Big Changes to Our Business Hours – A Quality Decision
June 21, 2016 Matt Salis - Owner, Great Harvest Bread Co. of Denver
New Bakery Hours Starting July 1st
Open Mon. – Fri. 6am – 3pm,
Sat. 7am – 2pm
Once Sheri and I made the very difficult decision to reduce our hours of operation, our thoughts and concerns immediately turned to what impression the change would give to our customers. We worried that to some it might appear that we have all the money we need, so chopping 3 ½ hours off of our business day would just make counting all that cash a little easier. On the other hand, we were concerned that the reduced hours would give the impression of a struggling business unable to pay the light bill after dark. The fact is that neither of these possible impressions represents our reality. We are a 30-year-old mom and pop business that is not gouging the consumer and rolling in the dough, but is as strong as it has ever been. Strong enough to maintain our focus…not on profit or selling anything we can think of to anyone with a pulse…but our focus on milling wheat fresh everyday and selling the best 100% whole grain bread we possibly can. Our focus is, in a word, QUALITY.
Consistency / Product Quality – Now and in recent years, we spend an unbelievable amount of time hiring and training crew members. The Denver job market has changed dramatically. We have always had a very narrow candidate pool from which to hire. Our employees must be excellent communicators, smart, smiley, strong, in good physical shape, able to work effectively in a hot and loud environment, up-beat, timely, hard-working, energetic, responsible, helpful, flexible, ALWAYS in a great mood and at least a little bit charming. We realize that this is a long list of qualities that are very hard to find in one person…now much harder than in the past (ask me on your next trip to the bakery and I will gladly share my theory on the reason for the drastic change to the Denver job market). When we spend all of our time looking for the needle in the haystack and training it once it is found, guess what we do not spend enough time on. That’s right, baking a high quality 100% whole grain product that is consistent from batch to batch. With our new bakery hours, we are eliminating the new employee revolving door. Your bread will be baked and your sandwich hand crafted by me, my wife or our long-time head baker and all around great guy, Mitch. We will have a little help here and there. Our production assistant of twelve years, Debbie, will still be in the bakery as usual, and we will employ other crew members on a very limited basis. For the very most part, however, Sheri, Mitch and I will have our focus and attention on ever detail to make sure you get your money’s worth and received the quality product you deserve. And if you ever have any issues with our product, please bring it back. The person who baked it will be all too happy to make the situation right!
Quality Answers – If you are like me, you are so sick of getting incorrect, incomplete or nonexistent answers to your consumer questions that you might have just stopped asking questions. Delivering high quality, accurate answers about our bread and sandwiches on a consistent basis is very difficult when we have a crew of new and barely trained employees. That is not what you deserve as someone who is trying to give us money, and it makes us extremely uncomfortable as we are the experts in whole grains. We are in the health food business. We proudly bake a product that is proven to reduce your chances of contracting cancer, heart disease, diabetes or of becoming obese. This isn’t the white flour nutrition-free Wonder Bread poison that is killing our society. Our 100% whole grain products are part of the solution. Each and every time you come to our bakery looking for answers about why people think gluten is bad or why wheat is responsible for all the evils of the world, you deserve to be engaged in an intelligent conversation with an expert in whole grains. With our new business plan, we can give you what you deserve.
Quality Cost Control – How do you eliminate waste in a business? Make sure the business is operated by the most efficient and accurate people. Our change in operating hours allows us to do just that. What does that mean for our loyal customers? We can keep our prices in line. Many of you have enjoyed our everyday bread sale we launched this spring. Our price reductions have been very successful in helping us sell a lot more 100% whole grain body nourishing bread. We are very pleased to announce that because of our new focus on cost control, we are extending our Everyday Bread Sale on Honey Whole Wheat, Dakota and Nine Grain Crunch into the future. If you keep spreading the word about the best value on hand crafted 100% whole grain bread in town, our sales continue to rise and we continue to focus on keeping our cost in check; who knows when the sale will end.
Quality of Life – Ask any small business owner about the worst part of their job. I am willing to bet 99 of 100 of them will report that hiring, training and retaining good people is at the top of that list. We might go along with a trained and stable crew for some period of time, but when that goes bad, it takes everything down with it. We are not reducing our hours open because we are lazy – there is plenty of “owner stuff” work to be done after 3:00pm. We are doing it because if you can eliminate the thing that terrifies you, keeps you up at night and threatens your business; you do it, right? We totally and completely understand that our change of hours will cost us some business. We know that you might be really mad at us right now. We sincerely hope that your life schedule and shopping patterns will allow you to remain our customer. We apologize from the bottom of our hearts for any inconvenience our change of business plan might cause. However, this change has been a very long time coming. If we can work together as whole grain bakers and whole grain eaters to make these new hours work, we will be eternally grateful for your continued support. We are not trying to make anyone’s life more difficult. In fact, quality of life is at the center of the reason for this decision. We really, really hope you understand.
We are not trying to become billionaires. This change is not going to lessen our workload. When it comes to consistency and quality of product, quality of communication, quality prices and quality of life for all involved with our business; we are confident that our new nine hour open-for-business day will deliver in a big way. As always, we are wide open to your questions and comments. Please send your feedback our way. We look forward to seeing you soon in the bakery. Thank you for your continued support!
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Great Harvest Bread Co.
765 South Colorado Boulevard
Denver, Colorado 80246
Open Mon. - Fri. 6am - 3pm
Sat. 8am - 3pm, Closed Sun.