BreadTalk, a company and designer confectionery store, most famed for cream-filled buns topped with pork floss, named Flosss. It was started in July 2000 by George Quek, currently its managing director and claims to be Singapore's first "bread boutique".

BreadTalk outlets are characterised by a white minimalist, space-age décor, coupled with the extensive use of see-through glass panels, creating a bright-looking fluorescent lit-boutique-like feel that allows people from outside the shop to look in and watch the chefs making the delectable bread and pastry concoctions from start to finish. Customers also enjoy a breezy and trendy ambience in these boutique bakeries.

The walls are splashed a clinical white and the bread and pastries are displayed on sleek white plastic and glass shelves like clothes on display in a store, creating a wonderful potpourri of colours and smells that attract long queues of people and ringing tills round the clock. Stylish plastic carriers used for purchases are trendy looking and carries over the minimalist concept of pure white packaging.

BreadTalk's most famous and popular bread item is its floss bun, aptly named "Flosss", which is a sweet cream-filled bun topped with a generous layer of pork floss. Sales of this pork-floss bun make up 20% of its monthly sales with an estimated average of 2000 Flosss buns sold per day just at its Bugis Junction outlet.

Katherine Quek, BreadTalk's finance director and also the wife of George Quek, is the creator of BreadTalk's signature bun, which mixes a Western-style bun with an Asian ingredient, creating a fusion of cultures and tastes. The current bun was experimented on four times by the Queks and their consultants from Taiwan and Japan before it was sold in the stores, now a favourite snack among regular BreadTalk patrons.

BreadTalk also stocks more than 50 varieties of baked goodies, with exotic names like "Spice Girl", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Bacon", "Moshi Mushroom", "Earthquake Cheese Loaf", "Down2earth" and "Mount Fuji Swirl". Cakes with intriguing designs and flavours have also appeared in the outlets and BreadTalk has recently also introduced green-tea and pandan flavoured mooncakes in its stores, in conjunction with the local mooncake festival in September 2002. In addition, customers can look forward to tasting 10 to 20 new creations in the stores each month, attracting customers to make repeat visits.

Three foreign chefs were specially recruited to help create new "designer breads", Chef Yeh Wen-chuan, 63, from Taiwan, Mr Tachihara Kazuomi, in his 50s, and his son, Itaru, 25, from Japan. The senior Mr Tachihara is an award winning chef who has won two television awards in Japan for his baking skills.

To celebrate BreadTalk's first anniversary, all bread items were sold for $1 from Friday to Saturday, 13-14 July 2001. More than 100,000 pieces of bread were sold on Friday alone.

Location and outlets
The first BreadTalk outlet was started at Parco Bugis Junction in Victoria Street, costing $300,000 with a storefront the size of 753 sq ft (70 sq m). At the end of its first year of operations in 2000, BreadTalk suffered a pre-tax loss of S$247,000 but generated a hefty pre-tax profit of S$2 million by the end of 2001.

BreadTalk outlets were initially concentrated in major shopping malls in the town area and slowly moved out into neighbourhood shopping centres, with the aim to attract a larger customer base of those aged 18 to 40 years, targeting mainly students and young working adults.

The company plans to regionalise BreadTalk and set up outlets in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in 2003 and a listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange is being considered.

Aug 2002 : BreadTalk won the first Promising Brand Award (SPBA) given by ASME. The bread boutique celebrated this award with its customers with a one day 50% discount sale on all its bread items on Thursday 29 August 2002.

BreadTalk also earned a mention in Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's National Day rally speech in August 2002.

Sharon Teng

All Hot and Bothered over Steamy Buns. (2001, July 15). The Straits Times, p. 23.

Cameron's Road Bends are Exciting. (2002, July 30). The Straits Times, Life!.

Choong,W., et al. (2001, August 27). Government Support Saves SMEs' Time and Money. The Straits Times, p. 10.

Lum, M. (2000, July 25). Bread Boutique Raises the Stake. The Straits Times, p. 3.

Poon, A. (2002, August 20). Breadtalk Hopes to Go Public in 2003; Proceeds from Listing would be used for Regional Expansion. The Straits Times. 

Tee, H. C. (2001, July 22). Bun Keeps Bakery Rolling in the Dough. The Straits Times, p. 9.

Tee, H. C. (2001, August 19). Rolling in Dough; Bread Expectations. The Straits Times, p. 8.

Tee, H. C. (2001, August 19). The Wheat Smell of Success. The Straits Times, p. 8.

BreadTalk. [2002]. Retrieved September 20, 2002, from 

The information in this article is valid as at 2002 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Manufacturing industries>>Food, beverages and tobacco
Trade and industry
Commerce and Industry>>Industries

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2006.