Students Learn Teamwork In The Bakery

Team Cream Puff production at the Wisconsin State Fair

No business can survive without teamwork. In the bakery, it’s essential…365 days a year and usually 24 hours a day, bakery team members are responsible for tasks, organization or processes that effect how well the bakery operates. Particularly in the production process, one shift’s success depends on the earlier shift’s performance through the entire cycle of steps beginning with mixing the ingredients through filling retail shelves with finished products or delivering them to their final wholesale destinations.

Teamwork is essential and also something that new staff may need to learn. The Original Cream Puff bakery at the Wisconsin State Fair is a prime example of bakery teamwork in action. Its production volume is massive and only about two weeks long, so Team Cream Puff, as they’re affectionately called, relies heavily on a temporary, young labor pool.

George Weber, Tequilia Lewis and Maria Munoz of Milwaukee’s MATC Baking & Pastry Arts program

“With Team Cream Puff working around the clock, we began the event by hiring and training nearly 220 team members. Of which, 52% were first year applicants,” said Dave Schmidt, CEO of the Wisconsin Bakers Association, which operates the Original Cream Puff bakery. “By the time we wrapped things up on Sunday, August 16, we had seen nearly 40 people decide they could not remain part of the team, either by choice or through the decision of management. This is not unusual when you are hiring young people who have no idea what bakery work is truly like,” he said.

Schmidt gives much of the credit for Team Cream Puff’s success to the 23 baking students from Milwaukee’s MATC Baking & Pastry Arts program who staffed the Original Cream Puff production team and produced more then 400,000 Original Cream Puffs over the days of the Wisconsin State Fair. “Great team work makes for great results, and these students show the pride and commitment it will take to be the future bakery leaders of tomorrow,” Schmidt added.

This year, the Original Cream Puff bakery achieved sales of nearly $1.25 million in 11 days, which is the bakery’s second highest year in its 91 years of business making Original Cream Puffs, Blue Ribbon Brownies and Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies at the Wisconsin State Fair.

How’s that for teamwork?