Bengaluru: The bakery industry in Bengaluru is struggling to get back to the pre-Covid level of production and hiring.
“The overall production has come down to 60-65% as the demand is very low in cafes,” said Prashanth Shadakshari, executive chef and co-owner at Amande Patisserie.
There are 365 cafes under the Bengaluru Hotel Association out of which several cafes and bakeries have shut down. This has impacted the demand for bakery items and the number of staff in the kitchen.
Not only cafes and bakeries, even institutions teaching pastry and bakery art have also been affected and are struggling to cope up with the bad market condition.
Anurag Barthwal, chief of skills and Innovations at Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts, said: “We haven’t seen a downfall in the number of students this year but faced problems in teaching such courses online.”The academy recently started offline sessions and workshops and is trying to cope with the situation.
Due to the low demand in the market, patisseries and bakeries have stopped hiring new interns. “We hire according to the need in the kitchen. As the production is low, we have decreased the number of interns. We used to hire around 40 new interns which has now come down to 20,” said chef Prashanth.
Prachi Tibrewal, a pastry chef and intern at Amande Patisseries, Jayanagar, said: “50% of the employees have lost their jobs. The industry is not hiring people from outside; some of the properties still have a hiring freeze.
However, chef Barthwal at Lavonne, said the academy will try its best to make sure that every student gets an internship/placement by the end of the course.
“There might be some issues, but if students are eligible and fulfil all the criteria of internships and placements, the academy will make sure they get hired.”
Apart from cafes, local sweets and bakery shops have also faced issues of understaffed kitchens. Sharad Kumar, an employee at Asha Sweets, Indiranagar, said: “Our kitchen is nearly 5 km away from here and we have a shortage of staff in the kitchen.” People working in the kitchen are under great pressure as it is difficult for them to manage production for all outlets in the area.
According to a report by the Bonn Group of Industries, a food company based in Ludhiana, the sale of biscuits has risen after the pandemic.
An employee of Karachi Bakery said their sales have been affected as there are few employees in the sales department.
Kanhaiya Kumar, a sales representative at Karachi Bakery, Defence Colony, said: “We are still looking for retail sales executives and restaurant service staff; this is with most of the outlets here.”