I attended BreadTalk’s launch of a new store concept at Vivocity last week, together with journalists from mainstream media. And what I gathered from the comments left on Facebook after the journalists uploaded their articles was that netizens aren’t letting go of past incidents yet – mainly the 李不开你 buns and BreadTalk x Yeo’s soya milk saga.
However, I think it’ll be interesting to watch how BreadTalk moves on from those incidents, and regains trust from consumers. Perhaps the new concept signals new beginnings? So… suspend your judgement for just a bit and let me take you through my experience at the media launch last week, ok? :D
In this picture above, you see the Red Been Queen buns (with Taiwan-imported red beans, at S$1.70 each). It is just one of over FIFTY brand new items specially developed by BreadTalk’s international Master Chefs, like Shin Horie from Japan, Alan Zou from Taiwan and Janson Loo from Singapore. I got to taste items like the Sweet Potato Volcano, Mala Chicken, Himalayan Pink Salt bun, Rice Chiffon Cake and Hokkaido Swiss Roll. But my favorite, surprisingly, was the Snow White Yam (with Taiwan yam cubes, at S$1.60)! :D It’s a real surprise because I don’t usually eat yam – in fact, I avoid it entirely in desserts and pastries.
The new range of buns and cakes are made from premium natural ingredients such as Japanese-milled flour and pure butter from New Zealand. I like that no artificial elements, additives or preservatives are added. You can also check out the breads made from four different dough types: White Dough, Natural Yeast, Soft French and Wheat Germ. They have been paired with oriental ingredients like wine-soaked longan, sweet potato and Sichuan spices. Yummy! :D
A photo with BreadTalk Chairman, Mr George Quek, and my pal, Steven Lek
Mr George Quek, or rather, Dr. George Quek, holds a Doctorate in Business Adminstration (Honorary) from Wisconsin International University, USA. He is also the President of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan (潮州八邑会馆) and Chairman of Xinmin Secondary School’s Advisory Board. In 2000, he started the BreadTalk bakery business in Singapore and brought it to list on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2003!
Attendees of the launch event were each given a “cube”. I’d hurriedly taken a photo with the one I scribbled on, before event staff took it away from me and placed it into a ‘wall’ filled with other cubes that people had shared their ‘recipe for JOY’. Mine’s ‘Smiles + Gratitude (*repeat)’…
[A note to my pal, Samy, if you’re reading this: No soya milk served at the event, ok :P Water, orange juice, and hot beverages only. Hehe]
Dr George Quek’s take on the recipe for joy is ‘Love’ and being a giver. He believes that one should demonstrate love both at home and at work. When you love others, they will reciprocate, according to him. When quizzed about how he maintains a work-life balance, he emphasized the importance of having a good team and then delegating work to them so he can have more time for his family. He says that there are no shortcuts to success – 苦尽甘来, after the bitterness, comes the sweet.
Outside the Vivocity outlet, you see interactive panels like this one:
BreadTalk has a new “Hot and Fresh” notification system. On the screen you’ll see when your favorite buns will be out of the ovens, and you can also sign up for the Digital Alert so a message can be sent to your handphone to notify you! :)
I’m glad to know that BreadTalk will be rolling out e-Scheduling and e-Production, which is aimed at improving productivity by at least 3 percent and reducing wastage by an estimated 20 percent.
After the launch, there were fringe activities within Vivocity. I chanced upon one such activity at Level 1. Shoppers were given a (big) dice to roll, and there were prizes to be won. I won a free tea cake! :D I picked a strawberry-flavored steamed cake, and I must say I enjoyed it (not just because it was free). Haha!
All in all, I think I’ll still support this local brand which has done Singapore proud. It has spread its wings overseas and has won so many awards too! The BreadTalk Group has a global staff strength of over 7,000 employees, with 1,000 outlets in 17 territories. It is inevitable that an error or two would occur at some point. After all, to err is human. And I can’t even honestly say that BreadTalk buns are pricey, having bought (slightly bigger) buns from a popular bakery chain with items that can easily cost upwards of S$7. Eat and let live, I say. :D