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Traditional bakery companies against large companies: At Schmids is praised, bought at Lidl


The number of bakeries has been falling for years. The trend is to big chains and rolls from the discounter, many small shops are on the track. A trip to German bakeries.

Stefanie Schmid grew up with the sounds of the bakery. She heard when her father tossed the kneading machine at night, her nursery was over the bakery. "But it never bothered me," says Schmid. On the contrary. It was always clear to her that she, like her grandfather and father, also wants to become a master baker. At 15 she started her apprenticeship, at 21 she was a master.

Today Schmid is 28 and works in the company together with her father, her mother, her sister and nine employees. She would like to continue the bakery in the third generation - but she has to fight to get it.

The situation is quite different with the bakery Junge from Lübeck: With 201 branches, it is clearly on an expansion course. The industry journal "Check Up Back.Business" leads the company into its current top 20 German pastry chain.

Boy produces at three locations. Despite the size, the company sees itself as a family business. Axel Junge, the great-grandson of the founder, is today company boss. He is not a trained baker but a banker.

Bakery boy

Bun baking in the bakery boy: Again, the baker has ran

For the back-expertise, Junge is in charge of Mirco Schmitt, among others. He manages the operation of the giant bakery in Lübeck, which produces bread and rolls around the clock. Schmitt started in a small bakery and worked as a journeyman by hand - so he worked and shaped the dough.

"I was thinking about what prospects the bakery profession still offers," says the 31-year-old. He studied industrial engineering and now manages production at Junge for nine months and is responsible for around 90 employees. From his office he has a good view of the hall with its huge oven.

The examples of the bakery Schmid in Burglengenfeld and the company Junge in Lübeck reflect the trend of the industry: The little ones are becoming less and less, the big ones are spreading further. In 2008, around 15,300 bakeries were still listed in the directory of German craft enterprises, compared to just under 11,000 last year.

The chains have divided the German bakery market among themselves. The map shows which of the 30 big companies with their brands are represented in the respective regions. Click on the locations to see which sales areas the bakery companies cover.

The 30 largest baked goods chain stores in Germany

rank Companies Brands Headquarters branches
1 EDEKA Handelsgesellschaft Südwest (formerly K & U Bakery GmbH) Bäckerbub, baking culture, K & U bakery 79395 Neuchâtel 695
2 Schäfers bread and cake specialties GmbH Shepherd, Thürmann, Meffert 32457 Porta Westfalica 691
3 Subway International BV Subway 50679 Cologne 677
4 Meisterbäckerei Steinecke GmbH and Co. KG Meisterbäckerei Steinecke, your baker and others 38368 Mariental 611
5 Valora Food Service Germany GmbH Backwerk 45127 food 563
6 Bakery / Confectionery H. von Allwörden GmbH from Allwörden, Nur Hier, Coffee & More and more 23879 Mölln 526
7 Kamps GmbH Kamps Bakery, Kamps Bakery 41366 Schwalmtal 460
8th Our home baker GmbH Purple Baker, Dahlback 17309 Pasewalk 350
9 Baker Bachmeier GmbH & Co. KG Bach Meier, Stadtbäckerei Schaller 84307 Eggenfelden 280
10 Backstube Wünsche GmbH Bakery wishes 85080 Gaimersheim 271
11 Bakery pastry brothers Oebel GmbH Oebel, Kaiser, Schnass Fine baked goods 52146 Würselen 265
12 Landbäckerei Ihle Ihle 86316 Friedberg 252
13 Bumüller GmbH & Co. Backbetriebe KG / Sternenbäck GmbH Sternenbäck, bumüller back 72379 Hechingen 246
14 Wiener Feinbäckerei Heberer GmbH Wiener Feinbäcker Heberer, First Viennese and others 63165 Mühlheim a 221
15 Bakery Büsch GmbH The cheerful bakery Büsch 47475 Kamp Lintfort 208
16 Skewer bakery KG Skewer bakery, bakery pastry Gerweck, bakery Thollembeck 71139 Ehningen 207
17 Boy The bakery Boy The bakery 23568 Lubeck 201
18 Baker Görtz GmbH Baker Görtz GmbH 67065 Ludwigshafen 168
19 Ludwig Stocker Hofpfisterei GmbH Hofpfisterei 80335 Munich 167
20 Höflinger Müller Group Müller & Höflinger, Höflinger 85375 Neufahrn 156
21 Anton Hosselmann KG Hosselmann 59075 Hamm 150
22 The Beck GmbH The Beck, Casa Pane and others 91058 Erlangen-Tennenlohe 147
23 Detlef Malzer's Backstube GmbH & Co. KG Malzer's bakery 45891 Gelsenkirchen 147
24 Achim Lohner GmbH & Co. KG The Lohner's, Lohner's Backspecktakel 56751 Polch 146
25 Hofmeister-Brot GmbH Hofmeister, Hofmeister bakery 76829 Landau 143
26 Glockenbrot Bakery GmbH & Co. oHG Bell bread bakery 60386 Frankfurt 130
27 Le Crobag GmbH & Co. KG Le CroBag, bread and rolls 22761 Hamburg 126
28 Landbäckerei Stinges & Söhne GmbH Landbäckerei Stinges 41379 Brüggen 116
29 Bakery Härdtner GmbH Bakery Härdtner, bakery Mitterer, Bohninger and others 74172 Neckarsulm 116
30 Bakery Schneider GmbH Bakery cutter 50189 Elsdorf 114

Source: Check Up Back.Business, July 2019

So do the big companies flatten the small craft shops? It's not that easy. After all, even more powerful players have switched on the baking process: discounters whose baking machines spit out bread at the touch of a button. With battles they push the prices and bring bakeries such as Schmid and boy in distress.

And yet another problem connects the two: fewer and fewer young people opt for the bakery profession. For a big bakery like a boy that's a problem - a craft business like the bakery Schmid can cost a living.

What does it mean to run a small bakery today? What are the advantages of the big chains? And how does the industry want to get young people back into the bakery?

Bakery boy: How to bake 200,000 rolls a day

Mirco Schmitt, as a manager at Junge, has to ensure that around 200,000 rolls and 10,000 loaves of bread leave the giant bakery every day. This includes a pastry shop, the Schmitt shows the tour. The bestseller is a nut cake, of which between 160 and 200 pieces are produced daily. A pastry chef spreads a marzipan corner over a whole row of cakes with a large roll and then cuts the individual casings. Especially in the confectionery there is almost only manual labor, says Schmitt.

Rolls from the factory

Mirco Schmitt heads production at the bakery Junge in Lübeck. He learned bakers, then studied industrial engineering. Now he manages the production and is responsible for around 90 employees.

The bakery boy is a big business. This becomes clear when you look into the bakery. Here, a batter kettle is pushed to the bread line. This is the machine in which the dough is processed and put into the appropriate bread roll form.

Digitization helps to keep production running smoothly. Each dough kettle is equipped with a chip, so that dough rest, kneading time and temperature are monitored. A screen shows when the dough is ready for processing.

Around 10,000 breads leave the Junge-Backstube every day in Lübeck. Despite the large amount, the company attaches great importance to the fact that bakers still lend a hand to bread.

The finished bread dough is tipped into a Brotanlange. There it is portioned, a baker makes by hand a control on the scales. In another machine, the dough is kneaded and shaped. Then bakers give the loaves in bread baskets. For certain types of bread, the dough is portioned only by machine and then knitted and shaped by the bakers by hand.

The big oven of the bakery Junge: At the front, the dough pieces are pushed in and then drive through the oven to the end. It can be set in different temperature zones.

Buns are formed in the so-called bread line. In the machine, the dough passes through several stations where it is pressed, folded and cut. Then the dough pieces come in large fermenting cabinets and then in the oven.

Production of cheese rolls: In order to control the quantities, software is also used. This proposes order quantities to the employees in the shops. Influencing factors include the weather and what day of the week is pending. Customers can also pre-order their goods online for pickup.

A co-worker decorates a photomotor in the pastry shop. Especially in the production of cakes, pies and pastries much manual work is still in demand.

Young has adapted to the habits of customers and is becoming more and more of a gastro company. Here an employee fills a pasta salad. In-house snacks are made for the shops.

A look into the so-called expedition, so the delivery hall. Here the deliveries to the shops are coordinated. Junge operates his own truck fleet. Everything that is sold in stores is stored or produced by the company itself and then takes over the logistics.

The big bakery boy wants to "transfer craft in size", ie to convey to the customers that even with large quantities not only machines, but also still real bakers are at the products to it. The finished dough is tipped into a Brotanlange. There is portioned, a baker makes by hand a control on the scales. In another machine, the dough is kneaded and shaped. Then bakers give the loaves in bread baskets.

It is different with rolls. Here, the dough kettle goes up by lift and is tilted into the funnel of the bread line. In the machine, the dough passes through several stations where it is pressed, folded and cut. In the end, the bread rolls can also be sprinkled with grains before they go into large proofing cabinets and then into the oven.

This oven is about twelve meters long and can be divided into different temperature zones. The baked goods pass through the oven once and end up on a conveyor belt that leads directly into the packaging. In a large hall, the products are assigned to the respective truck. The rolls come half-baked in the branches and are finished there.

Bakery Schmid: From the bakery directly into the shop

Also at the bakery Schmid in Bavaria is working with machines - but with much smaller. Breads are also machined and shaped here. And also for bread rolls, the family business bought a "bread roll" three years ago, which produces around 20 varieties. The dough, which has been set by hand, is tipped in at the front and at the end of the machine the finished round dough pieces emerge. On good sales days, 2500 rolls and 90 breads are baked. These go directly from the bakery to the adjacent store.

A look in the bakery

Stefanie Schmid and her son Simon. Bakery and family life belong together here: the little one grows up in the bakery. When his mother is in the bakery in the morning, his grandma takes care of him.

Also in the operation of the family Schmid machines facilitate the work. The flour comes from the funnel on the top right. It is pumped out of silos in the basement. In the dough kettles, the dough is kneaded.

This is the so-called Semmelanlage. The dough, set by hand, is tilted into the funnel on the right and at the end of the machine the finished round dough pieces emerge. Rectangular rolls or pretzels still require manual labor.

Here you can see a so-called disc sander. This can be used, for example, to form rectangular rolls.

This machine is called in the bakery Schmid Rollfix with effective channel. This bread can be kneaded and shaped. Then it has to be placed by hand in the bread basket.

Here you can see stoves and fermentation rooms. While in the bakery the bread rolls and breads pass through the large oven from the back to the front, the pieces are brought out quite classically in the front. The bakery Schmid still has a smaller oven in the shop, where in the afternoon again in smaller quantities freshly baked.

Bread, rolls, snacks and confectionery: the family business covers the whole range. The bakery Schmid is in the small town Burglengenfeld the only enterprise, which still bakes there at the location. All other bakers are branches.

In recent years, the bakery has steadily expanded its range, for example, added sweet baked goods. In order to be able to offer customers the widest possible choice on a daily basis, there are cold rooms in which prepared products can be stored and, if necessary, baked. This is the same with the small business as the Großbäcker boy.

Whether you are a big or small baker, you all face the dilemma that customers want a large selection, but if possible, no mass-produced goods. The big bakery Junge advertises with its elaborate sourdough bread. The dough is made in three stages and must ripen for 16 hours. Each dough in boy is set on a monitor by computer control, kneading time, dough rest and temperature are digitally monitored.

In the small bakery Stefanie Schmid's father is responsible for bread baking. Again, the sourdough is scheduled the day before - but without digital aids. The ingredients are weighed by hand and mixed together. The flour is pumped out of silos from the cellar into the bakery.

Stefanie Schmid's grandparents still drove bread to the surrounding villages and farms. Bread is less and less popular these days, the trend is going to bread rolls and snacks, says Stefanie Schmid. Deliveries to schools and companies are also less. Instead, the store has been expanded to include a café, and the bakery also offers self-service snacks to take away.

Competition from Aldi and Lidl: The attack of discounters

Lidl, Aldi and Co. make with their baking stations both the big branch bakers and the little ones powerful competition. "Many customers praise us, and then you can see them at the Lidl-Backwarenentheke," says Stefanie Schmid. With the prices there, the family business can not keep up: "Our rolls are 25 cents almost twice as expensive as Lidl." For some customers, it does not matter that the family bakery only buys their flour from a mill in the region.

An even tougher competition, however, are the bakery branches in shopping malls or in the vestibule of supermarkets. "There's no family business like ours," says Schmid. Condition there is that until one hour before closing time still two-thirds of the range must be available - no matter how much then ultimately left. "Many customers do not drive past us," says Schmid.

The big bakery boy also deliberately wants to distinguish himself from the discounters - with regional ingredients, such as milk and drinks, but also with the trappings. At Junge, snacks and the catering business now account for half of the turnover. Salads and ingredients such as remoulade are made every day by the young in their own kitchen. The baker wants to become a meeting place with stylish cafés, for example in Hamburg's in-districts.

Who else will be a baker? Advertise for the young people

The skills shortage is a topic that connects both the large and the small business. Even the machines, which meanwhile facilitate the work, can not replace a baker. He must pay attention to the consistency of the dough, says Stefanie Schmid.

Despite intensive advertising at professional fairs, the family business has not had a trainee for six years. Recently, a boy at a job fair let her explain everything exactly, says Schmid. "He was really interested." Shortly thereafter, he had again come to the stand with his mother, who then announced briefly that he would not have to do a job with such working hours. "For many, the bakery profession is just an emergency nail," says Schmid. "He is so diverse and you can be so creative."

She herself sees the working hours positive: After all, she has lunch at noon. Your working day starts at 2:30. Her father starts baking bread at 2 o'clock. At 3 o'clock in the morning the two companions will join us. "Except for my dad, we are a pure women's business," says Stefanie Schmid. Her mother and sister take care of the sale at the main site and another branch together with five other employees.

Young wants to offer attractive working time models

The big boy with 4300 employees is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers both in the branches and in the large bakery. This summer, five new apprentices will start at the Lübeck location. It would be a challenge to find suitable people, says Mirco Schmitt. It is important to have a reputation as a good employer. An employee at Junge only cares about the training. Currently, employees have a six-day week and 6.5-hour shifts. Not only is work done at night, some shifts also start at six in the morning or at 6 in the evening. In addition, boy works on a five-day week to become even more attractive. That would give you a clear advantage over more inflexible, smaller businesses.

How should companies like the bakery Schmid counteract there only? Stefanie Schmid's father is 59 years old. If he retires, she would have to continue the Bavarian family business alone. But her life is now also about her husband's farm - and her one-year-old son Simon. He grows up in the bakery.

Schmid no longer bakes five, but three days a week. Then she stays the night before with Simon with her parents. So she saves 20 minutes night drive and Simon can sleep in.

"There's something else besides baking bread rolls"

At her bakery-free days, Stefanie Schmid takes care of the bookkeeping at her husband's farm. There are also strawberries grown and sold. That's what gave her an idea: She wants to build a bakery in the yard and set up a court café.

Because she and her husband want more children. But then the 20-kilometer balancing act between bakery and farm is no longer possible, as it is now, she says. "Precisely because it's so hard to find staff, I would have to be there a lot," says Schmid. "I'm attached to the business and have also thought about putting my desire to have children back," she says. But her parents told her, "It's your life, and there's something else besides baking bread."

Stefanie Schmid has to think about how she wants to continue in the future. "I'm building something that suits my life," she says. Because one thing she could not imagine: a life without a bakery.

Source: spiegel

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