Better Baked Foods- A Recipe for Success
It was fifty years ago today that a man with an idea and a great product contacted and met with his neighbors, friends, and community bankers to ask them to invest in his dream of producing the world’s best French Bread Pizza. That legwork generated the money to help fund the dream and the reality that is now Better Baked Foods and Better Baked Foods of Erie. From those humble beginnings in Sherman, New York, to today having manufacturing and baking locations in Westfield, New York, North East, Pennsylvania and Erie, Pennsylvania. Today the company employs over 300 associates producing over 325,000 pieces of French Bread Pizza, pizzas, flatbreads, frozen breakfast sandwiches and school sandwiches and pizza every day. Who was to know that it could get that big and continue to thrive fifty years later? Bob Miller, the founder did. As most companies, start days were long and free time was short. Family and friends made up the first workforce and work was as much of a family reunion and social gathering as it was work. Today the facilities look different from 1964 where manpower was plentiful and used considerably on the topping lines to the world of automation and high speed equipment however the quality of the product hasn’t changed one bit. Today our products, led by French Bread Pizza, grace the tables of Americans all over the Unites States. Our products are sold in schools, retail and Club Stores and can even be seen at the Hampton Inn breakfast bar. Although we have been manufacturing products for fifty years, the majority of the time it has been under someone else’s label. Our customer list includes some of the largest food companies in the world and they choose to work with us because of our reputation as a world class manufacturing organization that can support their needs in product development and manufacturing.
To celebrate our fiftieth year in business, we created a new line of products utilizing a new brand called Better Baked Classics. These products are currently being introduced into a number of retailers throughout the Unites States and the brand becomes part of our family of brands; Papa Presto and Zap A Snack.
As with any successful business it doesn’t happen overnight or after fifty years without good people. We have been very fortunate to have associates who believe in what they do and come to work each day working “to do better today what they did well yesterday”, a slogan we incorporated at the beginning. With the highest level of food safety and quality, our associates continue to meet the challenges of a high paced, highly regulated frozen food industry. Bob wanted to create a company where he could help others develop to their maximum potential through challenging and rewarding work. Over the years that opportunity has happened for many who have worked and still work at Better Baked Foods. We truly believe people are our greatest asset.
In 2010, we started a Quarter Century Club for our associates and today membership stands at 68 people with 53 active working members, a real tribute to the quality of people and company. Bob Miller is the first member of this prestigious society however, today he has turned the daily leadership of his Company to the capable hands of his oldest son, Chris Miller. Chris leads NE Foods, the parent company, for Better Baked Foods, Better Baked Foods of Erie and an acquisition from 2002 in Fargo, North Dakota called Drayton Foods. Chris literally grew up in the business and has been instrumental in developing our long-range strategy. Chris stays close to the ideals and beliefs of his father as they work jointly at supporting the business growth.
As we enter our next quarter century of existence, we look for growth and continued development of our brands. The food industry has its challenges with regulatory and consumer expectations and we must continue to stay ahead of those with reinvestment into our people, equipment and facilities. Our challenge will always be to continually exceed our customers’ expectations for taste, quality and value and that drives our internal will. As President of Better Baked Foods, I am proud and pleased to have the support of the Miller family to continue and improve upon what was started back in 1964. Our corporate creed states it best when it reads “To be bold, creative, and pioneering in our efforts to develop plans for growth. To live in the future and not in the past, by recognizing the trends of a fast changing world and to do things today that others will only think about doing tomorrow.”
We are celebrating our past with eyes, ears and hearts on the future. We know that without our ownerships’ commitment and support, good hardworking associates and customers that struggle for the future is nothing more than the dream Bob Miller had in 1964 however dreams do come true and we look forward to continuing that dream on and on. Remember we make it better!
Joseph A. Pacinelli
Better Baked Foods, Inc.