The overall message confirms that across all respondents, business has generally improved since the re-opening of the foodservice sector.
According to Alasdair Smith, Scottish Bakers CEO, its members employ more than 11,000 people across Scotland and include hundreds of high street bakeries and cafes as well as wholesalers supplying the hospitality sector along with schools, hospitals and works canteens.
“So to be able to slowly return to business as usual is heartening,” he said.
Setting the scene for the ‘new normal’
Members reported that trading has increased on average by around 25% since the easing of lockdown measures, attributed to the obviously larger passing trade and a welcoming spike in demand for food-to-go (especially across breakfast and lunchtime hours).
The association said bakers are also benefiting from rising demand from hospitality and food service businesses; increased orders from supermarkets/convenience stores; and a higher demand for hot drinks to take-away.
While 70% of respondents reported to still have around 25% of their staff on furlough, on the plus side, nearly 60% predicted a need to recruit more staff within the next three months. And 80% recognise the need to offer skills development to their workforce as a cornerstone of their recovery plans to boost productivity, quality and resilience.
“Whilst it’s not over yet, I know our high street bakers are desperate to get back to some form of normality and it’s great to hear from them that business is bouncing back,” added Smith.
“Many of our members have shown extraordinary resilience staying open through COVID to provide their communities and customers with freshly bread daily not to mention rolls, pies and pastries to keep our spirits up. They have changed business models to offer home delivery and click and collect options as well as in rural communities stocking a wider range of grocery basics to support their vulnerable customers, so they deserve this bit of good news.”