations while meeting consumer needs, especially for in-store bakeries.

JS: While shoppers are dining out less, as you say, they’re looking for elevated at-home eating experiences. Please tell us about opportunities for bakery producers, and stores offering baked goods, that fulfill that interest.

HD: Eating away from home is 2.5x more expensive than eating at home. As consumers look to maximize the value of their spend in recent times, in-store bakeries are stocking up on affordable indulgences, like The Cheesecake Factory At Home Famous Brown Bread. Products like these allow consumers to experience gourmet restaurant-style dining in the comfort of their own homes.

JS: Snacking continues to soar—I know my nibbling has increased steadily. Please tell us about that, and what opportunities there might be to take advantage of in the continued climb in snacking.

HD: Consumers continue to have more between meal occasions and snacking makes up 20 percent of all restaurant traffic. Bimbo Bakehouse just launched Entenmann’s Little Bites in Chocolate Chip and Blueberry muffin varieties for foodservice, which are perfect for on-the-go snacking, impulse sales, and boxed lunches.

JS: Consistent quality of baked goods remains an interest and priority for producers. Please tell us about some of the challenges and solutions there.

DS: 62% of operators are looking for more consistent execution to grow their revenue. As labor shortages continue to plague the industry, operators have turned to value-added labor-saving convenience items. Operators recognize the importance of consistency for consumers, and these needs can be met with thaw & serve and pre-sliced products that require minimal back-of-house prep. Thaw-and-serve products deliver consistent quality with every use, ensuring a great customer experience with little to no employee training or labor.

JS: Does Bimbo Bakehouse have any new or upcoming offerings you would like our readers to know about?

DS: Bimbo Bakehouse just launched an all-new Seeded Double Decker Hamburger Bun for foodservice, available in a fully sliced and thaw-and-serve format. This versatile 4-inch bun helps to differentiate menu offerings and ultimately increase restaurant traffic. It can be paired with burgers for a traditional value meal or upscale entrée, or used across dayparts, as part of a chicken sandwich at lunch or a hearty breakfast sandwich.

Grupo Bimbo is on the current Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery “Top 50 Snack & Bakery Companies” list. Click here to view the current “Top 50” rankings.