Bakery: Roche Bros., Wellesley, Mass.

Kat Martin
Former Senior Editor

What sets Roche Bros.’ bakeries apart from the competition is the bakers, says Josh Naughton, director of deli, seafood and bakery.

“We’ve got some of the best bakers in the industry running our departments,” he notes. “They’re very passionate; it shows with the quality of product they put on the shelf and the quality, personalized service they give our customers.”

The bakeries have up to 30 associates working in the department to provide that top-notch service — all staffers, even the bakers, are trained for customer service.

The service case generates a lot of business in the department — about a quarter of sales — with a large selection of specially decorated cupcakes, cannoli and tarts. The top-selling product is muffins, with blueberry, coffee cake and chocolate chip the top three varieties.

“On any given day, [muffins] are the No. 1 perishable item sold throughout the whole company,” Naughton notes. “One day it’s muffins, the next day it’s bananas. It’s always muffins and bananas.” The one item that’s unique to the department, however, is the Key lime pie. “I really haven’t seen it in any other market,” he adds. “It’s a great item. We sell a ton of it.”

The departments do a lot of merchandising on self-service tables that were specially designed for the company, and Naughton likes them to be laden with product.

“When you see a table stacked 10 high of whatever it is, you’re going to walk over there; you want to see what it is,” he explains. “I think it needs to look full, and it needs to scream, ‘You need to buy me.’ If you have a table display on the floor, and there’s only five loaves of bread on it, I think the perception is that it’s old; we already sold what we were going to; [the product] is old for the day. I like everything overflowing and big, bold, aggressive, high displays.”

Undoubtedly, the bakery products bring in customers.

“Our bakery is a total destination for the consumer,” Naughton says. “Our bakeries are one reason why customers come to our stores.”

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