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Brumby's bread means big business

THE Brumby’s bakery franchise has grown to 35 branches throughout WA in the past five years — with another seven planned by the end of the year. Commencing WA operations in Bicton in 1993, Brumby’s greatest growth spurt in WA was in 1998 with 11 new stores springing up.

The franchise currently has 230 stores across Australia and New Zealand. The chain is most prolific in Queensland with more than 100 stores, followed by Victoria with 60 branches.

Master franchisee David Bosworth said Brumby’s beginnings were interesting.

“Around 20 years ago, the Maharishi (you know, the one who used to hang out with the Beatles) sent his son to university in Melbourne,” Mr Bosworth said. “He started a bakery, and had five or six shops bought out by Dancorp, who expanded it to 50 stores.

“Dancorp banked with Tri-Continental Bank and, when they went insolvent, the franchisees bought out the franchiser in the late 80s.”

“I don’t mean to sound cliched but the system works, the franchisees get good returns and the lifestyle is good. Many of the new businesses have been existing franchisees taking on two or three more stores, which is testament to their enduring success. But we’re not expanding just for the sake of it. We’re very particular with locations and the selection of our franchisees.

“To be honest, only two of our WA franchisees are qualified bakers in their own right. Most who have joined up have been in their late 30s or 40s looking for career change. We train them in basic baking and management and they get good head office support.

“People who enjoy working for this type of franchise usually have some assets and are looking for a varied job rather than straight employment.”

Mr Bosworth said as consumers became more discerning in their tastes, international food was becoming increasingly popular in Australia.

“We do international recipes such as Italian and Scottish breads, and we maintain variety,” he said. “Our white bread is preservative-free, which is good for kids with ADD and people with allergies.”

Renowned for being a “highly ethical company”, all leftover food is given to local charities.

“One of the best things about Brumby’s is that everyone involved understands where they’re going,” he said. “We have a customer-friendly ethos and if someone is short twenty cents, we don’t quibble. You’ll be more favourably remembered for that one occasion than for all your special promotions.”

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