CASE STUDY: Breadologie Bakery

From Baguettes to Balance Sheets

Breadologie Bakery’s Journey to Financial Success with RRFMG

 

One of the tastier ways America benefits from immigration is when people from other countries bring their national cuisines with them to our shores. These newcomers not only expand and diversify our culinary options as consumers, but also help grow our domestic economy.

Charles-Henri Cherentin is one such immigrant America is lucky to have.

When Charles arrived from France in 2005, he only intended to stay for a 3-month temporary job. Life, though, had other plans for him. Nearly 2 decades later, he’s still in America, and runs Breadologie Bakery, a French pâtisserie which he co-founded together with his wife.

Breadologie is a much-loved small batch bakery in Granada Hills, CA famous for its viennoiseries, or French baked goods.

Charles and his wife built Breadologie from scratch, literally as he says “starting from nothing”. Consequently, he’s had to wear many hats as co-owner, dishwasher, and everything in between.

When it came to his accounting though, Charles opted to do what lots of small business owners do – offload the work to his personal CPA. In his own words, that turned out to be “a huge mistake”. His personal CPA was unable to keep up with the demands of Breadologie’s accounting needs, eventually leaving the company backed up on its payroll taxes, potentially incurring the wrath of the IRS.

Charles contemplated taking over the accounting work himself, but realized that might be a mistake too. As he recounts, “I’ll be very honest and very humble – as much as you think you know, you actually know nothing. Let’s be quite frank. You have no idea of what actual tax you owe, how to do payroll, how to do all that. At the end of the day, you’re in the kitchen and you’re not in front of your computer and you don’t have a background as an accountant or a CPA. Have someone else who’s qualified handle that for you. We didn’t and we got behind on payroll taxes. We got behind with the IRS. And it was just that big ball that kept on getting bigger and bigger. And it finally got to the point where it just wasn’t manageable.”

It was around this time that Charles received some timely advice from one of his customers. Joe’s Cafe, a restaurant also located in Granada Hills, recommended that Charles contact Restaurant & Retail Financial Management Group (RRFMG). They had been using RRFMG’s services, and thought Breadologie could benefit from their help as well.

Charles reached out to RRFMG’s founder Wayne Lipschitz. They discussed Breadologie’s accounting situation, and agreed to proceed with a services engagement.

At the outset of the relationship, Charles recalls that getting to a financial baseline was challenging. “They have a lot of patience because when we started with them, we were a big bag of knots and they had to untie it little by little. So, it took them a while to clear up our financials. But you know Wayne and David Wolf (Client Account Manager) very patiently went through everything. They cleaned it all up and you know, it’s been a smooth ride ever since. The first two years though, I think they’ll remember that for a long time because it wasn’t easy.”

RRFMG’s scope of services for Breadologie covered everything but payroll, which was being outsourced elsewhere.

As Charles states, that deep level of partnering was transformative for Breadologie. “For the first year, we had monthly meetings with them, then we moved to quarterly. Having that interaction was very effective and helped us really pinpoint opportunities for improvement. They would ask things like ‘Is there any particular reason why your packaging is so high this month?’ Wayne is quite frank and David was very meticulous about the way we were recording sales items. Those are the things that really transformed our business. I mean, we took a 180° turn from being so-so, to having consistent growth. In fact, we’ve now had eight years of consecutive growth, and RRFMG is easily responsible for 20% of that.”

Charles is thankful he can delegate the necessary but unpleasant work of accounting to a company he trusts. “There’s nothing more frustrating than working all day and then having to sit down in front of the computer to go through paperwork, enter receipts, etc. Now I let RRFMG take care of that, which frees me up to spend more time in the kitchen or go out and sell more. That really puts my mind at ease knowing that the accounting is being handled professionally. So, you know, when it’s time to go to bed, your mind isn’t running for three hours because you’re still thinking ‘Oh, did my distributor get paid? Will some vendor be calling to say they can’t drop off the order because they haven’t received their check?’ All those little things are taken care of, and you don’t have to deal with it anymore. It makes my day much lighter, and I have RRFMG to thank for that.”

Charles concludes that having a trusting relationship with his accounting provider made a huge difference for Breadologie. “That trust we’ve built with RRFMG over time makes the relationship work. As a first-time business owner, my wife & I were very emotionally attached to what we were doing, which is a big mistake. Can’t do that in business. So, when Wayne & his team pointed out something like our cost of goods and how we were pricing things wrong, we listened to them. At this point they (RRFMG) are definitely part of my business.”