In the current situation of lockdown due to COVID-19 where the majority of the restaurant and F&B industry have stopped their work. There are many brands that are on their toes and giving their best to provide people with their daily necessities and supplies during the hard times of the country and its citizens. One such major industry running for daily essentials and to ease life is the delivery kitchen/stores. The Baker's Dozen is one amongst such brands providing people with their daily bread without any interruptions in its service in this quarantine period. Carrying on the supply and products in such a sensitive time is a great task for every brand as it involves a lot of precautions and safety measures to be taken.
To spread the word on the hard work of every brand Aditi Handa - Co-Founder and Chief Baker at The Baker's Dozen shares her views in an open letter on the "Moral responsibilities of the brand during and post the crisis"
“The current pandemic situation is an extraordinary time for everyone and for every individual. We are all experiencing situations at work and home which we hadn’t planned for or haven’t dealt with earlier in life. At times, I feel as if I am living in a movie, it’s very unreal with lots on highs and lows. Yet it’s true, very true and we need to address it head-on and be supportive to each other as much as we can,” shared Handa.
Handa who comes from a family of freedom fighters grew up listening to real-life stories from her biji (maternal great grand-mother) and nana of how the entire country had united during the freedom struggle; whether it was 5-year-old child distributing pamphlets or a young man following leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel or Bhagat Singh. Women, young and old were on their toes to sew khadi at home to make sure everyone wore desi as part of the Swadeshi Movement. “I found these stories very inspiring as a child. The people of that generation experienced a time of struggle and did their share of duty towards the nation. They developed a value set that was unique to them. I always wondered if we would ever be lucky to serve our nation like that and do something worth being proud of for our nation,” she added.
When the COVID-19 started hitting India, The Baker’s Dozen considered shutting their factory to ensure everyone was safe. They took a 2-day shut down around the Janta Curfew day. “We got calls from our customers in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi to know whether we will be supplying the next set of orders, could we provide contactless delivery and so on. They needed food and I started thinking that if today Indians like us who provide daily essentials would stop producing, we may have a bigger problem on our hands than even COVID 19. We realized that it was our moral responsibility to be able to provide fellow Indians with their basic food requirement. Finally, the chance had come where we could serve our nation similar to how our forefathers had during the freedom struggle,” she said proudly.
The café is operating at a 50% lower capacity, but their entire staff is showing up every day to serve their customers and country.
To provide food The Baker’s Dozen consider it to be their moral responsibility to be able to supply daily essentials at this difficult time our country is going through. Even with limited manpower and lockdown restraints, they are ensuring a consistent supply of bread as much as possible.
To protect their staff is their first & foremost priority and they remain to ensure the utmost hygiene and safety procedures, at their manufacturing set up and at stores, for the staff and their health. “We have ensured the staff that we have at the manufacturing facility have no travel history in the 3 weeks prior to lockdown or interactions with people with one. This means we are working with lower staff strength than usual,” she further shared. The group is also providing them transport to ensure they don’t use any form of public transport. The staff is also working while keeping a safe distance. “We monitor their temperatures and our personnel hygiene protocols are very stringent. Even before the lockdown or Janta curfew was put into action, considering the safety of our store staff and delivery staff, we had started the process of contactless delivery. This meant 2 pre-paid orders, delivery at the entrance of complex or if it’s door-step delivery, then maintaining a safe distance. Our delivery boys are trained to sanitize their hands frequently and use masks. At stores, we have similar sanitation processes as in our factory for personnel hygiene and sanitization of work counters, doors knobs, etc,” shared Handa.
The product to be hygienic, healthy and safe they have always believed to make a product that is hygienic, healthy, natural. This runs in the blood of every employee at TBD. The sanitation process of their equipment and facility is very stringent to ensure the product has the highest hygiene standard.
Training our staff to be extra cautious and washing their hands even more frequently at this time, wasn’t a task at all… simply because they are already so used to following the highest standards of maintaining health and hygiene.
Also, they have only a select few people who are allowed to touch the product post-baking until it's been packed in the inert atmosphere in the special barrier packaging film that they use. The staff that is in contact maintains hygienic protocols of covering their arms and hands, sanitization of work surfaces the product is on, wearing marks, etc.
During this period, every company is coming up with efficient ways of working due to a lack of manpower. Their delivery mechanisms on the sales-end are becoming more efficient by doing bulk deliveries in areas or complexes. Such practices bring about a lot of operational efficiency for the brand and the customer. “It is our job to ensure we can follow such practices post COVID too. We need to spend time and resources on developing customer awareness in the arising need for simplifying lifestyle choices and streamlining our lives,” said the chef and restaurateur.
“And finally, I am thankful that we are guided by such a thoughtful and supportive team of employees and associates who have proven to be the very best through all of their efforts, advice and have stood by every decision made by us. Throughout this harrowing experience, I have been inspired by all of you. Even in the worst of circumstances, I’ve seen the very best of us. There is undoubtedly more uncertainty and tough decisions ahead of us for the upcoming days. And we will tackle them as a team, with a wide range of voices and perspectives that will make us stronger,” she concluded.