“Bakery producer” is perhaps not a familiar English term, but it's what Chef Tsunetaka Kawakami calls himself. Chef Kawakami has more than 30 years of experience as a baker and as a bakery owner and manager based in Japan, and now he is making his vast know-how available to entrepreneurs and investors looking to launch successful bakery businesses outside of Japan.

Japanese bread is renowned for its great taste, particularly in southeast Asian countries and China. Chef Kawakami's unique approach to bakery launch means that the entrepreneurs or investors involved don't need to have any experience making bread or running a bakery. They don't even need to have business experience. What's more, there's no need to hire experienced staff. With Chef Kawakami it's possible, starting entirely from scratch and using locally sourced equipment and ingredients and locally hired staff, to open a successful bakery selling delicious, additive-free, Japanese bread.

The basic flow of bakery production is outlined below. Chef Kawakami is on board throughout to provide targeted support, at every stage until bakery launch and then through post-launch follow-up consultations.

 

 

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

The first stage is to get in touch with us, which you can do by email or telephone; details are on our Contact page. We are able to deal with enquiries in English, Japanese, and Chinese. Useful information at this stage would include your business background, your intended location for the bakery, and the type of bakery you are interested in opening: a standard size of bakery, a mini bakery, or a bakery cafe.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

The next stage is to visit Okayama, in Japan, to meet with Chef Kawakami and tour the Okayama Kobo bakeries: a mini bakery, a mid-size store, and a larger outlet. This will enable you to see examples of the business models advocated by Chef Kawakami and is also an important opportunity for both parties to get to know each other better.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Next, we will need to establish your goals in setting up a bakery business, as well as your vision for the business. This will allow frank discussion of whether those goals and that vision can be realised practically.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Once goals and vision have been agreed, the next stage is for the launch team to visit the proposed location(s) for the bakery. This field trip, lasting up to two weeks, will include visits to existing bakeries in the area. The overall purpose is to establish the level of competition, the target market, and what sort of products will sell well.
The field trip may also include meetings with local suppliers, in order to source the equipment and ingredients necessary to make additive-free bread in the target location. Ingredient samples may be taken back to Japan for further analysis.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Test bakes are an important stage in establishing how well additive-free bread can be baked in the target location. Subsequent to the first field trip, a test kitchen is set up in the target location, equipped with locally sourced tools and ingredients. Chef Kawakami then makes a second trip to conduct a series of test bakes. Over three days, he will bake around 60 different types of bread, tasting and discussing the results with the bakery owner(s) and investor(s). If cakes are to be sold, Chef Kawakami will be accompanied by a pastry chef.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Once the test bakes have been successfully conducted, and assuming both parties are happy to proceed, a lawyer representing Okayama Kobo will draw up a contract, which is sent to the other party for review and negotiation. In principle, such contracts will be drawn up in Japanese and the local language, with the Japanese version being binding.

 

 

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Once the contract is signed, preparations for bakery launch begin in earnest. Baking equipment and ingredients are sourced, property secured, and local staff recruited. An interior designer in Japan will be commissioned to work on the design then sent for approval to the local team. Staff requirements will be worked out and a recruitment plan drawn up accordingly. During this stage, Chef Kawakami will provide consulting services from Japan, with the practical side of preparations being overseen by the local team.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Once the fundamental preparations are ready, Chef Kawakami will travel to the target location and spend around two weeks on site to oversee the soft opening. The first week will be used to conduct test bakes with his Japanese team. During this period, a manual for local staff will be drawn up, with recipes adjusted to local conditions and tastes. The manual will contain around 100 recipes, of which 60 will be taught to locally hired baking staff over the second week. The second week comprises a five day intensive technical training course for locally hired staff. This will cover: core principles of bread-making, recipe demonstrations, detailed explanation, and practical learning. 60 recipes in a few days may seem daunting, but the entire training course is recorded, so that staff can refer to technique and explanations at any time. The baking process is divided into stages, which can be allocated to individuals. At this stage, Chef Kawakami will also inform the owner how the flour is to be blended to make the various recipes.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

The soft opening will take place while Chef Kawakami is still at the bakery, so that he can iron out any initial issues. Once the bakery is running smoothly, with both staff and equipment problem-free, the bakery should hold a grand opening, highlighting its presence to the widest audience possible.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

Once the bakery is up and running, Chef Kawakami will continue to provide targeted support and strategic advice in the form of regular consultations. According to the performance and the needs of each individual bakery, this ongoing stage may include changing the product line-up to be more competitive, store expansion, or the launch of additional branches.

Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami

The initial contract will normally be for three years, to allow enough time to launch a bakery outside of Japan and provide targeted follow-up consultations. This may be followed, as required, by a further consulting-only contract. Once the initial contract is signed, a one-off payment will be payable for services. After this, Chef Kawakami will work with the start-up bakery owner to project operating profit, and a deal will be made in which a percentage of that profit is payable to Okayama Kobo.


Bakery Producer Tsunetaka Kawakami