Let them eat cake (and bread): how talented staff are the key to the best bakes

 

Martin Hardiman and his crack team of bakers create artisan bread and pastries for independent cafes and hotels across the city. See how they started – and how his team are at the heart of the business’ success.

 

‘You could maybe say I’ve been a pedlar most of my life because I come from a family of market traders.’ Martin Hardiman, cofounder of Little Bread Pedlar has been running his own market stalls since he was a teenager, and has moved from doing business from his own flat to the white, airy arches of London Bridge, (Bermondsey side).

In part due to a comment about the lack of good pastry in London, and in part due to inspiration from a Michelle Roux pastry book, Little Bread Pedlar pushed their business, first through pastry, and then branching out to bread, to create artisan bakes to an exceptional standard. Now the business keeps high-end cafes and restaurants across the city.

At the heart of success: the team

Little bread pedlar bicycle

At the heart of success: the team

Cindy Zurias, the deputy head baker speaks of the business as being ‘like a family’. Linked by teamwork, an obvious passion for what they do, and with jokes, it’s clear why.

Martin makes it clear that the team are a huge priority of his. They’re all intensely passionate about their craft and – judging by the end product – there’s a lot of talent in the room. Holding onto them and keeping them happy is vital for Little Bread Pedlar’s continued success, and Martin sees this. From their bright, open workspaces, premium-quality ingredients (and excellent coffee that gets them through the early starts), the end result is a happy team who have pride in every tart and every loaf created.

Putting the team first, to Martin, makes perfect business sense: ‘I guess it’s about human relationships, and relationships with our customers. You can see we’ve got a great team here, and they’re all there for each other, and that’s the main thing.’ That’s why for him, the next logical step is that he wants to involve the heads of department in the decision-making processes by making them stakeholders. It’s a really smart move. Making employees stakeholders gives them a stronger voice and shows them they’re valued. It’s a great reward for senior employees that have devoted a lot of heart and soul into the business.

From bakery to breakfast plate

Bread delivery

From bakery to breakfast plate

Their bakes go all over London, with deliveries ranging out as far as Highbury and Forest Hill, arriving fresh to cafes, hotels, and restaurants. Martin assures that the pastry stays fresh for up to two days thanks to the long fermentation process – but of course the time people want fresh bread and pastry is within hours of being made. This means the bakers are working in shifts through the day and night to get everything ready for the deliveries, which kick off at 4am. 

Like lots of market traders, they originally delivered everything by bike, and later transitioned to vans to keep up with the growing demand. But, unlike most other traders, they have still stayed true, in part, to their original ‘pedlar’ roots. Their bakes go out via a bike delivery service called Peddle Me, and vans leased from Zipcar. For the business, both options save the stress of owning and maintaining vans and allow them to be more environmentally conscious.

From here, Martin also says that retail is becoming an option, meaning you just might start seeing the Little Bread Pedlar name around London, so keep your eyes and ears open: trust me, you definitely don’t want to miss out on their sourdough and croissants.

How are Little Bread Pedlar using Zipcar for Business?
  • Current plan: Zipcar Roundtrip - pick up a car from a dedicated bay from all over London through our app and pay by the hour
  • Vehicle: VW transporter van
  • Driving rates: £3.50/hr and £38/day

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Solving everyday issues

rack of croissant

Solving everyday issues

Part of community experience is, of course, helping practitioners solve the everyday challenges and barriers to work. Elsa shares that travel and transport can be problematic for the community: “The main challenges a practitioner might have in trying to reach a client is travel, of course. We’ve all had that issue of the Tube being down, or not being able to find parking – parking is a huge thing.”

When it’s your business, or clients that you might not be reaching, there’s a lot at stake. To make the whole thing a lot easier, Urban decided to partner with Zipcar. For practitioners, like Carlos Illera, it makes a huge difference. As a massage therapist, he feels the benefits of Zipcar. “It’s great – especially when you need to move around London with a massage table. It’s very convenient and you don’t need to book ahead of you time, you can just book last-minute and the car will be there ready”.

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