I have taken a liking to artisan bread since my days at Boston. These types of bread are not mass or factory-produced but are hand-baked by the bakers themselves. Naturally, special attention is paid to the ingredients and the process, and a return to the fundamentals of the age-old bread-making tradition set artisan bread apart from soft, preservative-laden commercial ones.
When A got us to visit Joe and Dough, I was excited. Browsing the website, I was enticed by the photos of the bread and pastries and was looking forward to the visit.
We went to the outlet at Suntec City (just outside Carrefour) instead of the one at Hitachi Tower. It has an inviting environment and I felt as if I was transported to a cafe in another country. The owner, a primary school friend of A, showed us great hospitality and welcomed us with pastries and coffee. According to him, this outlet is actually a franchise. He actually started off with the cafe at Hitachi Tower whose clientele is mainly professionals and expats. He was, first and foremost, more interested in bringing in coffee beans and serving good coffee to his customers. He also looked for gaps in the F & B industry and saw that not many cafes served artisan bread and quality baked goods. That basically set the way for him and his gf and after he graduated from college in Australia, they set up the cafe.
Of course, now people are more aware and educated about the food and coffee that they consume, having travelled much and studied and worked abroad. They are also more willing to part with their cash for quality sandwiches such as those served in J & D. Pricing and branding are important to keep the business thriving and the cafe is now undergoing rebranding.
The owner definitely has a flair for the business and the industry and he shared with us the many concepts that he abides in. The F & B industry is not an easy one and many disappeared within a few years. So, instead of focusing on just cafes, he also owns the production factory of the bread and pastries and they supply to many cafes in Singapore. I was surprised!
He definitely knows his stuff and he went on sharing about his views for about 3 hours! Whoah! I was actually more interested in the food (sorry, I’m not very business-inclined) and in the end, I bought the Bacon Mushroom Melt sandwich and the blueberry yogurt tart for breakfast the next day. I’m definitely going back for more!