Voted Best Bakery in the Morning Call’s Readers Choice 2016!
Voted Best Of The Valley® By Lehigh Valley Magazine for “Best Bakery” in:
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
Best Of The Valley® in:
Quality Valley Award in:
1995, 1996, 1997
Bakery has the sweet smell of success
Copyright Morning Call November 3, 1997
Michael, an archangel played by John Travolta last year in the movie of the same name, smelled like chocolate chip cookies to some people. To others, he smelled like peach pie. He reminded all of them of whatever scent made them feel safe and secure.
He might have trained for the role at the Emmaus Bakery.
Bakery owner Rick Zayaitz, 40, has worked hard to make sure everyone leaves his store feeling better than when they walked in, and to make sure they know there’s quality baked in.
Toward that end, the smell of the ox tongue cookies and the bear claws and the breads also goes a long way.
But the quality starts even before aromas reach customers’ noses.
For his efforts, Zayaitz recently was recognized with Quality Valley USA’s Highest Achievement award for 1997.
Quality Valley USA and its awards are based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. Once a year the local group honors companies that encourage quality initiatives.
No stranger to the group, Zayaitz won the group’s Serious Commitment award in 1995, and this year gave a workshop at the annual Celebration of Quality.
Recipes handed down from Zayaitz’s grandmother still are used pretty much in their entirety. If he strays too much, Jean Zayaitz, 83, pays him a “visit” to set him straight. She and Zayaitz’s grandfather owned several bakeries around the area before they retired.
Ingredients, as well, have remained fairly constant.
But a few years ago, Zayaitz started reading the popular books about quality and, by his own admission, caught “quality fever.”
Training for his employees — which at times number up to 15 people — is the most important thing he can do, he said, as he iced a cake ordered to look like a wedding cake extending “Best wishes to Kathy and Dimitri.”
“Kathy and Dimitri, I hope you’re OK,” Zayaitz said under his breath as he passed the cake along to be boxed.
Quality initiatives, aside from the sincere wish attached to Kathy’s and Dimitri’s cake, have been introduced little by little, and have spread the bakery’s fame and increased its sales.
For 1997, sales will be up more than 10 percent, Zayaitz said.
This year Zayaitz hired a consultant to train the employees who meet the customers at the front counter.
The shop’s menu lists close to 100 kinds of buttery baked goodies. What could they need to know besides how to bag or box the bear claws?
“They need to be more conscientious, they need to know how to smile. I don’t want to make a customer’s day worse, I always want to make it better,” he said.
In the small burg south of Allentown, the shop has been making better days for its customers since 1944. But it no longer caters only to local palates. Indeed the sweets are flying all over the place.
Shoofly pies — the kind with the moist bottom — repeatedly have been shipped five at a time to a place in Florida, said Doris Mory of Emmaus, who has worked at the bakery since 1972. Rick’s father bought the shop in 1963. Rick bought it from him almost 15 years ago.
Another customer, who moved to California, had the bakery ship cake layers and icing –packaged separately — to the west coast so a neighbor could assemble a birthday cake for his wife.
She called the bakery the next day, thanking them and saying she never thought she’d be able to have a cake from the Emmaus Bakery again.
Surveying the display cases Mory told story after story of customers who always come back, never missing a beat as she waited on customers that day.
One man, trying to decide which sweet-smelling loaf would suit, finally stepped up for a long, slim loaf of French bread.
Mory remembered him.
“Nothing for the dog today?” she said.
Of course, one of the knotted rolls with egg on the bottom.
The smile on his face said another customer had left the bakery happier than when he went in.
11 companies to get awards from Quality Valley program
Copyright Morning Call Oct 26, 1995
For Rick Zayaitz, quality doesn’t require complicated management theories or sophisticated strategies. It’s as simple as having good employees who make good rolls, cakes and doughnuts.
Zayaitz is the owner of the Emmaus Bakery on Chestnut Street in Emmaus, one of 11 businesses that will be honored tonight at the third Quality Valley, USA Awards in Bethlehem. With four full-time employees, the bakery is the smallest of award winners.
“My feelings were always, oh, this is for the big guys,” Zayaitz said, listing some of the businesses in the Quality Valley program. “Look who they are. You have Fuller Co., PP&L, Mack Trucks, Bethlehem Steel — and Emmaus Bakery.”
Zayaitz will be among the area business owners and leaders at Martin Tower today for quality workshops and exhibits of outstanding quality programs. The keynote speaker will be Mack Trucks Inc. Chairman Pierre Jocou, who wrote a book on quality management called “Au Coeur du Changement” or “At the Heart of Change.”
The Emmaus Bakery has been around since 1944, and Zayaitz’s family has owned it since 1963. Zayaitz did not reveal annual sales, but he said they have grown by 12 percent to 15 percent a year over the last decade. He said the customer base has expanded as far as King of Prussia.
Zayaitz gives a simple example to demonstrate what quality means to him:
“Last year the price of nuts went sky-high. Instead of lowering the amount of nuts in our products and lowering the quality, we had to raise the price,” he said. “People were actually a lot more accepting of it than I thought they would be.”
Other keys to his success are a loyal group of employees and good customer service, he said. One baker has been with the bakery for 23 years.
The Quality Valley awards are modeled after the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and designed to encourage and recognize quality initiatives at area businesses.
The other winners are Alvin H. Butz Inc, Mack Trucks, Easton Hospital, Fuller Co., GPS Transportation Inc., Kraft Foods, Mikitz Gordon Collision Center, Victaulic Co., Rexroth Corp. and St. Luke’s Hospital.
One reason Zayaitz applied was to get suggestions from the Quality Valley organization on how to improve his business. Despite being an award-winner, he said a critique he received from the group shows he has more to learn.
“Actually, they were very critical. They told me I lacked a total understanding of quality team commitment,” he said. “Doing just what I do and having people committed to quality is OK, but I need to learn more about managing that quality commitment.”
He said he’ll start learning at today’s workshops.