La Brea Bakery bread
La Brea Bakery offers onsite training for in-store bakery managers.

LOS ANGELES La Brea Bakery’s relationship with its bread doesn’t end when the product leaves the plant.

Whenever this Los Angeles-based supplier of par-baked and fully baked artisan breads lands an account with a new retailer, it sends a team to provide training onsite to in-store bakery managers.

“We talk about the differences between all the different types of bread and teach them how to bake and present them correctly,” said Andrew Blok, La Brea Bakery brand director.

Because the bakery provides a par-baked model, training is vital to ensure the final product on the shelf lives up to the La Brea Bakery brand.

“We’re reliant on that last step, so we invest a lot to make sure it gets executed perfectly, much in the same way we do our jobs on the front end,” Mr. Blok said.

Many retailers, similar to wholesale bakery manufacturing, grapple with finding good help. Providing training to in-store bakery managers also gives an added level of support at the store level, where turnover is high.

After presenting training to managers, La Brea Bakery often will send in a team to follow up at the store level.

“It’s not only additional education in-house, but it’s also sometimes an extra set of hands in the store,” Mr. Blok suggested. “When they’re short-staffed, we can pitch in a little and help them while making sure the bread program is rolling out correctly.”

By educating retailers about not only La Brea Bakery breads but also artisan bread in general, the company creates added value and becomes a sort of category manager for its customers.

“We are trying to help them succeed as much as possible,” added Jonathan Davis, senior vice-president, R. and D.

“A rising tide floats all boats,” Mr. Blok said. “If we can help our customers be successful, we’re going to be successful as well.”