The Middleby Bakery Group celebrated the grand opening of its $2.2 million Bakery Innovation Center (BIC) located at the company’s headquarters in Plano during the month of April. The Bakery Innovation Center was also promoted heavily by the Middleby Foodservice Divisions at the National Restaurant Show in May.
The 30,000-square-foot facility, is the home to a new series of production lines including the new “Hurricane” 17-foot-wide tunnel oven combined with the new Emico high-capacity makeup line, available for customers to test run on the latest Middleby equipment. In addition, the Auto-Bake line is now available to produce a variety of bakery products such as pan bread, special buns, baguettes, artisan bread, muffins, cakes and cookies. The facility is the first of its kind for bread, buns and sweet goods and offers opportunities for bakers to test ideas in a confidential environment. Both lines were operating at industrial speeds during the grand opening.
“You can bake some products in a small test oven and say it looks good, but how do you take that to the next level, to large scale production of several thousand units a minute?” says Len Kilby, president of Global Sales. The new facility allows bakers to identify product processing techniques before investing in a new production line. He described the facility as an extended research and development center for bakers around the world. Mark Salman, President of the Middleby Bakery Group consisting of five companies, further explained this Innovation Center provides the opportunity for more bakers to innovate, which allows them to do more in marketing, product development and other areas to grow their business.”
In addition to early stage testing on new technology, customers are able to use the BIC for refining new product formulations on the equipment. The BIC also is designed to include a meeting area and customer host section that includes a simulated French bakery cafe for refreshments. The training area is large enough for a complete training school for up to 25 people.
During the opening ceremony, three keynote speakers were David Gibbs, President of Yum! Brands, Marianne Kirkegaard, president and CEO of CSM Bakery Solutions and Chuck Sonsteby, Chairman of Darden Restaurants discussed the future of the restaurant industry from a global perspective and the value of an integrated supply chain to control costs. Mark Salman further stated “Middleby is the first major company to link industrial processing of bakery products to the retail store environment with complementary cooking and baking equipment which greatly streamlines the total equipment supply chain for all customers.