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Founder and Owner Greg Acerra’s culinary background has informed how he has built Fireking Baking Co., Braintree, Mass., over the years. Many of the bakery’s customers are restaurants like his own. Because Mr. Acerra uses his own bread in his restaurants, he knows what foodservice customers need from Fireking’s products. Mr. Acerra lets that knowledge inform his decisions about ingredients, processes and product.

“I always look at it from the kitchen side when trying to sell the bread,” he said on this episode of Since Sliced Bread. “I’m a firm believer in quality. Pay more money for quality, and it will come back to you.”

Fireking began as a small bakery Mr. Acerra started to supply bread to his restaurants, but word got around, and pretty soon, he had a growing wholesale business. A reluctance to say “no” to new business helped Fireking grow, but it also caused challenges. Luckily, Mr. Acerra enjoys a good challenge.

“In the baking industry you come in every day, and there’s another challenge,” he said. “You can grow, you can expand. In the restaurant if you’re going to do $5 million one year, it’s going to be hard to do $8 million the next. You’re confined by the four walls. In the baking industry, in the wholesale, you can just continue to grow and grow and grow. It’s infinitesimal.”

In this episode of Since Sliced Bread, Mr. Acerra details how premium ingredients can pay off and how he worked around his own knowledge gaps to overcome the challenges of a growing bakery.

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