Australia: Bakers Delight wants 150 new franchisees

Camberwell / AU. (bdh) Bakery chain Bakers Delight Holdings Pty Ltd. has shrugged off concerns about the slowing economy by unveiling plans to recruit 150 franchisees in 2009, more than double the number of franchisees that joined the company in 2008. General manager Chris Caldwell says the nationwide recruitment drive – the company also wants to hire 500 apprentices – has been prompted by the fact that Bakers Delight is still experiencing strong growth, despite the slowing economy.

The Camberwell-based company (Victoria) says it is on track to post global revenues of 570 million AUD in 2008/2009 and over six percent growth in Australia. «Bread is such a staple part of the diet. It´s a good gut filler for families and more people are entertaining at home and buying gourmet breads», Caldwell says. «Our businesses need the staff to meet the demand that is coming through». While the 28-year-old chain is one of Australia´s more mature franchise systems, Caldwell says the company is keen to expand its network in New South Wales and Queensland.

Bakers Delight is also looking for 50 new franchisees in Canada, where it operates under the Cobs Bread brand. Since establishing a presence in Canada four-and-a-half years ago, the Cobs chain has expanded to 70 stores, but Caldwell says that growth will accelerate as the model moves from company-owned stores to franchise stores.

Caldwell expects franchising recruitment will receive a boost as Australia´s unemployment rate edges higher and sacked workers look at different ways to spend their redundancy cheques. About 18 percent of Bakers Delight franchisees formerly worked in the financial services sector, and Caldwell expects this number to increase in the coming months. «Anyone who has been through the stage of taking a redundancy, it is a good stage to reassess. A lot of people understand Bakers Delight to be a mature operation but there is plenty of opportunity» (source).

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