We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Magner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I regularly state that Cake Crumbs Bakery & Cafe is special not for one thing. It is not one particular menu item, custom cake, beverage or staff member for which we are known. Instead, Cake Crumbs is special because of the confluence of three things… our community that supports us, the amazing food that we serve and the most amazing staff that we employ. These three factors demand equal amounts of attention.
Our community supports us in the most generous ways. If it were not for our community, we would not have survived the darkest days of the pandemic. Our most loyal customers continued to visit us daily appreciating the importance of their support during the time we were most restricted in operating the business. We do our best to demonstrate our gratitude every day in our personal relationships with these people. We know them by name, have their regular order ready before they have reached the register and check in with them on their lives.
We take great care in the product we serve. We regularly make necessary tweaks to recipes to make sure we are serving the best food we can. Our production staff is given creative autonomy to develop recipes and flavor profiles to keep our offering fresh and interesting. We take all feedback and criticisms to heart and make changes as necessary. Our menu, whether a breakfast sandwich or a pastry, gets the same level of attention. More recently we identified an opportunity to improve the coffee we serve and now roast coffee in house ensuring we are serving the freshest and best tasting coffee every day.
Lastly and most importantly, our dynamic staff is the icing on the cake. Our staff buys in to a culture of mutual respect, listening and support. Regularly we check in with staff: how are you doing; how is the job treating you; what can we do differently to support you better; and what more would you like to get out of your job. We are a fairly level organization and expect everyone to be treated with the same level of respect. While many restaurants may experience high levels of drama in the kitchen, we tout a zero tolerance policy. Issues amongst staff are addressed in the moment. This may not suit everyone but it allows us all to refocus on our common purpose. This support for staff is demonstrated in their loyalty to the business.
This confluence is what makes Cake Crumbs special and unique. My energy and focus on these three assets is the success of Cake Crumbs!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My previous professional career was as an institutional money manager. It was a Wall Street job. I loved how dynamic it was, how I was constantly learning and how no two days were the same. Fast forward to my second chapter as a small business owner and as different as picking stocks is to operating a bakery, I love it for the exact same reason.
Nothing is easy about either of the career paths I have journeyed. But I am terrified of failure and that is how I have overcome every challenge presented. As the business owner of a small neighborhood bakery, the apex of these challenges was the onset of the pandemic. Facing so much over which I had no control felt like an insurmountable task. I felt a tremendous amount of responsibility for the staff I employ and the community that we serve and those factors gave me the inspiration and energy to function every day.
I have learned that keeping an open mind, maintaining a level of creativity and being nimble has been the key to our success. As a small business, we are able to make changes quickly and as we see necessary. There is no bureaucracy to get through. All staff members have an equal voice especially as suggestions are made.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Denver’s highlights… Union Station… drinks at Cooper Lounge
Stanley Marketplace… cooking classes at Create Cooking School
Denver Botanic Gardens… live music
Marczyk’s Fine Foods… gourmet food shopping experience
many many many restaurants to choose from!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Cake Crumbs staff and the community that supports Cake Crumbs.