Founder and director, Tom Eadie, decided to open his own bakery while working as the executive chef at The Boathouse Group. He shares, “I really wanted to simplify things and focus on making the best loaf of sourdough bread possible.”
Sounds simple enough. However, Eadie doesn’t believe in taking any shortcuts when it comes to crafting Berkelo’s high-quality artisan goods.
For example, their sourdough bread is made with all-Aussie, unbleached, stone-milled grain, and it’s fermented up to a week. Eadie’s dedication to the craft has paid off though because the loaves are quickly becoming legendary.
Eadie began his journey toward creating “a simple loaf of bread” by working in various kitchens—from bustling restaurants to private yachts.
He eventually returned to his hometown where he headed up a popular group of destination restaurants on the beaches of Sydney before owning his own bakery.
“Now, for the last three years,” Eadie says, “I’ve owned Berkelo and taken it from one location attached to the bakery itself to what are now three locations.”
Outside the comfort zone
Eadie currently manages fifty employees across all locations. When asked about his overall management style, he shares, “I like to give people free rein to operate to their greatest potential and work congruently with the team.”
“I like to work outside of a comfort zone,” he continues, “to push my team and me a little further than feels good—that keeps us improving all the time.”
Eadie shares, “Running or owning your own business will always be a situation of lots of personal
Along with the unconventional hours of owning and running a bakery, there are other obstacles that creep up.
Eadie confides, “At times it’s been challenging to sell a handmade product that is produced with such close attention to each individual ingredient and in a process that is traditional, rather than fast.”
He continues, “This makes for very high labour costs, but in order to stay true to the bread, that cost can’t fluctuate.”
A long-term vision
Along with being dedicated to the quality and consistency of the product he offers, Eadie reflects on additional challenges stating, “There are growing pains, choices to make around how to structure a small business with many processes.”
He explains, “I am always learning how to become a better manager and motivate my team. We like to make decisions that will be good for at least 20 years and operate outside of the fads, making decisions toward values around people, the environment, and health.”
When it comes to marketing his delicious offerings, Eadie states, “We are very straight talking with our messaging, sticking to the positive attributes of the food we create.”
Eadie and his team share this message via their Instagram and Facebook feeds, their digital mailing list, and some fantastic relationships they’ve nurtured with the press.
In addition, they cultivate the benefit of staying organised and “harness the power of holidays as social and festive times of the year that people will be more likely to think ahead, plan a meal, and therefore purchase a special cake, food hamper, or gift from us,” shares Eadie.
Give them what they want
Eadie places a huge focus on
He says, “I train my staff to be at service to the customer and keep things positive and upbeat. Hospitality is about genuine warmth for people at the end of the day.”
Along with attributing Berkelo’s success to his loyal customers, Eadie shares, “We were in the fortunate position to be in a city where no one else was doing what we were when we started.”
He explains how they capitalised on the market, saying, “A long-fermented sourdough with no commercial yeasts, sustainable flours, local ingredients, and made by hand wasn’t available—and people were ready for that.”
It’s obvious from Berkelo’s success and expansion into multiple locations that Eadie and his team have a firm handle on offering a product that people want.
He offers this advice for those looking to open their own place: “A bakery is an
He continues, “There is a lot of forecasting and management that goes into this type of fresh food business. Be sure you are passionate before setting out, but don’t be deterred—the world needs more high-quality hospitality professionals.”