Winner BB’s Coffee & MuffinsIsleworth, MiddlesexBB’s 180 food-focused franchised cafés are found predominantly in shopping centres from “Plymouth to Perth”. Each site adds extra ingredients to the company’s signature muffin mix, typically baking around 14 flavours a day.Last year, BB’s introduced a segmented range of muffins, following research which showed its franchisees required more flexibility to meet regional demands, says BB’s retail and brands director Michele Young. New products include the luxury Muffin Royale for the high end of the market and low-fat and children’s ranges. Corn Savoury Muffins were also introduced, to meet the increasing demand at breakfast and tea times for a ’healthier’ product.The judges were impressed with the different methods used to research customer requirements, and the way in which the findings were used to adapt BB’s product range.Finalist The London Bread & Cake CompanyEdmonton, London”We’re customer-focused from the top down,” says managing director David Hall. “It’s the reason we’re still here after 126 years and some of our competitors aren’t.”The London Bread & Cake Company serves around 1,000 customers, mainly contract caterers, with a 350-strong product range, including bread rolls, Continental and speciality breads and cakes. It also buys in items requested by customers.Hall says all the company’s 100 employees, from sales staff to van drivers, go and meet their customers and everyone is prepared to “go the extra mile for them”. A staff training programme is under way, with office manager Claudette Campbell already achieving an NVQ in customer service.Regular feedback comes via the six-monthly customer questionnaire and a three-month independent audit was recently undertaken.Finalist Monty’s BakehouseSouth Godstone, SurreyFour-year-old Monty’s produces quality, bake-in-pack pastries, which have consistent bake times, leading, says director Harry Crane, to foolproof preparation and a mess-free serve.Over the past 20 months, the company has cemented its relationship with Air Canada to ensure the range it provides meets the client’s needs precisely.The product team has worked airside with crew to understand the processes by which passengers are served and the problems associated with airline catering. This has even extended to developing recyclable and collapsible packaging to help reduce weight and therefore fuel costs.Client and consumer feedback is positive, says Crane. Monty’s uses information gleaned from the regular emails from passengers to develop new flavours and advise Air Canada on product rotation.
Limited government, liberty and free trade are the basic goals of the College Libertarians at Notre Dame. “The first step is education and logical discourse,” according to senior Todd Velianski, president of the club. This fall, the club will run voter registration drives with College Republicans and College Democrats, said sophomore Nick Frecker, club treasurer. “We dispense and discuss literature dealing with civil rights, libertarian philosophy and current issues,” Frecker said. “We have a shipment of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ books coming in.” Frecker and Velianski will campaign on the behalf of the Libertarian presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, and host debate watches in LaFortune Ballroom. “I consider myself fiscally responsible, socially tolerant and an avid lover of liberty,” said Frecker. “I believe people have the right to effectively do what they see fit, as long as their actions don’t infringe on the rights of others.” The views of the party seem to resonate with many students on campus, Frecker said. “Last year at the ‘Holy Votes’ debate, they had representatives from all parties and the applause for all three were equal,” he said. “The ideas of libertarianism are very popular among young people, but [many] are trapped in the two-party er of two evils.” Velianski said he hopes students stay informed for the election process. “Students here will go on to take key roles in the formation of society, in business, politics, religion and technology, and to be good citizens they must be well educated on current events and varying political philosophies,” he said. Velianski said he fears what Mitt Romney’s nomination as the Republican presidential candidate will mean to the Libertarian party. “With the nomination of a New England progressive like Romney … I don’t know where the Libertarian votes will go,” Velianski said. “[But] the movement is becoming something that both major parties can’t afford to ignore if they wish to maintain electoral domination.” Dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic parties led Velianski to the Libertarian party, he said. He said libertarianism is a philosophy based on the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you would have them do to you. “Libertarianism is the belief that the individual knows how to live his life better than a government official knows how to,” Velianski said. “The greatest problem in society and at Notre Dame is the belief that the rules of morality do not apply to the government.” Velianski said he is unfazed by those who think voting libertarian is essentially the same as throwing a vote away, due to the party’s relatively small size. “[What they] fail to realize is that Obama’s and Romney’s policies on social issues are largely the same,” Velianski said. “The only vote I can cast with a good conscience is a vote for the party whose integrity has not been corrupted. I vote Libertarian so I can sleep at night.” Contact Meghan Thomassen at [email protected]