Bobo's opens 'super bakery' to meet pent-up consumer demand: 'The stage is well-set for us to eclipse $100m next year,' says CEO
"We’re finally able to move past a patchwork of several bakeries, which gave us a lot of versatility but was also really inefficient," Bobo's CEO TJ McIntyre told FoodNavigator-USA.
"This new facility has everything under one roof at 123,000 square feet. It’s literally as big as a Costco. We believe that the stage is well-set for us to eclipse $100m next year and win consumers over in the cereal bar category, the nutrition bar category."
The new facility will give Bobo's around $120m in production capacity and plenty of room to expand over the next few years as the company meets pent-up consumer demand that the company has only been able to partially meet because of production limitations.
"Our top line will grow 45% this year and it could have been as high as 70% with the out of stocks," said McIntyre.
"And that is a really stressful and unfortunate position from which to run a business because we don’t spend time talking about white space, and as the CEO I’m not even spending time with my amazing selling organization because there’s not a great opportunity for us to ideate around opportunities and growth. Instead, we have to work so hard to fulfill what’s already coming to us."
Super bakery, super growth
Its new, state-of-the-art baking equipment includes automated equipment that tamps the bars into the signature Bobo’s pan. One of these machines, affectionately nicknamed ‘the Bobot’, was designed to exactly replicate Bobo’s signature handmade look and texture.
Bobo’s new bakery can produce 1 million bars, bites, or toaster pastries a day and the company already has plans in place to further increase capacity.
"We’re not cost-optimizing and the new facility is scaling our handmade process. That took us two years. We’ve essentially built a $100m corner bakery," said McIntyre.
'Holding on price has been heavily debated at Bobo's'
With the new production facility up and running, Bobo's will be able to boost inventory levels with every customer and build its higher-level strategy of becoming a household brand name among not just Whole Foods shoppers but value- and cost-oriented shoppers.
As a result, Bobo's has not taken a single price increase during a period of rampant inflation in order to attract more consumers and households.
"Holding on price has been heavily debated on Bobo’s for a year and a half. And our conclusion is that first we already have a very strong margin profile. If by holding price we can more aggressively compete with co-packed commoditized nutrition bars and cereal bars, we’re going to increase our household penetration," said McIntyre.
"We’re still very focused on Whole Foods and the natural foods industry, but if we’re going to chase a quarter billion in revenue, which we are, that’s going to come with a value-conscious shopper."
According to McIntyre, Bobo's household penetration has doubled in the past year challenging incumbent brands owned by multinational CPG giants.
"All of our competition is owned by publicly traded food companies and they’re going to continue to take pricing whenever there are commodity price [increases] and we’re going to take share from them," said McIntyre.
"With all the acquisitions that have happened, there’s a very small list of brands that conduct close to $100m of revenue that are independent (with Bobo's being one of the few)."
'We’re the only bar in the store that you could make at home'
Addressing the competition in the bar space and how Bobo's manages to stand out in a sea of protein, keto, paleo, and other on-trend brands, McIntyre noted that the company's simplicity (not straying far from founder Beryl Strafford's original handmade process dating back to 2003) will continue to stand the test of time.
"We’re the only bar in the store that you could make at home. If you tried to make any of our competitors you would struggle because there’s an over complication and an over-engineering in their products that abandons real food," he said.
"Bobo’s is interested in creating a multigenerational brand, a 100-plus-year brand, and we believe that you get there with simplicity and taste. We believe that has durability and is much bigger than whatever new dietary trend is going to come and go in the span of 24 to 36 months."