Let them eat cake (and bread): how talented staff are key to best bakes

Martin Hardiman and his crack team of bakers create artisan bread and pastries for independent cafes and restaurants across the city. See how they started – and how his team are at the heart of the business’ success.

‘You could maybe say I’ve been a pedlar most of my life because I come from a family of market traders.’ Martin Hardiman, co-founder of Little Bread Pedlar has been running his own market stalls since he was a teenager, and has moved from doing business from his own flat to the white, airy arches of London Bridge (Bermondsey side).

In part due to a comment about the lack of good pastry in London, and in part due to inspiration from a Michel Roux Snr. pastry book, Little Bread Pedlar pushed their business, first through pastry, and then branching out to bread, to create artisan bakes to an exceptional standard. Now the business keeps high-end cafes and restaurants across the city.

At the heart of success: the team

Cindy Zurias, the deputy head baker speaks of the business as being ‘like a family’. Linked by teamwork, an obvious passion for what they do, and with jokes, it’s clear why.

Martin makes it clear that the team are a huge priority of his. They’re all intensely passionate about their craft and – judging by the end product – there’s a lot of talent in the room. Holding onto them and keeping them happy is vital for Little Bread Pedlar’s continued success, and Martin sees this. From their bright, open workspaces, premium-quality ingredients (and excellent coffee that gets them through the early starts), the end result is a happy team who have pride in every pastry and every loaf created.

Putting the team first, to Martin, makes perfect business sense: ‘I guess it’s about human relationships, and relationships with our customers. You can see we’ve got a great team here, and they’re all there for each other, and that’s the main thing.’ That’s why for him, the next logical step is that he wants to involve the heads of department in the decision-making processes by making them stakeholders. It’s a really smart move. Making employees stakeholders gives them a stronger voice and shows them they’re valued. It’s a great reward for senior employees that have devoted a lot of heart and soul into the business

From bakery to breakfast plate

Their bakes go all over London, with deliveries ranging out as far as Highbury and Forest Hill, arriving fresh to cafes and restaurants. Martin assures that the bakes stay fresh for up to two days thanks to the long fermentation process – but of course the time people want fresh bread and pastry is within hours of being made. This means the bakers are working in shifts through the day and night to get everything ready, as deliveries start from 4am. 

Like lots of market traders, they originally delivered everything by bike, and later transitioned to vans to keep up with the growing demand. But, unlike most other traders, they have still stayed true, in part, to their original ‘pedlar’ roots. Their bakes go out via a bike delivery service called Pedal Me, and vans leased from Zipcar. For the business, both options save the stress of owning and maintaining vans and allow them to be more environmentally conscious.

From here, Martin also says that retail is becoming an option, meaning you just might start seeing the Little Bread Pedlar name around London, so keep your eyes and ears open: trust me, you definitely don’t want to miss out on their sourdough and croissants.

How are Little Bread Pedlar using Zipcar for Business?
Driving plan: Exclusive Use - Pre-booked slots for deliveries every morning 4am to midday with fuel, insurance and congestion charge all included Vehicle: VW transporter Van Vans taken off the road: 3
Find out how Zipcar for Business could help to reduce unwanted admin
Frances McMonagle
Originally from “Up North“, since moving to London a few years back Fran has made it her mission to make the most out of living in the city. She can usually be found with a green tea, coffee or cocktail in hand busy taking far too many photos.

Date published: 26 April 2019

Little Bread Pedlar

Little Bread Pedlar are best known for the viennoiserie and naturally leavened breads, all made using the highest quality ingredients in a creative, passionate and hard working atmosphere. They are based in Bermondsey and supply to independent cafes and restaurants across London, as well as being open to the public on Saturday mornings.

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