Sri Lanka’s foremost baker and caterer celebrates 110 years of success and goodness
Look back 110 years and you’ll find the humble beginnings of a multi-faceted family bakery business that continues to prosper today – Perera & Sons Bakers (P & S).
When K.A. Charles Perera who hailed from the remote Southern village of Kodagoda, baked his first loaf of bread at the turn of the 19th century, he could never have guessed he was founding an empire.
Charles Perera is great-grandfather to today’s fourth generation management of P&S. According to the family history, great grandfather Charles, using not much more than an old baking tray and his own ingenuity, and with the aid of his loyal assistant Anthony Bas, went from door to door selling his products. The quality of his wares soon won him a steady, loyal and ever growing customer base that gave him the confidence and encouragement to set up his own business – a proper bakery. Years later, in the time of his son Albert Perera, Perera & Sons installed the first electric oven in Sri Lanka, and the next generation of Rukmini and Sarath Kodagoda went into further expansion of operations by creating a new production facility. The latter generation also started rapidly expanding the number of outlets whilst further diversifying the business into restaurants, with the launch of ‘The Curry Bowl’.
Now - a century, a decade, and several generations later - Perera & Sons has enhanced and expanded their founder’s initial business philosophy since 1902, and today celebrates 110 years of success and goodness; qualities inherent in all its products and services and has just opened its 110th outlet in Kalubowila to celebrate the landmark occasion.
Charles Perera’s great-grandson Gihan Perera is now Managing Director. He brought in his international education and exposure into the business and fast expanded into production plants at Kurunegala, Matara, Dambulla and Kandy. They also commenced catering operations and automated the production facilities in order to further enhance the company’s product portfolio - catering to the urban, discerning customer by later opening ‘Cravings’ - for desserts and ‘Bars Café’ - for dining. “Times have changed since over a century ago, and so have people’s tastes, but we have consistently strived to cater to these ever changing tastes of our customers” says Gihan. “My Great Grandfather’s own recipes may not have survived intact, but one thing is for sure: he would not have dreamed he was founding a business that now spans five generations - it’s something we can be proud of. I don’t know too many businesses that have been around for 110 years and we hope to be around for quite a bit longer.”
As Sri Lanka’s foremost baker and caterer with over a century of tradition behind them, P & S takes pride in producing every great tasting item of food on its list with care, and with a strong commitment to quality ensuring there are no added preservatives to any of the food items prepared. Priding themselves for pioneering and leading in the art of baking, P & S has transformed from the days when products were sold door-to-door and has surged forward in its rate of automation, innovation and branch operations in order to simultaneously synchronize over time with whatever products and services that they are currently experienced in. Today, the Company has moved beyond being just a family baker to being a leader in the food and beverage industry with a diverse range of products from custom cake making to outdoor catering. Testimonies to the fact are the many accolades the Company has received over the years. The staff too has evolved with the times - their prowess being displayed when they excel at national award ceremonies competing with leading national and international institutions. So much so that the company recently won Gold & Silver at Chef’s Guild 2011 and will represent Sri Lanka in the Culinary Olympics later this year. The company is also one for all seasons as proven by its range of unmatched Kavili Gama goodieswith all the traditional sweetmeats on offer as well as its Christmas Fare – which includes its unmatched traditional Christmas Breudher as well as Christmas Cake. “Our brand has protected us and carried us through many a hard time and acts as our business card in this very competitive market,” Gihan added.
For 110 years the legacy of catering to the needs of the customers has continued. But as times have changed, so have they. Today, P & S is an amazing case study on an age old brand that has moved with the times. Moving into the digital sphere last year, they have fast managed to own the digital space in the Bakery sector in Sri Lanka. With approximately 52,000 fans, P & S has managed to be one of the most interactive face book pages in the country. The page currently has a reach of 3.3 million fans locally and globally with over 50% of users interacting with the page daily. Other than the P & S profile on Face book, the brand is highly active on Twitter.
“Here at P & S we strive to maintain a consistency in the levels of quality that we have been, and still are, famous for. While state of the art production equipment and our own ultra modern facilities have enabled us to maintain a competitive edge and high standards of quality, they have also enabled us to give customers the best value for their money. Most of all, the commitment of our staff has helped us maintain our ‘value for money’ proposition.” concluded Gihan. Reflecting on P & S celebrating 110 years Gihan acknowledged, “We must be doing something right.”