Rudolph’s Bakeries (Rudolph’s) has been providing customers with high quality German-style breads since 1951, when the company was originally founded by a German immigrant to Toronto. For several decades, the business transcended through generations of family ownership. In 2006 Dave Read and partners purchased the company.
After more than 60 years in the bakery business, Rudolph’s has grown significantly. With a market reach that once focused solely on the local Toronto market, Rudolph’s reach now spans Ontario and Quebec, as well as parts of the United States.
Read and his team take pride in the company’s history. Each day, a staff of around 140 people prepares old-world German breads for customers all over North America. As consumers move away from highly processed soft breads, more distinctly flavorful and less commercially processed breads are filling the gap in the market. Rudolph’s meets that consumer need by baking in the original German tradition using only natural ingredients without additional additives and chemicals that would normally speed the process of commercial baking.
The company’s large and growing bread line includes German classics as well as breads specially catered to consumer wants. The business is able to provide classic sandwich breads as well as more traditional German double crust varieties. Rudolph’s specialty is rye and multigrain breads and the business bakes hundreds upon hundreds of loaves in a range of size, texture, taste and color to suit both adventurous and select eaters.
A recipe for success
The Rudolph’s team uses recipes handed down through the generations to bake these products. Customers have come to rely on authentic German Rye and multigrain breads that offer an artisanal old-time taste at a reasonable price. All products are made with fresh grains as well as all-natural imported sourdough, untreated flour and other unprocessed ingredients.
“For a long time, our target market was focused on German newcomers to Canada,” Read explains. “Now, our natural breads appeal to a much broader demographic. Our breads appeal to anyone, really, who like a flavourful dense tasting bread.” The company distributes to hundreds of retail partners throughout North America. Customers can find Rudolph’s breads on the shelves of grocery stores from Quebec to Miami.
While these all-natural breads attract consumers as an alternative to the standard white split loaf for health properties, customers also appreciate the hand-crafted nature of these products.
“Our focus is on making the absolute best bread,” Read explains. “We use old-world techniques that requires a high level of human involvement. We do not add any preservatives, sugar or added wheat gluten to our products and our bakers take a lot of pride in the bread they produce.”
A growing line
While Rudolph’s formerly touted a line of specialty German baked goods, the company is now laser-focused on bread production. Read and his team are well aware of where consumer demand and potential for growth lie. For now, the crew is sticking to what it does best: baking delicious bread. Read estimates his company introduces a new product roughly once per year. The business currently distributes more than 15 SKUs to growing markets throughout Canada and the United States.
While many businesses have struggled through the global economic downturn, Rudolph’s is holding steady. Read says the secret has been to remain focused on quality, efficiency and marketing. “Our greatest challenge now is getting enough shelf space in the chain stores,” he explains. “There’s a lot more competition in the market now than there was a few years ago.” With demand for natural food rising, other businesses are trying to break into the market.
To stay ahead of the competition, the team continuously works to build and maintain strong relationships across the board. Whether with distributors or suppliers, partnerships are vital to the ability to hold onto strong margins. The business imports specialty ingredients and uses some domestic product to pull together these old-world recipes. Once the bread is baked, Rudolph’s packages the bread using materials from another long-term partner. These lasting relationships help the company to save money when ordering supplies, allowing the business to hold onto more revenue, despite a commodities market that is constantly fluctuating.
“Our goal for the coming years is to work hard and stay focused on consumer tastes,” Read explains. “We have recently gone through some rebranding that will help us improve our image and market presence and we are continuing to grow.” Regardless of where market trends take the business, Read and his team remain dedicated to baking good bread. The business continues to prioritize quality ingredients and traditional production methods that set Rudolph’s Bakeries apart from competitors at home and abroad.