Local bakery rises to the occasion
On the Rise Bakery is living up to its name, in the age of coronavirus crisis. Managing Partner Brian Evans said before COVID-19 they were doing 200 to 300 orders a day. Today, they’re averaging 450. All orders are now placed online, and pre-paid, through Toast Takeout, available through a link at ontheriseartisanbreads.com. Customers are given an order number with a pick-up time, then follow social distancing guidelines while waiting in front of the store.
“When we chose to close down for a few days, it wasn’t from lack of demand, it was to find a way to meet demand in a safe manner,” said Evans. “We had a lot of bakers who wanted to keep working. We didn’t want to force anyone to work. Unfortunately, the whole Market Hall [in the Van Aken District, where On the Rise has a second location] closed down, so between the two places we had plenty of people who were still interested.”
Evans said they rearranged to give people plenty of space to work. “For instance, we used to have four people around a table, shaping baguettes throughout the morning and having conversation. Now everybody has a separate table.” The bakers start earlier to space out production. “Then,” said Evans, “bakers clear out and the upfront team gets things packaged.”
On the Rise has started offering delivery, in addition to carryout. Evans said online ordering “was always something we wanted to be able to offer, but we were so busy it made it tough to implement a new process. This forced closure kind of forced us to evolve and adapt. This really cool system will carry through once things get back to normal.”
Will this new system help them know which croissant people want? Evans said, “We had regular, steady business, but certain items that didn’t sell as well are now hotter sellers. We don’t know whether it’s because of the [online] picture and description, or reaching a new audience; so I’m interested in seeing when we’re open all the way.”
The bakery made bananas Foster croissants one weekend, and Easter pastries for the holiday weekend, and staff is planning to take time to do some R&D. “We’re playing around with pita for Zhug [the Doug Katz Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant],” said Evans, “trying to produce all their pita and naan.“
Libba Jackson-D’Ambrosi went for the croissant, then went back for the story. She earned a bachelor's in journalism from University of Missouri. Her communications career in radio, television, education, philanthropy, water and wonder runs through seven states.