Baking & Snack - April 2020 - 34

FIREKING BAKING CO.

"I DON'T WANT TO MAKE THE
SAME HOT DOG BUN, SUB ROLL OR
HAMBURGER ROLL EVERY DAY."
Greg Acerra, Fireking Baking Co.

I learned that you have to measure your growth because
you never want to impact current customers by taking
on too much at one time."
One change to the business is where it's growing.
Fireking products are reaching farther across the country as the company's frozen retail business expands.
Today, foodservice remains the bulk of the business, but
retail makes up 30%, Mr. Acerra estimated. Previously,
Fireking only had two freezers, one onsite and one
across the street. In the new facility, Mr. Acerra anticipated - and accommodated - the new growth with
two onsite custom-built freezers with room for a third.
He still has the offsite freezer as well.
The new test kitchen onsite at 185 Campanelli Drive
supports Fireking's ability to get creative for its customers,
something Mr. Acerra and his team are passionate about.
"I don't want to make the same hot dog bun, sub roll
or hamburger roll every day," he said. "My background
is in restaurants, so I'm always into the creative side of
the food industry, and I'm attracted to those products.
Sometimes they aren't even as profitable. They're more
difficult to make and more labor, but when you can
show your customer something new, you excite your
customer base."
The 1,500-square-foot test kitchen replicates in miniature the processes out on the plant floor. An electric
deck oven emulates the Miwe thermal oil deck ovens on
the floor, and Mr. Acerra installed one of the new Roto
Passat rack ovens from Koenig Bakery Systems in the
test kitchen instead of the bakery. The kitchen also has
a mini proofer, retarder, cooler and freezer. The mixer is
the first one Mr. Acerra owned.
"The mixer I have in there was the first mixer from
my first bakery that was in a gas station," he said. "We
stripped it down and rebuilt it. That's kind of sentimental."

Making a move
Fireking's new home had been a warehouse for a liquor
distributor. The building needed a complete excavation
and renovation. Mr. Acerra only kept the exterior four
walls. Even the roof is new. Construction took about
nine months, and the project was completed on time,
except for the gas supply to the building, which delayed
move-in by five weeks.
The new facility needed 65 million BTUs at 5 PSI to
run. A new line delivers that gas to the building, and
the utility company had to replace 4,100 feet of pipe in
a nearby town to provide the pressure. Fireking was to
Top: Ten twin twist mixers handle the wide variety of doughs that make up
Fireking's product portfolio.
Bottom: Dough balls are divided to the proper size and moulded to the desired
shape. Fireking's makeup equipment has the flexibility to do a wide range of
different sizes and shapes, as well as stamping and seeding.
34 Baking & Snack April 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

B&S April book.indb 34

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Baking & Snack - April 2020

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