SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association gave its five-part bakery training program a send-off here last month at its first all-day bakery symposium.
Mary Kay O'Connor, IDDA's director of education, previewed the program at the bakery symposium, which was held in conjunction with IDDA's 31st annual seminar and exposition. Tim Williams, regional vice president of Minneapolis-based Pillsbury Bakeries & Foodservice, a major sponsor of the training program, also participated in the presentation.
Designed to help train bakery associates who have had little or no experience, the five-part series covers customer service, product knowledge, safe handling of products, merchandising and management.
The first segment, released last year, has been used to train more than 5,100 bakery associates, Williams said.
The second segment, on product knowledge, was released in May.
"Just as important as suggestive selling is your associates' ability to answer customers' questions about a product," O'Connor said. The difference between a cake doughnut and a yeast-raised doughnut, or whether the bagels are boiled, are things they should know, she added.
"But all the product knowledge and selling ability there is doesn't amount to anything without sanitation and safety," said O'Connor. She showed a video clip from the segment on food safety.
In it, a young man relates the hazards of not wearing gloves. "It was bad enough that I was filling eclairs without wearing gloves, but I had a cut on my hand which had become infected. The eclairs were to be served at a university faculty meeting," he said.
Unsanitary practices were recreated and filmed in supermarkets. Comments from the associates themselves are included on the video.
"About 95% of food contamination is employee-borne," a voice-over on the video says. A bakery associate talks about how he and his co-workers were trained to prevent contamination.
For example, "Most people have been taught to cover their mouth with their hand when they cough or sneeze, but we cover our mouths with our arms instead," he said. He also showed how he was taught a specific cleaning
"Pans and utensils can look clean when they're not," he said."They need to be washed, rinsed, sanitized for one minute in a sanitizing solution, rinsed, and then air-dried. Drying with a towel can add bacteria to a clean surface," he added.
Video clips of the fourth segment of the video showed how products can be merchandised to best advantage. The use of color, such as red bell pepper garnishes, to attract attention, was suggested. Well-placed colorful signs, and associates decorating cakes and filling French pastries in view of customers are all merchandising tools, the video points out. It also stresses the importance of keeping cases fully stocked.
"The merchandising segment aims to get associates involved in attracting the customers' attention. They should never lose sight of the fact that 85% of bakery sales are impulse," O'Connor said.
The fifth segment, directed toward department managers, includes instructions on how to accurately calculate margin, net profit, and shows ways to control shrink. All five course segments, if ordered together, will be offered at a special price for a limited time, O'Connor said. For more information, call IDDA at (608) 238-7908.