Mile Hi Bakery produces English muffins for McDonald's.
Mile Hi’s Denver location has lent itself well to development from many aspects. The bakery is taking advantage of the city’s developing economy and advances in infrastructure. As Colorado natives, the owners of Mile Hi Bakery marvel at how much Denver has grown over the years.
“The way Denver looks today is very different,” said Kristy Taddonio Mullins, president of Mile Hi, observing how massive infrastructure advancements now connect Denver with Fort Collins to the north and Colorado Springs to the South. “It’s one great connection of buildings, businesses and homes.”
It could be said that Denver’s booming infrastructure actually helped Mile Hi expand its business. For English muffins, the bakery approached McDonald’s and pointed out that Mile Hi Bakery’s central location — paired with Mile Hi Foods, a McDonald’s distribution center serving the Rocky Mountain, Southwest and Northwest regions— brought the restaurant chain great value in terms of distribution.
“They were shipping muffins from Texas and the Northwest into this market. It didn’t make a lot of sense logistics-wise to do that,” recalled Tony Taddonio, chief executive officer of Mile Hi Bakery.
From Left: Tony Taddonio, Toni Marie Taddonio Brenzikofer and Kristy Taddonio Mullins represent the third and fourth generations of Mile Hi Bakery ... and perhaps the company's most innovative years.
With a bit more room before the line hits capacity, Mile Hi still has space in the facility for a third line of its choosing, wherever the next innovation might lead.
“It’s always good to be customer-driven,” Mr. Taddonio said. “Whatever the customer is wanting to do, we’ll make our decisions based on that.”
Then again, while the bakery serves a customer known for trailblazing new product offerings, further opportunities abound.
“The packaging that we’ve invested in will help us reach multiple different markets from an English muffin perspective,” Ms. Taddonio Mullins said.
Mile Hi incorporated both penny-pack and pillow-pack options from UBE into its packaging operations.
“We invested in these other packaging options so if we take on retail customers or other Q.S.R.s, we have options,” she added.
Growth can mean different things and come from so many places, so Mile Hi has always stayed prepared.
“Four years ago, we didn’t know what capacity we were going to have,” Mr. Taddonio said. “We had our existing business, but look at the volume we have today. We’re at capacity on the bun line, and the muffin line could be at capacity in another year. It’s good news that volume increased so much sooner than we expected.”
McDonald’s and Mile Hi are a lot alike in that they are both long-standing companies with a knack for innovating.
The bakery already has withstood the odds, as very few family-owned bakeries survive the third generation these days. During his tenure, Mr. Taddonio brought the most growth and innovation to the bakery … and went one better by bringing his daughters into the fold. Today, Mile Hi is in its fourth generation of leadership with Toni Marie Taddonio Brenzikofer, bakery relationship manager for Mile Hi Bakery and president of the Mile Hi Foundation, and Ms. Taddonio Mullins at the helm.
Mile Hi Bakery is not finished growing, but where the company goes from here is not entirely up to the Taddonios.
“We have a ways to go,” Mr. Taddonio said. “We have space available, but what we do with it will be consumer- and customer-driven.”
As Colorado’s economy is growing, and Q.S.R.s like McDonald’s continue to innovate, “we’re in a good position to keep up with that demand,” he said.
As long as McDonald’s maintains a pattern of new product innovation, there’s no stopping what Mile Hi can produce for the restaurant … and what new opportunities the bakery can create for itself. McDonald’s currently accounts for about 60% of Mile Hi Bakery’s bun business, and it recently was awarded English muffin business for another large Q.S.R. chain for the Denver market.
Some even speculate that McDonald’s might expand its dessert offerings or move into croissant-based sandwiches, so flexibility will be top of mind for Mile Hi when the next opportunity knocks. Mr. Taddonio knows that from experience.
“You have to have the capital available and be ready to jump on any opportunity,” he said.