When I had a travel agency one of my customers was a retired, mid level, Fortune 500 executive. He worked part time, 2 to 6 AM at a chain store bakery.....a job he loved. He was a guy who had a top biz school MBA, at a time most folks didn't even know what an MBA was. Nobody knew he had much experience or education. He just baked frozen bread dough, made cake and doughnuts from a mix, and watched.
He was of the opinion that if one wanted to open an independent fruit stand, or bakery, one had to be very, very good, or really, really, uninformed. Chain stores do a good, and consistent job in these departments, have low prices, and the customer is already in the store.
I have, over the summer, visited 4 independent bakeries, in the hopes of discovering a gem to post about. Three provided stale product on my first visit, and the 4th (the newest), sold me a stale eclair on my second visit. I don't plan a return trip to any.
I feel for a small independent business, but I will not be returning to any of those places soon. Panera (a chain) does a better job than any of the above 4 bakeries, by far. I'll keep returning to Crown Bakery (Worcester Massachusetts), and Wright's Dairy Farm Bakery just over the border in RI. Both do a superior job, and both have so many customers that the product has no time to get stale.
<message edited by tmiles on Thu, 08/30/12 11:18 AM>