The bagel is a breakfast staple in most households in the United States today. They are in your supermarket and in corner shops all around town, but did you ever wonder where our love affair with the bagel began?
Here is a brief history of the bagel.
One of the earliest mentions of a bread that was shaped similar to today’s bagel was a Polish bread called obwarzanek that dates as far back as 1394.
One popular legend about the origins of the bagel or beugel in German said it was invented in 1683 to look like a stirrup as a tribute to the Polish king Jan Sobieski after he saved the city of Vienna from Turkish conquest.
Other stories point to ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean area as the first time rolls with holes in the middle were first enjoyed. There were actually two types back then, a soft, sesame-studded bagele and a more pretzellike and crispier Syrian ka’ak.
But other counties also have ring-shaped breads as well. The Italians have the taralli and ciambelle and the Chinese have the girde.
In the United States, the bagel came over with Eastern European immigrants in the late 1800s and by 1900 there were at least 70 bagel bakeries on the Lower East Side in New York City. While the New York City Jews created a demand for bagels and other of their specialty breads like rye and challah, they were still considered a Jewish delicacy for a long time.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that you started to hear bagels mentioned in mainstream media. The magazine Family Circle started including recipes for bagels that included smoked salmon, anchovies and red caviar. And in 1951, the bagel had a starring role in the Broadway comedy Bagel and Yox.
It quickly became an alternative to the American traditional breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. This was also when the Lenders family started their own brand of frozen bagels. Then by 1984 when Lender’s Bagels was bought by Kraft Foods, the bagel was constantly being paired with Philadelphia cream cheese as the perfect breakfast treat.
Today, people love to eat bagels not only for breakfast, but really any time of the day. Bagel shop owners now offer bagel sandwich creations as well as typical bagel offerings and they are always trying to come up with fun flavors and combinations that keep the customers happy.
Surprisingly people get very particular about their bagels. Everyone has their favorite place to buy them and their top shmears and toppings which can start a lengthy debate. One thing can’t be denied though is that young and old alike are still passionate about bagels.
Bagel franchises make the perfect first business venture for a lot of entrepreneurs, but it is important that you do your due diligence to be sure that this is the right path you should take.
Here are some first steps to take to get started.
Ask Yourself Is This the Right Fit?
While a passion for bagels and other breakfast foods is great, there is a lot more than goes into owning a business. First, you need to make sure that you have the right skills, experience and personality for the job.
Have you owned a business before or helped manage one? Do you have any business education? Do you thrive under high stress situations and like dealing with people, both staff and customers, on a daily basis? Be honest with yourself about what kind of environment you thrive most in.
Next Create a Business Plan
Once you give yourself the green light, then you need to come up with a solid business plan for your bagel business. When developing your business plan, make sure you include the following sections:
- An Introduction that includes a description of the business in which you highlight the products and services you will provide, a description of the marketplace you will be operating, as well as any risks or challenges you anticipate.
- There should also be a section where you lay out all the key management roles you will need in your bagel business. If you already know who will fill these roles, then include a little bio of each of them and/or a resume which highlights their experience related to the running of a business.
- A marketing section is also important. Here is where you will lay out the competitive advantages your bagel business will have as well as give as much of a sense as possible of what your marketing and advertising strategies will be.
- You should also include Pro Forma Financial Projections which basically means any income statements, cash flow statements that are relevant to the business as well as balance sheets that project what the financial performance of the business will be once it open. Always make sure your estimates are on the conservative side because you don’t know what kind of delays or obstacles you will face, especially that first year.
- Even if you are funding this whole venture out of your own pocket, in your business plan you should still meticulous list all your startup costs including the money you will need to survive on until your bagel business starts turning a profit. Don’t forget to factor in a budget for marketing and advertising and leave yourself a little cushion for lean times or unexpected emergencies or repairs.
Perfect Your Bagels
The heart and soul of your bagel business is of course is delicious bagels. It is important to not rush this part of the process. Make sure you have tested your recipes thoroughly before greenlighting your business.
Be on Top of All the Paperwork
Don’t forget to fill out all legal and financial documents that are important to protecting your business. In addition, make sure you have all necessary licenses and permits to run your shop.
Choose Your Location Carefully
The location of your shop is also very important. You want there to be good foot traffic and ample parking spaces. Work with an experienced realtor to find the perfect spot.
Build a Strong Brand
As you finally open your doors, establishing a strong brand for yourself is going to be a key ingredient to the success of your bagel business. Grow your brand through customer interaction as well as advertising and marketing. A well-designed website and a strong social media presence are also important too.
Another business option that you might not have considered before is to go the franchise route. Instead of opening an original bagel business that you have to create from scratch, join a bagel franchise like Shmagel’s Bagels and benefit from their brand power and support structure and experience in the business. Shmagel’s Bagels is a popular bagel shop franchise with two locations in Ocean City, MD. To learn more about the history of the bagel and our franchising program, call us or send us a message today.