Bakerzin

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The Bakerzin logo. Photo from Bakerzin's Facebook.

Bakerzin is a Singapore-owned French-inspired patisserie chain that was founded by Daniel Tay, a professional baker, in 1998. Originally called Baker’s Inn, the brand was renamed “Bakerzin” in 2004. In October 2020, it was reported that Bakerzin has closed its five Singapore outlets.[1]

Baker’s Inn (1998 - 2004)

Daniel Tay, the founder of Bakerzin. Photo from AspirantSG.

Origins

Bakerzin started as Baker’s Inn at Hong Heng Mansion, a condominium complex in Sembawang.[2] In 1998, Baker’s Inn was a patisserie catering to wholesale orders and supplying French bread and pastries to restaurants and hotels. Baker’s Inn introduced macarons to its repertoire in 1999.[3] In a 2013 interview, Daniel Tay mentioned that Baker’s Inn started off as a wholesale business as it took a longer time to establish a reputation in retail.[4] In early 2000, Baker’s Inn moved from Sembawang to Millenia Walk. Sushi Tei became a business partner in late 2001, with a 55% ownership of Baker’s Inn. The other 45% is owned by Seng Choon Confectionery, which is owned by Daniel, his father and two of his friends.[5]

Early expansion in Singapore

Baker’s Inn first expanded with outlets at United Square and [email protected] There was also a Baker's Inn outlet in Jakarta where a specialised chef was hired to conceptualise localised dishes for the Indonesian market.[6] Daniel believed in having a real French bakery that serves good quality pastries and bread that are made from scratch. Baker’s Inn’s retail arm did well due to the lack of “real French pastry shops” in Singapore at the time.[7] In 2003, Baker’s Inn introduced dinner courses in its restaurants, featuring fusion dishes such as the otah bruschetta.[8]

Bakerzin (2004 - present)

Bakerzin's dining restaurant at Gardens By The Bay. Photo from Gardens By The Bay.

Baker’s Inn was renamed Bakerzin in 2004 to trademark the brand name.[9] In 2019, Bakerzin opened an outlet at Raffles Hospital that served a healthier menu with salad bowls, artisanal bread, sandwiches and other hot items.[10] As of 2020, Bakerzin has five outlets islandwide: Farrer Park Station, Gardens By the Bay, Maju Avenue, United Square and Raffles Hospital.[11]

Further growth in Singapore

In 2006, Bakerzin’s sales amounted to $12 million. At the time, it had six outlets islandwide at Millenia Walk, Paragon, Vivo City, United Square, Raffles City and Takashimaya. In a 2012 interview, Daniel Tay revealed that Bakerzin spends between S$20,00 and S$30,000 on food photography and menu design.[12] In 2016, Bakerzin opened a sister brand, Nom La La, at Safra Punggol. It is a casual dining cafe serving Asian and Western food.[13]

Central kitchen (2006)

Bakerzin’s central kitchen at Harper Road had a gastro-laboratory. Set up in 2006, the lab was meant for the creation of new products, from brainstorming to packaging. The 800 sq ft laboratory was equipped with industrial cooking equipment, including ovens and an ice-cream maker.The laboratory came along with an expansion of Bakerzin’s production facility and cost about S$70,000.[14]

Expansion overseas

A Bakerzin dining outlet in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo from Jakarta 100 Bars.

Bakerzin set up an outlet in Bangkok, Thailand in 2006. However, an unsuitable business partner in Thailand forced him to close the outlet, barely a year after it opened. Bakerzin reportedly incurred “a six-figure loss”.[15] In 2007, Bakerzin had 12 overseas outlets, spanning Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the United States, with plans to open seven more outlets in 2008.[16] In 2016, Bakerzin’s 17 outlets across Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia reportedly earned an annual revenue of S$20 million to $25 million.[17]

United States of America

In January 2007, Bakerzin branched into the United States of America, opening an outlet in Tucson, Arizona. The business aimed to set up 500 outlets in the United States. Bakerzin’s franchise partner was a Chinese-Indonesian who lives in Tucson and owns 5 Chinese restaurants in the city.[18] However, the outlet was shut in November 2007 due to mismanagement by the franchisee.[19]

Change in leadership

Daniel sold Bakerzin Holding Pte Ltd, the company managing Bakerzin, in 2007. However, he remained as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Daniel resigned from his position on 30 October 2013. Mr Lawrence Lim was made interim CEO.[20]

Community & collaborations

In September 2007, Bakerzin collaborated with Lee Hwa Jewellery to launch a new concept store called Lee Hwa Diamond Gallery in Wisma Atria. Lee Hwa showcased specially curated jewellery pieces for the store, while Bakerzin sold desserts inspired by the jewellery collection.[21] In June 2014, Bakerzin collaborated with an online artisanal ice cream shop named “The Inspired Chef” to create a new flavour for Father’s Day called White Chocolate and Black Sesame ice cream.[22] Other than collaborations with established brands, Bakerzin has contributed to social causes in Singapore. In 2011, Bakerzin gave away 12,000 slices of New York and Oreo cheesecake for donations to the Children’s Cancer Society.[23]

Bakerzin Kids Baking Studio

In 2009, Bakerzin opened a children’s baking school called Bakerzin Kids Baking Studio at UE Square. The workshops aimed to teach children baking and decorating. Children are exposed to more complicated recipes such as gingerbread house and fruit tarts, apart from being taught how to bake cookies and cupcakes.[24] In 2011, the baking school increased the frequency of its sessions, holding 3 instead of 2 classes a day over the weekends. It took in 12 to 16 students per workshop.[25]

Product innovation

Bakerzin is well known for its desserts, with new desserts during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival and Christmas.[26]

Chinese New Year

Bakerzin's Yuan Bao pineapple tarts. Photo from Bakerzin.

Bakerzin is well-known for its award-winning pineapple tarts but also invents new festive goodies each year.

Year Festive Items Refs.
2019 Cookies collection: Matcha, coffee, black sesame and coconut chia seed flavours [27]
2017 Fish floss pineapple tarts [28]
Lemongrass pineapple tarts
2016 Parmesan Cheese Pineapple Tarts [29]
2014 Yuzu Yuan Bao Pineapple Tarts [30]
2013 Pineapple paste with egg yolk "good luck" pastry [31]
2011 Handmade mochi balls in assorted flavours [32]
2010 Lemon Cake [33]

Mother’s Day

The Orh Nee Mochi cake (left) and Queen of Decadence cake (right). Photo from Bakerzin.
Year Seasonal Cakes Refs.
2019 Orh Nee Mochi: Pink chocolate glazed cake with sponge layers, violet yam cream and chewy mini mochi. [34]
Queen of Decadence: Chocolate cake with chocolate sponge layers and chocolate cream.
2015 Pure Love: Bright pink dragonfruit sponge cake with white cream cheese. [35]
2014 Tangy Bianco: Madeleine cake infused with orange zest, layered with tangerine jelly and white chocolate-earl grey mousse. [36]
Nutti Yuzu: Hazelnut sponge cake with yuzu mousse, hazelnut dacquoise and coated with yellow-tinted white chocolate.
2013 Cheeky Apricot: Italian sponge cake layered with 12-year-old Macallan infused apricot mousse and raspberry jelly and covered with a white chocolate glaze. [37]
Riviera: Italian-style almond genoise cake layered with cherry mousse and Iranian pistachio cream custard and dressed in striking red chocolate dust.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Bakerzin's 2019 mooncake collection for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Photo from Bakerzin.
Year Mooncake Collection Refs.
2019 Boba Love (Snow Skin Mooncakes): Pearl yuan yang, kanten passionfruit mango, kanten matcha red bean pomelo flavours [38]
Fruity Fun (Snow Skin Mooncakes): Lychee chia seed, orange chia seed, strawberry chia seed, honeydew chia seed flavours
2018 La Brilliance: Low-sugar mooncakes with pandan, beetroot gula melaka, charcoal tangerine red bean and osmanthus flavours [39][40]
Tipsy Treats: Apple Vodka, Butterscotch Baileys, Latte Kahlua and Coconut Liqueur flavours.
2017 Bold: Ginger, tom yum, American ginseng and sakura ebi flavoured moon cakes. [41]
2016 Salted egg custard mooncake [42]
2015 Celebration Range: Mung bean and peanut snow skin mooncake [43]
Mini Momo (butter bean flour shell): Osmanthus Lotus, Purple Sweet Potato and Water Chestnut, Egg Custard and Green Tea Kumquat flavours [44]
2014 Bliss Collection: White lotus paste filling with whisky-flavoured white chocolate truffle [45]
Joy Collection: Pandan lotus snow skin, purple sweet potato, yam snow skin and sweet potato flavours [46]
2012 Liqueur truffle mooncakes: Brandied cherries, pink champagne, rum and raisin, and single-malt whisky flavours. [47]
2011 Heavenly (mini snow skin mooncakes): Brandied cherries, pink champagne, rum and raisin, or single-malt whiskey flavours. [48]
Festive mochi: Black sesame and peanut, orange and green tea, peanut, yam, green bean barley, orange matcha red bean flavours. [49]
2009 Midnight Snow Skin Mooncakes: Sweet lotus and black sesame paste, with a white chocolate truffle heart filled with chocolate ganache. [50]
2005 Japanese-style baked skin and snow skin mooncakes. [51][52]

Christmas

The promotional shot for Bakerzin's Durian Drip Coffee (2018).

In 2004, Bakerzin Introduced takeaway festive food for Christmas, such as roast turkey and beef and honey-glazed ham on their menu.[53]

Year Festive Items Refs.
2018 Durian drip coffee with durian mochi [54]
2017 Gochujang Capon [55]
2016 Galette De Rois. A traditional pastry consumed on the 12th day of Christmas. [56]
2015 Fusion Ham [57]
2014 Tropical Christmas Cake [58]
2013 Bakerzin Macaron Tree, made of 28 red and white handmade macarons. [59]
2012 Christmas Dream. Chocolate sponge cake layered with brandy-spiked chocolate. [60]
2011 Log of Good Cheer [61]
2007 Ispahan Rose, a macaron log cake. The name was inspired by the rose-scented Ispahan macarons created by the famous French pastry chef Pierre Herme. [62]

Valentine's Day (2007)

For Valentine’s Day in 2007, Bakerzin created three types of cakes with sexual images on the cakes. The R21 cake featured two pieces of Kamasutra chocolates on top of a flourless chocolate cake with caramelised bananas in the middle. Meanwhile, the M18 cake has “one naughty chocolate” on top of a dark chocolate mousse and brandied cherry filling. The NC16 cake is a light sponge covered with fresh cream and comes with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in and on the cake.[63]

Newsworthy incidents

Tap water ban (2006)

In 2006, Bakerzin was one of the companies that imposed a ban on serving tap water. The ban was to reduce the likelihood of customers “abusing” all-day-dining cafes like Bakerzin. Customers had to purchase bottled mineral water instead. This led to some customers boycotting Bakerzin.[64]

Increased hygiene practices (2007)

Following Prima Deli's food fiasco on 5 December 2007, Bakerzin stepped up its hygiene practices. They installed a CCTV camera to monitor food handlers and had three quality assurance officers who did daily rounds in the kitchen. The company conducted routine hand, table and equipment swabs to test for cleanliness.[65] Workers had “their names pinned on a notice board” if they failed the hand swab test. Bakerzin's founder, Daniel Tay mentioned that a three-week shut down would result in Bakerzin losing S$700,000.[66]

References / Citations

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