Following the success of the eraclea team’s visit to the Mary Kay Museum, Suzanne issued an inspiration challenge to the Bruegger’s Bagels team. Little did she know, Ann and I already had a plan in the works. Our mission: a tour of the nearest Bruegger’s Bagels bakery, which by the way is located in not-so-nearby Austin. Road Trip!
And so it began, early one Thursday morning. Really early. Bruegger’s Bagels does 55% of its business before 11 a.m. so it was imperative we arrive during their peak time. After a three-hour drive, we rolled into the city around 10 a.m. and headed to the Broken Spoke bakery, which, having opened in April, is one of the newest in the system.
As we entered, the morning rush was dying down, yet a steady stream of guests continued to come in and order a variety of menu combinations. While the team served them, Ann and I watched intently, absorbing everything we could.
Jason Cusick, the franchisee who runs both Austin bakeries, was there and welcomed us in a way that I can only describe as Texas hospitality. He beamed with pride as he showed us the ins and outs of his bakery.
We toured the facility from the front-of-house to the extremely small back-of-house. Then we spent most of our time at the bagel baking station. We learned the importance of boiling bagels, a process that creates more dense, chewy bagels and differentiates Bruegger’s Bagels from its competitors, then moved on to actually baking bagels, again a differentiating process that’s a bit more technical than I can accurately describe. It was most definitely an eye-opening experience, especially for me, as someone who has very little bagel-making knowledge. Before we left, Jason, a culinary school graduate, prepared for us a beautiful assortment of Bruegger’s Bagels lunch sandwiches and, in doing so, reminded us that while many people think of the brand for breakfast only, but the lunch menu deserves recognition as well. Now, that’s definitely a point you want to raise to your PR team! And on that note, we hit the road to head back to the Big D.
In my last blog post, I spoke about the memories created when guests visit our brands and this experience followed suit. I’ll always remember my first visit to Bruegger’s Bagels. The early morning road trip with Ann and I trying not to out-yawn each other, listening to 80s music and discussing our dating lives. The excitement that filled me upon arrival and the awe that overcame me as I saw important aspects of the bakery: baskets filled with bagels, menu boards displaying the LTO items that I had pitched to media, the coffee station and the selection of cream cheeses available for purchase. Then there was my first bite of the famous Bruegger’s bagel, which former New Yorker Ann says is the real deal, and the to-die-for cream cheese. The comfort of being in the bakery, chatting with other guests and taking business calls, recognizing that many others will do the same as the bakery becomes an integral part in its local area. The trip represented another first for me; it was my first time driving around Austin and seeing landmarks such as the first Whole Foods, its current corporate office and the city within a city that most know as the University of Texas.
All-in-all, it was a great experience that not only endeared me more to my client and their business, but also gave the Bruegger’s Bagels account team some fun, out-of-office girl time. In true SPM fashion, we brought goodies back to the office. The assorted bagels and Cucumber Dill Cream Cheese made a great start to a few SPMer’s summer Friday!