Daniel Weber discovered his passion for baking at an early age in his parents’ bakery. It therefore comes as no surprise that the production manager of Confiserie Bachmann is still passionate about his job 20 years later. This is also evidenced by the fact that the top confiseur would much rather be in the bakery than in the office.
Daniel Weber, I’m sure you’re a very popular guy.
Daniel Weber: What makes you think that?
Being in charge of production surely means you’re always handing out sweet temptations.
Actually, I am. Whenever I’m invited anywhere, I generally take pralines with me. I often don’t realise just how much my friends love them until I forget to bring some and see the look of disappointment on their faces. (laughs)
You’re surrounded by all kinds of delicacies every day ...
... and I just “have to” sample them regularly, or at least taste them.
A dream job!
Definitely! I was literally born with a passion for my profession. My parents had a bakery, which made me realise at an early age what it means to run such a business. That includes the good things, such as freshly baked croissants in the morning or talking to regular customers, and the challenging aspects.
We’re caught up in a dynamic industry. Competition is fierce, especially in a city of bakers like Lucerne. A great deal of dedication, passion and conviction is required every day to succeed. If you don’t think like a baker 24/7, you’ve got no chance.
You’re responsible not only for product quality but also for production staff. As the boss, can you still also be found in the bakery?
Of course. Being in charge of production means ensuring every product that passes over the counter is of impeccable quality. Every day, I lead by example in terms of what I expect from my employees. This basically means that I also turn up for work between 5 and 6 a.m. in my work clothes rather than a shirt and tie. After all, early mornings are our busiest time.
What is especially important when it comes to your employees?
The main thing is that the right person is assigned to the right task. Here it’s important to know and play to the strengths of each individual employee. Those working in the Bachmann confiserie, for example, should not just like but love working with chocolate!
«Those working in the Bachmann confiserie, for example, should not just like but love working with chocolate!»
You’ve been at Confiserie Bachmann for 20 years now. How has the company changed during this time?
When I first started, there were 90 employees in all. Today, there are over 478. Naturally, such growth has also brought about great change. What hasn’t changed, however, is the family atmosphere. We believe in the importance of working alongside our employees. That’s why they appreciate it when the boss rolls up his sleeves and starts working on the dough or moulding the chocolate.
Do you think customer expectations have changed over the years?
Most definitely. Today’s customers are much more health-conscious, wanting food low in calories. This is a rising trend.
How are you responding?
A good example of this is the beverage industry; a highly competitive market with a huge range of offers. However, 95 per cent of all beverages are in fact totally over-sweetened. A while ago, we deliberately started selling home-made tea. Our raspberry and bergamot Napfkräutertee (organic herbal tea from the Napf region) is virtually calorie-free and unsweetened. Our tea range is very popular and a top seller.
You’re constantly adding new products to your range. For example this summer, with the Pain Paillasse chilli. Where do you get your inspiration for such special products?
From many different sources. I go through life with an awareness and perception of the world around me and draw my inspiration from my travels, trips to restaurants, magazines ... basically from everywhere and everything.
Aside from all the new additions, are there also products that have remained hugely popular from the very beginning?
Of course. A classic example are our pear pastries. These are still made according to the same old recipe. Some products are so popular that we deliberately don’t change them. So have no fear, our strawberry tartlets and cream slices are not about to disappear overnight. (laughs)