Since taking over the International Bakery Cuban Dulceria for their father in 2009, Rita and Sara Vazquez have been taking steps to modernize the family business. They installed a point of sales system so they could better track products and orders. They designed a website and set up a profile on Facebook so they could interact with their customers. Over the years, much of what they've done to grow the Carrollton business has been working. But recently, their efforts have been working almost too well.
It started with weekday lunch service, which was once only hectic toward the end of the week but started picking up on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, too. The small café in the front of the bakery only seats 20, and customers started calling in their orders and taking them to go in an attempt to avoid the melee. Weekends, meanwhile, have been getting even more consuming.
"We need more guayaba cheese!" an employee behind the counter calls out when the small pastry case is emptied. Workers from the bakery behind the café bring out additional pastries but within minutes there are more casualties. "More meat! More cream cheese!" All this while an espresso machine hisses at capacity to pull one tiny cortadito at a time, and a line extends outside the door.
You'd think that the Vasquez sisters would be a little overwhelmed with their current situation, but they're quite the opposite. "It's an awesome problem to have," says Sara.
Recently, the small espresso machine was replaced by a double, and after extending the café hours till 7 p.m. last December, they're now planning to extend morning hours to match.
An increasing number of customers have had enough of the standard office doughnut experience -- they want to replace the cliché with flaky, scratch-made pastries and a cup of Joe to-go. And while hours can be extended with a simple change to a sign, and the bakery's capacity can be expanded by added shifts and production cycles, there's only so much that can be done to handle customers in a finite space. So the Vasquez sisters have started planning to expand.
In Carrollton, a number of options are on the table including moving the bakery and café to a larger property, or splitting the two spaces apart. The biggest news, though, is the new satellite location in the works. "We love where we're at," assures Rita, "but we feel the need to be in Dallas as well."
There won't be any baking at the Dallas spot, but plenty of fresh pastries will be shipped down each morning. They'll also sell their sought after Cuban sandwiches. Since all the ingredients get prepared ahead of time it's simple to assemble the pressed sandwiches to order at another location.
Sara says they're looking at property around Preston and Royal, and also in Snider plaza. And as soon as they find the right spot, they'll be ready to use it. Will it happen by the end of the year?
"We're really pushing for it," says Sara. The Christmas season is the biggest time of the year for the bakery, as requests for their pork roasts increase along with cakes and catering orders for parties. Having a satellite store front in the center of one of Dallas' most affluent neighborhoods in time for Christmas wouldn't be bad for business. And sales aside, there are a few sandwich geeks who want nothing more than pressed ham and pork with pickles and mustard under their tree.
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