Following the announcement of a retail partnership with Woolworths Metro in April, Australia’s first social enterprise bakery, The Bread & Butter Project, has now further cemented its relationship with the supermarket giant following the opening of a first concession store under the Woolworths Metro banner.
Launching today, The Bread & Butter Project retail concession store will be located within Woolworths Metro Park Sydney, in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Erskineville.
The announcement marks the first time Woolworths Metro has outsourced its bakery operations to a third party, and under the arrangement, The Bread & Butter Project will operate its own bakery within the Park Sydney store, providing Woolworths Metro with a full production bread bar in-house.
The arrangement will see Woolworths Metro fit out the concession store and provide bakery equipment, while The Bread & Butter Project will provide the labour and artisan sourdough baking expertise.
Trained bakers will carry out on-site mixing, proving, shaping and baking, ensuring every product will be made fresh from scratch to provide the people of Erskineville and inner Sydney with the freshest sourdough breads at regular intervals throughout the day.
Indeed, two of The Bread & Butter Project’s top graduates, Steven Qaqas and Salwan Shaooka, both refugees who fled Iraq to escape the threat of ISIS, will be the smiling faces behind the counter at the Park Sydney concession store, responsible for producing up to 10 different sourdough varieties daily.
In addition, Steven and Salwan will produce a range of rolls, baguettes and ‘grab and go’ items such as garlic and cheese knots, garlic bread, and other specialty products.
Importantly, 100 per cent of profits that The Bread & Butter Project generates from the concession store go to training programs and employment pathways for refugees and people seeking asylum.
According to Cindy Carpenter, Chairperson of The Bread & Butter Project, the Woolworths Metro Park Sydney concession store signals the beginning of a bright new era for the social enterprise bakery.
“It goes without saying that we are incredibly excited to be opening our first concession store with Woolworths Metro, as it gives us the opportunity to bring our delicious bread to a wider audience, starting in Erskineville,” said Ms Carpenter.
“At the same time, we are extremely grateful for Woolworths’ ongoing support throughout what has been a very tough year for small businesses around the country.
“Without this support, we would have been in a very difficult position, but now we are looking at a positive future and exploring further growth opportunities into 2021.”
The Bread & Butter Project’s partnership with Woolworths, confirmed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April, has also represented a shift in the company’s business model, with the bakery previously operating predominantly as a wholesaler.
This has seen 25 Woolworths Metro supermarkets across Sydney supplied directly with high-quality sourdough breads from The Bread & Butter Project’s Marrickville bakery.
Now, the expansion into The Bread & Butter Project’s first Woolworths Metro concession store will also provide vital future training and employment opportunities for the company’s trainees, at a time when alternative work options are in short supply.
The Bread & Butter Project’s program sees trainees receive hands-on baker training and a TAFE Certificate II in Food Processing, as well as intensive tutoring in English and numeracy.
The program has so far graduated 45 professional artisan bakers into employment in Australia’s hospitality industry, and has capacity to take up to 30 new trainees a year.
This in turn helps to address Australia’s chronic shortage of skilled bakers, with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment reporting that for much of the past decade, employers have experienced significant difficulty filling vacancies for bakers, with only 31 per cent of vacancies filled in 2018.