Words by Imogen Hindson
We spoke to Two Wells Bakery owner Hayden Routley about how COVID-19 accelerated his plans for innovation.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions state wide, many businesses are reopening their doors and welcoming a flood of new and established customers. But for the Two Wells Bakery, their innovative idea meant they could remain open throughout the crux of social distancing restrictions.
Many businesses throughout the Adelaide Plains have introduced new techniques in order to adapt to the pandemic, completely shifting the ways they operate their services and processes. From delivering goods to your front door, creating online stores, and introducing social distancing measures – many businesses have taken on innovative ideas and introduced them into their businesses to keep their doors open and support local customers. A result of the implementation of these ideas has been a new ‘normal’ way of operating businesses in the area, with business owners taking on the challenge of recasting and repositioning their businesses to adapt to the times.
One of these businesses is the Two Wells Bakery in the Adelaide Plains, having successfully adjusted to the lockdown by opening their doors and windows, creating a servery to maintain social distancing measures. This meant that the business could remain open throughout the most challenging period of the pandemic, continuing to serve much loved baked goods to customers. As intrinsic to the manifesto of ‘Totally Locally’, the combination of local support and new business operations meant that the Two Wells Bakery was able to effectively operate throughout these challenging times.
We had a chat to Haydn Routley, business owner of Two Wells Bakery, on how his business changed their operation style to adapt to the climate.
Not only did the bakery come up with the innovative idea of the servery – but they did so before the restrictions surrounding social distancing came into place. On the weekend before the initial announcement, Haydn and the employees of the bakery discussed the size of the bakery and how to continue operation.
“On the Saturday we tried to get people to social distance before it [officially] came in, everyone was just crowding the store. We realised we’re going to have to do something to serve everyone”. As a result, they introduced a new counter – including a security screen to protect staff, the night before Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the restrictions surrounding social distancing.
The family run bakery had always had the intention of turning the side window into a pickup window – but when in the middle of a pandemic, there’s no time like the present. As explained by Haydn, “it sort of pushed us towards that more… We bought a countertop and timber, and [the family] put it together overnight.”
This business transformation was a big adjustment to say the least. The Two Wells Bakery essentially adopted a drive-through operating system, with one worker taking orders at the front door and another serving through the window. Locals and visiting customers tend to like the system, says Haydn, as people prefer to be out in the fresh air rather than in a small shop when waiting for their coffees and baked goods.
After only 6 weeks of the pandemic, the Two Wells Bakery had a flow of customers coming in and out – creating a revenue close to the amount of the year prior. From the 5th to the 7th of June, the bakery had their highest earning weekend in over 10 years. Haydn said that this has a lot to do with their local community, “[it] comes from local and valuable customer support”.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bakery had to reflect on this community support when deciding whether or not to remain open. Haydn mentioned that if they’d only started their business 6 to 12 months prior, “I’d have no doubt that we would have chosen to shut the front door. Because we know the strength of our business and customer base, we felt confident that people would still come in.”
This innovative servery is something that the bakery plans to keep ongoing – including social distancing. The family run business prides itself on its cleanly and sanitary store; the pandemic has shown just how much social distancing prevents the spread of colds and flus. “The shop can get so crowded with such a tiny space… [so] we’re planning on keeping five to seven people in the store at any time. It keeps it healthier for everyone”, customers and workers alike. “It’s completely changed our whole perspective on what we do”.
The Two Wells Bakery is located at 76 Old Port Wakefield Road, Two Wells, South Australia.