When it comes to running a Bakers Delight bakery, Wayne Price has probably seen and done it all.
Wayne joined Bakers Delight as a teenage baker’s apprentice in 1985 and remarkably, is still with the business today, although admittedly in a very different position.
Thirty five years later, Wayne is still as passionate about baking as he was when he first started and will open his sixth bakery in late 2020. It’s a significant achievement for the self-described ‘dumb-arse baker with no training’ and Bakers Delight’s 40th birthday celebrations this year have also given him time to reflect on his long career with the brand.
“I wouldn’t be here without the support and encouragement of Roger Gillespie who gave me the opportunity to take over a bakery of my own in Eltham, Victoria in September 1988,” said Wayne.
“We were all finding our way in the 1980s but at that time, no one was doing products like us and there weren’t many businesses like us maintaining the opening hours that we were, so there was an instant customer demand that we were more than happy to meet.”
However it wasn’t easy work and Wayne found the jump from baker to Franchisee to be a very big learning curve.
“I thought I was working hard as a baker but running my own business was next level. I was only 21 and had no training in hiring/firing people or book keeping and I got myself into quite a bit of trouble with my spending early on.”
“I got lots of kicks up the bum (which I needed at the time) but thankfully Roger didn’t give up on me and took the time to pull me in and make me learn how to run the financial side of things properly.”
A lot of things have changed since those pioneering days with competition from the big supermarkets always increasing and a host of new specialty donut and cake shops springing up in every shopping centre. However Wayne believes Bakers Delight has adapted well over the years to ensure it stays relevant to customer needs.
“Our fruit base range was a lot bigger in the early days but over time, the need for more immediate snack treats has seen our offering shift more towards danishes and scones. Flour Loaves used to be a big seller too but these have now been overtaken by a variety of health and artisan breads.”
However he says many things about Bakers Delight haven’t changed throughout the course of his career and it is these values-based things that have kept him in the business for so long.
“I love it. I love what I do, I love the opportunities Bakers Delight has given me and I still have the hunger to aim high and succeed.”
“It’s all about return for effort. I learnt early on that there’s money to be made if you are willing to put in the hard yards and take the time to nurture and empower your people along the way. I love seeing my employees succeed in this business…it’s what drives me.”