Bakery chain Heberer turns branches into show baking rooms

EThe cake is three meters high, measures 80 centimeters in circumference and is made from the finest chocolate and vanilla cream. It is intended for the celebration of the University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt on its fiftieth birthday on Friday. The Viennese fine bakery Heberer, whose pastry chefs produced the gem, is celebrating quietly with the fact that company founder Georg Heberer took over a bakery on Offenbach’s market square 130 years ago, which has now been family-run for five generations and has 220 branches, 90 of which are in the Rhine -Main area, one of the market leaders in Germany.

“With the cooperation with the university we would like to shift the focus”, says Georg Patrick Heberer. “We no longer see ourselves only as a traditional craft business, but are striving for a transformation into the current era.” For many young people at the university, the craft is no longer on the agenda at all. So the family business uses the opportunity to advertise a little for itself through the anniversary cooperation. For weeks now, there have been flyers and posters in the branches advertising a podcast from the university with “knowledge to go” and a competition that entices coaching.

Branch becomes an experience space

Georg and his sister Sandra Heberer, both in their mid-30s, are the current managing directors of the company, both studied, she is a business economist, he is an industrial engineer. He has also passed the master craftsman’s exams as a baker and confectioner. Both worked in other companies before taking over their parents’ business, including Porsche and Tchibo. You speak of process optimization and “important transfers from other industries” just as fluently as you speak of yeast dough. “We take more than 24 hours to minimize allergies and other intolerances,” says the boss.

The company is now just as broadly positioned: on the one hand, it supplies traditional breakfast rolls (more than 80 million per year), quick snacks at train stations and airports, ready-made baked goods for Rewe and Aldi Süd, and on the other, it is expanding large branches with glass show baking rooms , where you can also have breakfast and brunch in the café section in a dignified atmosphere. The well-known branch at Frankfurt Kaufhof on B-level, for example, is currently being redesigned into such an experience space and will be reopened in autumn.

Uncle Alexander and father Georg Heberer IV., Managing directors of the previous generation in the family empire, continue to work as shareholders and consultants. Sandra is the first woman in the family’s history to head the company and has not completed any training as a baker or confectioner. Nevertheless, she knows the baking trade inside out. “My father always said: There is nothing you don’t have to be able to do,” she says. Equal opportunities for everyone, if you make the appropriate effort. As children, they could have had all the money they wanted, “but we always had to work for it in the company,” says the brother.

A good choice

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Joining the top management of a very traditional family business in the trade, in which the eldest sons are all called Georg and are even numbered, was “a heartfelt decision” for Sandra Heberer. Even though she first got a taste of other companies, the homesickness from Hamburg drew her back home. “The trust you have in your family is irreplaceable,” she says firmly. Whatever she suggests, she has always received support. “Only in the family business do I have all the freedom to shape and move, in other companies the responsibilities are already very strictly tailored.” Her brother Georg, who is the first in the generation to leave out the ordinal number after his name – and because of the differentiation through the Replaced plain P. for Patrick – therefore sees no generation conflicts. “Of course, every generation trusts something that they have built up all their life, and parents may then think that they will continue to be the mentor for life.” However, this is always discussed openly at regular family get-togethers.

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