Twenty years ago, Essential Baking was merely two men selling bread at the Fremont Farmers Market in Seattle. Today, the company boasts four bakery café locations and a wholesale operation that supplies to restaurants, grocery stores, and coffee shops across the Pacific Northwest.
Bob Grey is relatively new to Essential Baking, joining them as CFO two and a half years ago, but he is knowledgeable about the company and its history. Moreover, he is committed to its future.
While the company has expanded exponentially, it seems, Bob says Essential Baking has not and will not deviate from its cause. “We believe in the organic proposition,” Bob says. “We believe it provides the great bread we want to give our customers. We’re very loyal to staying organic. That won’t change.” While he admits that remaining true to this is difficult – citing that organic prices have almost doubled since he joined Essential Baking – Bob refuses to compromise this commitment to remaining artisan and organic.
In the face of rising organic costs and competition with non-organic bakeries, Bob says Essential Baking is constantly looking for ways to improve. “If we’re not changing and growing with the technology, we’re dying. We’re adding customers every day. Business is getting more complex every day.” Essential Baking has, according to Bob, “secret, magical ways” in the kitchen, but the company also needs a strong technology partner. In fact, Bob says, their success hinges on it.
When Bob joined Essential Baking, the owners challenged him to research software options. They had been using TwinPeaks software, but they wanted to make sure they were using the one that would best provide the “platform for their growth.” Bob explored other software systems throughout the world, but after investigation, he realized the smartest move was to continue with TwinPeaks. “I want to make sure the software is growing with us,” Bob says. “And TwinPeaks is committed to that.”
TwinPeaks has not simply been a software provider for Essential Baking; TwinPeaks has acted as a partner, as one invested in their progress. When Essential Baking notices problems that could be eased or solved with technology, TwinPeaks works to address them. George Keushguerian, owner of TwinPeaks Software, created the ‘Process Control’ module specifically for Essential Baking. And when Bob pointed out chronic problems with invoices – wasting money by printing them on laser paper, drivers scribbling down changes while on the field and later being unable to decipher them – George created a new hand-held device program. TwinPeaks did not simply use what they already had to assist Essential Baking in their business practices; TwinPeaks actually developed new modules that would make Essential more efficient and competitive.
“I’m very passionate about anything that touches our customer,” Bob says, explaining his desire to amend Essential Baking’s old invoice system. “An invoice is a direct interface with our customer. That’s part of our DNA. I want a clean invoice. I want an invoice that looks professional, that doesn’t have a bunch of scribble marks, and I won’t give up until we get it. That’s persistence. And I see that in George.”
Though Essential Baking began as two guys baking bread, the company now handles over 20,000 invoices and 1,000 customers a month. To deliver the best service and best products, Bob says, they need technology to support them, and they have that with TwinPeaks. “I’m not easy,” Bob admits. “I need things done fast, and right. I realize I’m not their only customer, but they always get back to me the same day. They have a strong desire to help and assist.”
“Would I recommend Twin Peaks products to other bakers?” Bob asks. “From what we use and how we get supported my answer is an unequivocal yes. Nevertheless, like no one solution addresses every problem, I recommend comparison shopping. I have been told that the next generation of software will be web-based. I look forward towards taking that journey. It should be challenging and fun. The objective is to stay ahead.”