‘Wow!’ is often the initial reaction of new customers at Pastryclub in Eindhoven (The Netherlands). “Everyone is so enthusiastic about our concept, it’s totally unique,” says pastry designer Jurgen Koens. “We do all our work in full view of the customers. Production starts right behind the counter. We use high-quality ingredients and we prepare everything ourselves. I have nothing to hide, on the contrary I’m extremely proud of what we do!”
The centrepiece in any bakery should be the oven. Our Taste Tomorrow study revealed that an open oven concept has a magnetic appeal that consumers find impossible to resist: it effortlessly communicates the idea of freshness, it exudes an irresistible aroma and it triggers people to buy more baked goods. Pastryclub has given this insight an original twist. Its open production and open storage creates a totally transparent concept. Koens: “Because our kitchen is completely open, it’s so obvious everything we bake is fresh that we don’t need to make any additional effort to convey the experience of freshness.”
Professionals at work
“We offer high-quality patisserie and chocolates presented in a low-threshold setting in a modern, industrial, urban environment.” Koens has six employees but no serving staff. “Everyone who works here is also involved in creating our products. It adds an extra dimension to our customers’ experience to be served by a professional.” The Taste Tomorrow research shows that consumers primarily judge how fresh bakery products are by their smell and crunchiness as well as the time they were baked. At Pastryclub Koens has noticed this too. “Customers love to watch us making our products. There’s always something going on. And in our situation there’s no doubt: Seeing the baking sells.” The open kitchen also instils a certain degree of discipline. “It forces you to work meticulously, even under pressure. Customers really pay attention to what you’re doing. If you work carefully, your end product is often much more appealing too.”
Mid 2017 Pastryclub has two branches. One location is dedicated solely to patisserie and ice-cream and the other focuses on chocolate. However, Koens would prefer to separate all the products. “My dream is to set up multiple kitchens, each of which focuses on a single product group. For example, a concept that focuses uniquely on croissants and coffee pastries, as is common in Belgium and France. Branches can supply each other with products in order to create a total range for the customer.” Having a single focus means your professionals are specialists. It leads to faster production and higher quality. “If you focus on one product you become expert at it. I have two permanent staff and one mobile employee working on chocolate. They literally know everything there is to know about it.” Koens rotates his staff in order to maintain alertness and to stimulate development. “Every employee spends at least a year permanently on one product group. Subsequently, one permanent employee is transferred and the mobile employee becomes a permanent member of staff. That way I maintain continuity but I also keep my professionals on their toes and make sure they remain motivated.”
You might also be interested in our article about the magnetic appeal of the open oven concept or the best practice article featuring Berlin’s Kamps Backstube .