Biržų Duona fuses tradition and innovation to become the third-largest bakery in Lithuania
Road to Success: Family, Tradition, and Social Media
Scrolling through Biržų Duona’s Instagram account will leave anyone in awe – and hungry. The long-esteemed bakery’s social media accounts burst with color, craft, and creativity.
„We like to be close to our clients and customers.
Social media helps us do that, “
said Andrius Kurganovas, Biržų Duona’s executive director.
The photos on the Soviet-era bakery’s Instagram each exude a quirky narrative while exhibiting a variety of their flagship products. “Although the content may not be directly related to sales,” tells Natalija Kurganovė, Biržų Duona Head of Marketing and Innovation, “connecting with customers emotionally is just as important.”
When Andrius’ father, Viktoras Kurganovas, took over Biržų Duona in 2000, the business was nearly bankrupt and no longer able to keep up with the demand. But with hard work, grit, patience, and unity in the family, Biržų Duona is now the third-largest bakery in Lithuania.
Biržų Duona (previously named Biržų Pramkombinatu) was established in 1953 in Biržai in the Soviet Union. They employed around 35 employees and operated three charcoal stoves, producing two to three tons of products per day. However, by the late 1970s, the bakery was no longer sustainable and unable to provide for the residents in their district. In 1998, Viktoras Kurganovas joined the deteriorating business as CEO and when the business went on sale, he decided he’d take a risk and buy the business.
„The business was almost bankrupt and my father had little experience managing a business. It was also a hard time in Lithuania – unemployment rate was very high, and we had only been an independent country for 10 years,“
Despite the uncertainty ahead, Viktoras and his family got to work on reinventing the bakery and reinvigorating the business. The Kurganovas family started implementing new technologies, reconstructing infrastructures, and shifting the company culture from a government-owned bakery to a family business.
“It really was a brand new beginning for the company,” Andrius said.
Once the Kurganovas family settled the business in, they quickly began to innovate. They started creating and developing new products outside of the traditional regional breads the bakery had been known for. To outrun consumer needs, meaning to create a supply when there isn’t demand, is insanely hard. For instance, they were the first big bakery in Lithuania that launched a gluten-free range even all the statistics showing that the market is too narrow for such big investment.
„I think that was key to the early success of the bakery. We wanted to create new products for our customers while maintaining the traditional products. All products should be manufactured organically. And that’s what brought us to FRITSCH,“
said Andrius Kurganovas.
The Biržų Duona partnership with FRITSCH began in 2008, when Andrius and Viktoras visited the test bakery in Markt Einersheim.
“Everyone was really friendly during that visit and the croissant line made a big impression,” Andrius said.
That visit resulted in Biržų Duona purchasing their first FRITSCH product, the MULTIFLEX L. Biržų Duona is now one of the most successful bakeries in Lithuania and eastern Europe and continue looking forward to the future.
“We are committed to creating products with respect to traditions and the environment,” Andrius emphasized. “That is the mission for our customers. We want to see growth in the whole company, not just in management but also in production. I remind myself regularly that the point of our business is not only finding revenue or result-oriented solutions. It is the community that counts and surrounds us. It is ingrained in us to reach results especially at work. However, the process itself is much more important.
Life is dynamic thus, we pay attention that we and our employees enjoy the process that of course is related to regular changes. We live community in team and want that everyone loves coming back to work on Monday morning,” he continued.
Andrius’ team often creates projects and products that are completely irrelevant for the Lithuanian market, but they become popular a few years later. One of their beliefs is that they love to say, is: “Every baked good on the table has its own history, and Biržų Duona writes it every day with faith, love for the environment, Lithuania and its people. That’s how daily creation transforms into ‘the tradition of creating.’,” told Natalija.
Get to know:
Biržų Duona has continuously baked a wide variety of bread and sweet products since 2000. In the Biržai region, bread holds an important and honorable place not only in traditional celebrations, but also on the daily table of the family. Biržų Duona has preserved the wisdom of long-lasting bread baking customs and their products have developed from traditions tested by time.
- 2020 – worth 14 million euros
- Own 19 of own bakery shops
- 8 shops in franchise agreement
- 396 employees: production, sales, and shop employees
- Export to U.S., UK, Germany, Poland, Baltic countries
You couldn’t have more flexibility
The MULTIFLEX L 700 offers the ultimate in variety and flexibility when producing your baked goods of choice, irrespective of the dough which is to be processed.
You can produce a wide variety of pasty products and specialty breads with a single line. The space-saving all-rounder combines the variety of shapes available with intelligent punching and cutting technology in a single production line with the advantages of a particularly gentle punching and turning process. Interested in more information?