RBA'S CONVENTION TO FOCUS ON BREAD-AND-BUTTER ISSUES

LAUREL, Md. -- The Retail Bakers of America has released the preliminary seminar program for its 26th annual convention-exhibition, March 11 to 13, in San Francisco.Among those seminars aimed at supermarket bakery-deli executives will be one entitled "True Profit: How to Measure It, How to Make It." At that seminar, a newly-developed labor costing matrix will be unveiled, said Peter Houstle, executive

LAUREL, Md. -- The Retail Bakers of America has released the preliminary seminar program for its 26th annual convention-exhibition, March 11 to 13, in San Francisco.

Among those seminars aimed at supermarket bakery-deli executives will be one entitled "True Profit: How to Measure It, How to Make It." At that seminar, a newly-developed labor costing matrix will be unveiled, said Peter Houstle, executive vice president of RBA.

"This will enable bakery directors to figure labor costs for every product. And, in my opinion, this is probably the most important topic on the program because supermarket bakeries have tended to apply the 'grocery mentality,' not figuring in labor. They get a 40% to 50% margin and think they're doing great, but the bakery is very labor-intensive. They could be losing 10 to 15 cents on every sale," Houstle said.

The matrix is formula based. By feeding in data, such as length of production run and other details, retailers can calculate the net on each bakery item. "And net varies significantly from one product to another," Houstle said. Using the matrix could help a retailer decide what combination of frozen dough, par-baked, mix and thaw-and-sell to use in order to make the most money, he added. Others topics included in the program will be "Open Production Area: Do You Dare?," "Increase Sales with Light, Color and Texture," and "Emerging Technologies to Increase Production." "Joint Ventures" will explore the feasibility of partnering with an independent bakery to run an in-store operation. Also, nutrition labeling will be addressed in terms of how to make it an opportunity for profit.

"It sounds like a good idea because of the theater it will provide, but if details, such as keeping equipment and aprons clean, aren't given enough attention, it won't be positive," Houstle said. A related seminar will investigate the impact of format changes on profitability.

A focus group demonstration and retailer roundtables will he held again this year, back by popular demand, Houstle said.

"I think what we've put together are sessions that will address bottom-line issues, and our goal this year is to make sessions truly interactive. We want those attending to participate," Houstle said.

Seminars are scheduled for the mornings of the three-day convention-seminar. For registration information, call RBA at 800-638-0924.