A new show premiering on Food Network this week gives struggling bakeries the help they need to succeed.
“Bake or Break” takes failing bakeries and gives them the tools to turn their business around. The show is hosted by Stephanie Boswell, who uses over 20 years of industry skills to help guide these bakers/business owners.
“It came down just sort of through wanting to fill that space. There’s ‘Restaurant Impossible,’ ‘Kitchen Nightmares,’ and home makeovers, but the space of doing that for bakeries hadn’t been filled yet,” said Boswell. “It’s an interesting space because in bakeries and kitchens, the investment that goes into it is huge. One piece of equipment can be $20,000 — the startup investment is massive, and a lot of people struggle with that. They are really good at what they do, but chips are stacked against them. We really wanted to go in and cast a fresh set of eyes on the businesses.”
In each episode, Boswell and her team work with each bakery for a week to completely turn around the business. After taking a day to assess the situation, the team gets hard at work on all aspects of the business, including streamlining the menu and teaching how to put out new items more efficiently, upgrading the business’s facilities — both functionally and aesthetically — and organizing the kitchen.
“In that singular day, we can figure out a lot of where the problems are. It’s like a cook with a messy station, it’s a symptom of what’s going on in the chef’s mind. A lot of times, we discover a lot going on in a person’s soul by the state of the business and their surroundings,” said Boswell. “From there, it’s a full rehaul. Organizing back kitchen, which customers never see, to feel comfortable and happy and organized, the front gets an amazing facelift and a total fresh coat of paint, figuratively and literally, the menu gets reworked, there’s new logos and signages, it’s a real 180.”
Boswell says that the owners of the businesses on “Bake or Break” are involved from start to finish, giving input on the changes that are being made to the bakery. Though they are only there for a week, the “Bake or Break” team aims to give the owners the skills to be able to carry out these changes for years to come and make sure that they are taking care of themselves in the process.
“We’re always very conscious that the owner is a part of every single step,” said Boswell. “There are lessons in how to be a boss and how to be the best version of yourself. Nothing good will happen if you don’t take care of yourself. We’ve helped make some amazing changes in the personal and professional lives of the bakers.”
Boswell and the team work around the clock for each business, putting in 16 hour days with the team to pull it all off. For Boswell, she loves it when the owners that she works with watch the whole process come together.
“I get really invested and emotional. For me, it’s huge to watch the lightbulb moments throughout the week of the owner going, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?'” said Boswell. “It’s all great, all high stress but high reward. It’s so fun to get to know these people and their families.”
Boswell says that there is so much that viewers can learn from “Bake or Break,” even if they aren’t in the bakery or food industry, including design tips that Boswell herself has incorporated in her own life as well as baking tips. However, the most important thing that “Bake or Break” has to offer is the age-old lesson of believing in yourself, particularly if you are starting a business from scratch.
“A big takeaway is believing in yourself. If you have a good product, you can start learning how to market that and run finances so you are taking a salary and back building financial planning from that standpoint,” said Boswell. “A lot of business owners don’t take money for themselves. Money goes into the business and they walk with very little. There’s so much to take away from all aspects of the show.”
All in all, Boswell hopes that viewers enjoy the show as well as the stories of the bakers that the show aims to help.
“It’s a great heartfelt show, it’s educational and entertaining,” said Boswell. “It’s an awesome show.”
“Bake or Break” premieres on Food Network & discovery+ at 10 p.m. ET/PT on April 11.