Gula Cakery: from home bakery to six outlets across Klang Valley
The local F&B scene is brutally competitive - it is always a question of longevity and survival. Food trends could fade out as fast as it emerges. But one talented founder of a homegrown bakery is determined to make her business thrive for the long run, one cake at a time.
Nor Arieni Adriana Ritzel may only be 31 but the brains behind Gula Cakery has already built a dessert empire of her own. The key to survive is to stay relevant, otherwise the business will lose out on customers, she said.
To stay relevant, is to be in the know of the latest food trends. Gula Cakery is home to more than various cakes, desserts and wholesome meals cooked with love.
While they offer classic and timeless selections, Arieni said it’s also important to find the right balance in enhancing its offerings in line with the latest trends.
“People like to try new things. We have to understand our target market. There are different groups - for example families may not always hop on new trends while others may be keen to be more adventurous and try out new things, so it’s about knowing how to manage this,” she said.
Gula Cakery’s target market is for families, said Arieni.
“I call this place a one-stop centre, you get good food, good cakes, ice-cream for both adults and kids,” she said.
FROM ONE TO SIX
Under the Gula Cakery group, there is Gula Petite, Andra by Gula Cakery, Gula Creamery and even a Mexican food outlet called El Ocho.
The business is flourishing with six outlets strong across Klang Valley. Of course like most companies, the journey grew from its humble beginnings.
“Gula Petite means small, it’s the smallest out let we have. Andra by Gula Cakery is actually inspired by my son’s name, I wanted to give it a personal touch.
“Gula Creamery started during the pandemic and it’s all cake flavoured ice-cream,” she said.
Now, Arieni manages over 150 staff. “It’s a very big number for SMEs (small medium enterprises).
It’s now all about managing people, standardising the quality, recipes.
“It’s not easy - it’s understanding what customers like or don’t like. And with the advent of technology, this is a challenge too as we need to understand how this is utilised in order to communicate with customers.
“Gula Cakery is still growing so there are alot of gray areas that I still need to learn as an entrepreneur as well,” she said.
Growing from one to six outlets, Arieni said it’s all about the support she has received throughout her journey as an entrepreneur.
Back in 2015 she actually won RM500,000 from a pitching competition.
“I had a mentor for that, so that mentor taught me how to run the business and how to manage people, I was only 25.
“The process of having the support system and it was just the right time. Seven years ago the cake industry wasn’t like it is now.
“I was one of the pioneers to start off from a home bakery to and outlet so I think that was also an advantage,” she said.
Sinar Daily goes behind-the-scenes at Gula Cakery to discover more about its operations and what else it has in store. Watch the full episode on www.sinardaily.my.