The Cornish Bakery

The business was founded in a Cornish fishing village, Mevagissey, in 1994. Steve Grocutt the owner saw an opportunity to employ a local butcher’s wife to make and sell pasties to tourists from a small shop. Its early success saw the birth of ‘Pasty Presto’, which enjoyed steady growth over 20 years, reaching 30 shops nationally.

Following the introduction of the ‘Pasty Tax’, as well as London 2012’s effect on tourism, turnover dropped, and continued to drop, with many stores making a loss. The client was faced with either shutting up shop or investing.

The rise of individual cafés and delis was making it tougher to sell fast/casual food, snacks and coffee on the high street, and Pasty Presto were feeling the effects. Add to this the continuing obesity and healthy living debate, and it was clear the Cornish Pasty wasn’t ticking many of the right boxes. Pasty Presto therefore needed to radically rethink its brand and positioning. They knew that their current strategy was not appealing to new customers, nor communicating anything about the company’s depth, the care and attention taken behind the scenes, or their products’ quality and range.

Customers predominantly saw Pasty Presto as a pasty shop; they weren’t coming in to buy anything else. It was time to develop a strong, appropriate Pasty Presto brand: one that would bring immediate value and appeal to existing and new customers and drive sales nationally.

The bakery sector is highly competitive and growing; the new brand had to be strong, different and engaging to help them stand out. Pasty Presto engaged Absolute to create an emotive and effective consumer-facing brand to help business development and grow sales.

Absolute thoroughly reviewed products, brand, interiors and customer attitudes, and strongly recommended a customer research strategy.

The creative team then brought together a new name The Cornish Bakery, new brand styling and tone of voice which was delivered across interiors, signage, uniforms and Point of Sale. A new colour palette and brand ethos that put ‘cool’ Cornwall at the forefront gave the company a new focus and helped them differentiate themselves on the high street.

Commercial impact has been instant and staggering, allowing this relatively small company to punch well above its weight. Barnstaple’s shop, previously pencilled for closure, was the first of three trial cases: it went from loss to profit in three months and has continued profitably since. In all, 60 jobs were saved in the six shops at most immediate risk of closure. In less than a year, the company overall has added over £1m to turnover, a massive 12% increase on the previous year.

Exciting product and experience development for their stores continues. Small, bitesized ‘picnic rolls’ allow customers to pick from a tapas style range; a Cornish Afternoon Tea comes with Cornish Sparkling Wine; ‘The Whipster’ is a range of whippy ice cream sundaes developed in collaboration with local ice cream company, Kelly’s.

The investment in brand redesign has seen failing shops open and thriving, jobs saved, a newly focused team and increased staff morale and motivation.

The compelling new brand is winning fans nationally; as a direct result, the company is undergoing major product development, rapid growth and has opened 2 shops in the new interior design styling in 2015 and plans to open a further six shops in 2016.

“We could have opted to sell up or sell-out. However, we decided to meet the situation head on with an ambitious growth and brand investment strategy, enlisting the help of our creative agency Absolute. The results have been transformational in so many ways, I wish I’d looked for and taken this strategic external assistance earlier.” STEPHEN GROCUTT, OWNER