Recipe for Success
The Original Cakerie
The Original Cakerie’s desserts serve as the centerpiece for some of life’s greatest celebrations and moments. Its array of irresistible layer cakes, indulgent dessert bars, and innovative dessert concepts are crafted with superior ingredients and a personalized touch. President Doris Bitz described it as, “scratch baking on an industrial scale.”
Founded by Doug McFetridge and Kent Norris in Victoria, B.C., The Original Cakerie got its start as a small operation that supplying local restaurants with desserts of the highest quality. It has since grown and expanded its range of dessert offerings.
Consistent output has served as the basis for The Original Cakerie’s reputation. “We truly bring an exceptional product to the market, and we do it for a very fair value for what we provide. We use the very best ingredients; we have no artificial flavours, trans fats, colours. We bake it like you would at home,” noted Bitz. “Throughout the entire life of this company, we have never compromised the quality or the taste of our products.”
Today, The Original Cakerie operates from a facility in Delta, British Columbia which opened in 1989 and in a state-of-the-art facility in London, Ontario that was built in 2009. Through its distribution chain, its frozen desserts reach retail and foodservice markets across North America.
Recently, The Original Cakerie was acquired by Gryphon Investors. Gryphon also bought Lawler’s Desserts, a premium cheesecake company that will round out this product group, bringing the best dessert companies together to penetrate the dessert market further.
A significant part of The Original Cakerie’s success in these markets and a key aspect of its business strategy is its strong commitment to quality and the continued use of natural ingredients such as fresh whipping cream, real fruit fillings and some of Europe’s finest chocolate.
The desserts delivered by the team at The Original Cakerie are of the same standard that they would serve to their families. “This is food that you would want to serve your family. We think about it that way, and it is an everyday occurrence here—this continuous focus on quality and exceptional products,” said Bitz.
“You can talk to anyone in our entire organization, whether they be on the production floor, in the office or in the sales force and they would say that we pay extreme care every day to, what I will call, the building of the product as well as the taste of the product.”
The Original Cakerie has invested considerably in its processes and training programs to replicate this quality across all its products. Its sweet treats include various cakes, bars, brownies and other delicious desserts.
“Throughout every production run, we are checking to make sure our product taste quality is there, and we’re constantly training our people. We maintain a BRC ‘AA’ standard rating so that type of rigor and focus on the product and focus on continuous monitoring, and quality assurance is part of our BRC program,” Bitz explained. BRC Global Standards is a prominent consumer and brand protection organization that sets standards for food quality and safety.
The Original Cakerie is also certified Kosher and gluten-free and was recognized by American quality assurance organization NSF International with the 2017 Food Safety Recognition Award for Food Safety Excellence. These awards are dedicated to Canadian food and beverage companies that have significantly contributed to food safety.
Bitz drew attention to the company’s metrics for food safety, employee safety, and quality. These are measured across The Original Cakerie’s operations to ensure every dessert meets presentation and flavour standards.
“It’s really easy to think that you are just putting something in a box,. But what we do is we make a concentrated effort to make sure that our employees understand and see where our product is used out in the market so they can see the transformation that our product goes through from the time it leaves our bakeries until it hits the plate of the guest,” described Bitz.
The Original Cakerie has been able to take full advantage of a growing gluten-free market segment. Its gluten-free Inspired by Happiness product line starts with the same quality of ingredients as any of its other desserts. “Our product development and innovation group absolutely unlocked the secret of how to make a great tasting gluten-free cake, and every single product offering that we have brought out on our gluten-free platform has been indiscernible from our regular bakery items,” Bitz said.
She highlighted the brand’s award-winning Dreamin’ of Strawberries, Dreamin’ of Chocolate and Cravin’ for Cookies and Cream gluten-free cakes. The Dreamin’ of Strawberries and Dreamin’ of Chocolate products were awarded the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Food and Beverage Award for taste, innovation and profitability potential.
The Inspired by Happiness Dreamin’ of Strawberries and Dreamin’ of Chocolate products were also recognized by Prepared Foods and Ventura Foods with the 2015 Spirit of Innovation Award for new product excellence.
Its Cravin’ for Cookies and Cream layered cake was voted first in the dessert category of TNS Consumer Survey of Product Information’s Product of the Year awards by over 40,000 consumers, proving how well received its gluten-free options truly are.
It continues to experience great success with its original offerings, such as its strawberry shortcake. “Our strawberry shortcake was one of our very first layer cakes that we made. It’s one of our oldest products, and it’s still one of our bestsellers today,” said Bitz. “We continue to see growth from this product, and it’s been in the market for over twenty years.”
“In our world, to be a product that we would be proud to stand behind and launch, we know that desserts aren’t just a meal or part of a meal or part of gaining your absolute nutrition requirements. Desserts are an experience,” said Bitz.
Effort and resources have been dedicated to monitoring food trends and consumer trends in both the foodservice and retail markets to be able to better respond to its customers, their guests and their needs.
“If they are a restaurant or a grocery store operator, their guests, when they eat the cakes that have been purchased in their environment—whether it’s a single dessert or a take-home cake—they will delight their guests and everybody who eats it or serves it is proud to do so,” said Bitz of why The Original Cakerie continues to do what it has done since its beginning.
“We aim for the look of five-star restaurant quality, and whether it is taste or appearance, it’s about bringing that to people so they can serve that to their guests,” Bitz explained. “That’s why we do what we do—so that we can bring people together.”
The Original Cakerie has brought the foremost in quality, flavour, and aesthetic to its customers and their guests since 1979. With respect for baking as an exact science and a passion for excellence, its desserts strike the perfect balance between comfort and decadence to please the eye, the palate and the soul.
“Dessert can be a reward. It can be a celebration. It can be a gathering with family. It can be the end of a meal where you get to share with each other. It’s about putting smiles on people’s faces. It doesn’t just have to taste good; it has to taste awesome.”