Tim Fritsch's Big Apple Bagels Franchise Lets Him Make Lots Of Dough

Monday, April 26, 2010

Store owner does his own hiring, ordering, marketing

It's time to make the bagels.

The American Red Cross Tim Fritsch measures high-gluten flour, yeast, salt, brown sugar and water into an industrial-size mixer. He has to add less water on a humid day because the flour collects moisture. Any specialty flavors are added next. The dough is cut into strips and fed into a shaper. The bagels are put on a sheet to rise; the warmer the room, the faster they rise. Fritsch tests to see if they're ready by putting one bagel in 80-degree water, and when it floats it's ready.

"When yeast is working, it gets warm and makes air pockets. When it forms enough air pockets, it floats," Fritsch said.

As the store owner, Fritsch also does all of the ordering, training, hiring, marketing and bookwork.

Fritsch worked in sales until he was laid off in 2002 and decided he didn't want to work for anyone anymore. He researched franchise opportunities, decided on food and then narrowed it down to breakfast food, finally deciding on bagels.

# Highlights: The best part of the job for Fritsch is delivering his wares.

"I get up and bake at 4:30 and deliver bagels to my wholesale accounts," he said. "I drive and drink my coffee and enjoy the quiet time. I see the same people every delivery day, and I get to know them and hear about their family." # Lowlights: The worst part of the job is cleaning up the dough room.

"I don't like doing dishes or cleaning, and the dough room is a mess when you're done," he said.

# Industry changes: "The basic ingredients never change, but the things you can put into a bagel are up to your imagination," said Fritsch, who once made a cappuccino bagel that he plans on featuring again.

Technology has improved the equipment to include bigger, better and less-expensive steam injection ovens. Traditionally bagels were boiled to make them tender and chewy and then quickly baked. Today bagels are rapidly steamed and baked in one process. The most recent change saw wheat prices skyrocket, which increased flour costs dramatically.

# What's needed: "To get into this line of work you should talk to the franchise," Fritsch said. "You have to have capital to start a franchise store. You should visit stores and observe and talk to the owners and employees. The franchise will give you comprehensive training, and a business consultant will help you." # Aspirations: Fritsch would like to have more stores and be less hands on to put to use his marketing skills.

"But I need help. I can't do it alone, and it's hard to find people that want to work," Fritsch said.

# Advice: Treat others the way that you want to be treated.

# About bagels: Bagels originated in Poland during the Lenten season. They were brought to the United States by Jewish immigrants who settled in New York where bagel making was under union control. Bagels were made round for more even boiling and baking and to easily display them on wooden dowels.

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Big Apple Bagels
500 Lake Cook Rd., #475
Deerfield, IL

Phone: (847)948-7520
Toll Free: (800)251-6101
Fax: (847)948-8140

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