KANSAS CITY — Tasos Katsaounis remembers a mentor who always said to “hire people who are smarter than you” to take a business to the next level.
As someone without a baking background, the president and chief executive officer of Bread Man Baking in Houston hired Drew Gimma as director of operations. Mr. Gimma, who had run the bread programs at top Houston restaurants like Common Bond and Squable, provides the heart and soul of artisan baking. Mr. Katsaounis then enlisted Leo Garza as plant manager who has more than 20 years working in major wholesale bakeries in Texas. He provides the commercial baking operational expertise with his experience in starting up bakeries and in lean management.
“Together, Drew and Leo combine their respective talents and expertise in both the artisan process and commercial baking to scale Bread Man’s production with quality and efficiency at the forefront,” Mr. Katsaounis told Baking & Snack for its July feature on the company’s new bakery. “They can technically learn from each other’s areas of expertise. It’s probably the best marriage that I have been a part of in terms of being a matchmaker in a business context.”
The businessman doesn’t make decisions without consulting the two bakers to make sure everyone brings their knowledge to the table. Before rolling out products, for instance, Mr. Katsaounis crunches the numbers to calculate the labor and margin requirements, then lets the bakery duo begin formulation before green-lighting a project.
When managing a bakery, Mr. Katsaounis said, the decision is to always work with bright people whose talents complement one another, and then let them do their jobs.