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It was only supposed to a be a six-month project. So, how did it end up becoming a permanent fixture in Orchard Central?

We’re referring to Baker X, an initiative by Far East Organization that aims to support baking entrepreneurs.

“Recognising their role in our communities and economy, we were inspired to create an innovative platform for these entrepreneurs,” said Deborah Tan, the Director of Retail Business Group of Far East Organization.

Initially planned to start in December 2021 and end in June 2022, Baker X is like a café—except the brand and offerings change every month or so.

Essentially, Baker X is a sandbox for home bakers. It allows them to trial their business in a retail setting, giving them a taste of what a physical store’s operations are like before they actually scale into full-fledged outlets.

Image Credit: Baker X

This project was especially timely then. The pandemic was still raging on, which meant more uncertainties and risks.

But, to meet the strong demand from home bakers, Far East Organization decided to extend Baker X’s lifespan.

Now that we know how Baker X came to be, here’s how it works.

Helping home bakers rise  

What makes Baker X a particularly great opportunity for home bakers is the fact that they do not charge any rental fees.

Rather, entrepreneurs only need to cover their own ingredients and packaging expenses. And yes, they retain 100% of the sales proceeds.

Ree.connect, a past resident baker of Baker X who went on to start their own store / Image Credit: Baker X

“Operating within a fully equipped baking studio and cafe at the buzzing Orchard Central mall along Orchard Road, this initiative provides a risk-free environment for home-bakers to test their concepts before growing their ventures,” Deborah further explained.

The provisions at Baker X include all fittings, as well as the following appliances:

  • V-Zug oven (2)
  • V-Zug full size fridge (2)
  • V-Zug full size freezer
  • V-Zug dishwasher
  • KitchenAid mixers (2)
  • Toaster
  • Microwave
  • Food blender
  • Cake display chiller
  • Furniture
  • Ice-maker
  • Undercounter fridge and freezer

Aside from the kitchen equipment, the space also features a TV and a photo wall.

To meet the overwhelming consumer response, the seats were increased from their original capacity of 11 to 20.

A recipe for success

But those are just the tangible offerings at the location itself. Far East Organization further aids businesses by planning and coordinating various advertising and media initiatives to drive awareness and publicity for the bakers.

According to Deborah, this includes designing and installing their logos and menu board, quarterly media tasting engagements, media drops and live radio interviews, advertisements within Orchard Central, and social media and newsletter campaigns.

Image Credit: Baker X

The organisation also handle maintenance, utilities, as well as the necessary permits and insurance costs.

In return, bakers must commit to operating at least five days a week, according to the operating hours that they have decided. They must also maintain hygiene and space cleanliness, and contribute to media and marketing initiatives facilitated by Far East Organization.

Bakers retain autonomy over their own menu offerings, business models, and day-to-day operations, empowering them to experiment and refine their concepts.

“To ensure the bakers do well, Far East Organization invited Tea Ideas to be the complementary beverage partner for Baker X, to serve drinks as patrons dine on the baked goods in the café,” Deborah added.

Founded in 2012, Tea Ideas is a social enterprise that employs the elderly and renal patients. It specialises in antioxidant teas, packaged in tea wands.

Baking the cut

Ultimately, Baker X offers a win-win situation for the bakers as well as shoppers of Orchard Central.

“We encourage the entry of new brands to our malls so that we can provide our shoppers with more choices, promote greater diversity and enhance the retail ecosystem in Singapore,” Deborah pointed out.

Ree.connect’s own store / Image Credit: Baker X

Given the benefits, it makes sense that many home bakers have expressed interest in participating. According to Deborah, since the inception of Baker X, they have received over 150 applications.

“Out of the 28 home bakers who have completed residencies at Baker X, seven have successfully transitioned into physical stores, citing their experience at Baker X as instrumental in their scaling-up journey,” Deborah shared.

Bakers are carefully selected based on their ability to offer unique baked treats that are visually appealing and demonstrate market demand.

With quite the long waiting list now, Baker X is unable to consider extended residencies or returning ones, so as to give other bakers the opportunity.

In fact, Baker X is already fully lined-up for 2024. But bakers who are interested in participating down the road can express their interest through an online form.

Spreading the love

At Vulcan Post, we’ve featured a number of home-based entrepreneurs, so we know how valuable a sandbox like Baker X is to help them learn and grow.

Past residents at Baker X, Bakes By Ben (left) and Ree.connect (right) / Image Credit: Baker X

It’s especially inspiring to see a company like Far East Organization pursue this concept, supporting more small local entrepreneurs in their journeys.  

And it seems like they’re planning to take this one step further.

“Building on the success of Baker X, we have received suggestions from the public to expand this initiative into other retail categories to offer greater opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs,” Deborah shared.

With this, Far East Organization’s Retail Business Group is gearing up to unveil a spin-off project of Baker X, tailored for home chefs in April 2024. We’re sure this exciting new chapter will provide many more budding F&B entrepreneurs the launch pad they need to succeed.

  • Learn more about Baker X here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about F&B businesses here.

Featured Image Credit: Bakes by Ben / Baker X

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)