Bread & Butter Project bakes new ground
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 new concession store under the Woolworths Metro banner.
Launching yesterday, 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. Under the arrangement, The Bread & Butter Project will run its own bakery within the store, providing Woolies with a full production bread bar in-house. Woolworths Metro will fit out the 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 is made fresh from scratch, to provide the people of Erskineville and inner Sydney with the freshest sourdough breads at regular intervals throughout the day.
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 concession store, producing up to 10 different sourdough varieties daily. In addition, Qaqas and Shaooka will produce a range of rolls, baguettes and “grab and go” items such as cheese knots, garlic bread and other specialty products.
Most important of all, 100 percent of profits from the concession store go to training programs and employment pathways for refugees and people seeking asylum.
Cindy Carpenter, Chairperson of The Bread & Butter Project, says the Woolworths Metro 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,” she says.
“At the same time, we’re 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’re 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, this new expansion will also provide vital future training and employment opportunities for the company’s trainees, at a time when alternative work is 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.
For more information about The Bread & Butter Project, or to find out how to provide support, head to thebreadandbutterproject.com