Inside Franchise Business - - Leadership -

Founders Roger and Les­ley Gille­spie have stepped away from Baker’s De­light, though they still have roles on the board, af­ter 37 years.

But their hearts are still in the busi­ness and they con­tinue to have roles in the board­room. This is their legacy...

• Pro­vid­ing fresh, healthy bread for Aus­tralian fam­i­lies (and other fam­i­lies in other coun­tries in which the com­pany has stores) for many years

• Es­tab­lish­ing fran­chisees who in most cases have truly be­come the lo­cal baker, sup­port­ing their lo­cal com­mu­nity in many ways

• Pro­vid­ing in­nu­mer­able first jobs for many young Aus­tralians as well as pro­vid­ing a ca­reer path for many to ul­ti­mately be­come fran­chisees them­selves.

Roger says they want to see the busi­ness con­tinue to grow and im­prove to en­sure each bak­ery’s po­ten­tial is max­imised - not only in Aus­tralia, but in its Cobs sub­sidiary that has been es­tab­lished in Canada for more than 10 years.


Is there any­thing you would have done dif­fer­ently?

This is a hard ques­tion, be­cause when you set out on a path or make a de­ci­sion you can­not see the fu­ture. With ex­pe­ri­ence and hind­sight I’d say we would have hired more skilled peo­ple at the ap­pro­pri­ate times.

What are your ex­pec­ta­tions for your Cana­dian busi­ness?

The ex­pec­ta­tions are for our Cana­dian busi­ness to reach bak­ery pen­e­tra­tion like that in Aus­tralia. We are well on the way to achiev­ing this with nearly 100 bak­eries across four prov­inces.

With a pres­ence on the board, what do you want to achieve with the brand now?

Bak­ers De­light in Aus­tralia and New Zealand will con­tinue to grow in sales and bak­ery num­bers to serve the grow­ing pop­u­la­tions in both coun­tries. We will adapt to changes (I think back to how dif­fer­ent we are now to how we were in the ’80s), but we will stay true to our core: spe­cial­ist bak­ers of bread and bread-re­lated prod­ucts from scratch ev­ery day at ev­ery lo­ca­tion.

How will the trend for cus­tomi­sa­tion change the fran­chis­ing sec­tor?

The strength of a fran­chise is the sys­tem. The strength of our fran­chise sys­tem is the way we run our bak­eries, from the recipe book to the way we pro­mote, but this does not stop our fran­chisees from putting their own touch on their busi­ness.

We have flex­i­bil­ity in many ar­eas. For ex­am­ple, in our Pink Bun cam­paign (where we sell buns with pink ic­ing to raise pro­ceeds for the Breast Can­cer Net­work Aus­tralia) many fran­chisees will go above and be­yond to dec­o­rate their bak­ery in pink, en­cour­age their sales staff to dress in pink and to do what­ever it takes to help raise funds.

This in­di­vid­u­al­i­sa­tion is not in our fran­chise agree­ment, but we cer­tainly ap­plaud and en­cour­age it.

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