-B Swaminathan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bakers & Butlers, one of the largest food and bakery products suppliers in North Kerala is all set to expand its operations in Kannur. The idea, which was stalled due to COVID is likely to fall in place post-COVID.P Sahadevan Sons Bakers & Butlers Shop in Kozhikode is one of the leading businesses in the Bakery Ingredient Wholesalers. The 25-year old organization is also known for its baking tools, chef’s uniforms, and much more.
Way back in the early 90s, as a young graduate, holding ideas in mind, fire in the belly, and humanity in heart, identifies that many bakeries in Kozhikode have a tough time in sourcing materials. “I always had a passion for the arts and mathematics behind the distribution business as I was already a distributor for a biscuit brand. Started with just 1 employee delivering materials in a bicycle, we can raise our collars telling that we were the pioneers in bringing this wide range of products under one roof”, says P Sujith Kumar, MD/CEO, Bakers & Butlers. Started with a 500 sq feet showroom, today Bakers & Butlers is now is a 100-member team in Kozhikode, Mallapuram, and Wayanad catering to more than 3 Thousand bakers and hoteliers in the entire North Kerala region. Alongside, the company also owns a brand B&B which has various SKUs.
Sujith calls the second wave of COVID a key blow in the hotel and bakery businesses. “The last wave, the state woke up faster and our industry was not suffering. However, this year we had faced much distress as the business is very minimal. Overall, the business was dull in the past one year and the second wave added fuel to this”, Sujith says adding that there are many bakeries with huge expansion plans are waiting for the pandemic to get over. Bakers & Butlers managed to enhance their online presence during the pandemic. Sujith calls this an opportunity to create a hybrid business model to serve the customer. “We had started getting good response from the market post-going online. Online, we won’t have any geographical boundaries and the analytics can help us to serve the market better”, he concluded
Key purchase trends:
Sujith says the advent of the internet and video cooking had to change food consumption among the audience. “I could see Italian food has been trending most among most hoteliers. I could see the sale of pasta ingredients moving from kilos to tonnes [laughs]. Also, the exposure to the global arena both online and physical means had made people experience the culture outside India”, he avers.
Suggestions for youngsters entering the food business:
Sujith notices a large chunk of people entering the hotel sector. “In my view, the business is very supportive and definitely a high margin business. However, one has to put his/her hard work to be successful. My suggestions to people entering the hotel business are to research the geography and understand the trade well.”, he says concluding that, once the reputation is gained the audience will follow us.
All stores of Bakers and Butlers start from 5 Thousand square feet fabricated based on ingredients, crockery, uniforms, and other related items. Their stores are vibrant in such a way, companies can have direct interaction with the end-customers through in-store activities and there are dedicated spaces for work-shops and knowledge-focus seminars. The bakery distributor is keen to explore the Kannur district understanding the potential over there. Their existing supply-chain is so strong that any products reach the customer place within 3 days time period.
“Had we not faced this pandemic, by now, our Kannur outlet would have been up and running. We had finalized everything before the pandemic and thus we are waiting for the right opportunity to unveil that”, he says and added that any manufacturer who partners with them will have entire access in North Kerala.