32-year-old Jack Rose aka @doyouknowthebagelman started South Coast Bagel Company just as the country was coming out of national lockdown and 18 months later has become one of Southsea’s hottest food stars.
Jack first dreamt up South Coast Bagel Company back in 2018 on a trip to New Jersey where he fell in love with the culture of daily trips to buy morning bagels. Keeping his identity a secret, his witty digital launch campaign, complete with eye-catching logo, quickly caused a social media stir. It wasn’t long before Portsmouth locals were asking themselves “do I know the bagel man?” and started ordering his hand-rolled, US East-Coast-style bagels by the box load.
Nowadays, Jack and his award-winning bagels can be found hosting monthly masterclasses at The South Coast Cookery School, wholesaling weekly fresh bakes to the likes of Southsea Deli and Southsea Coffee; plus providing bagel feasts for corporate and private events
I am currently wholesaling to three large coffee shops in Southsea including a new partnership with the recently opened Baffled Coffee Deli in Old Portsmouth. I’m exploring the idea of opening a test kitchen very soon so we can make bagels more readily available and be able to offer hot fillings for delivery and markets.
Starting up costs are always an issue. I found this at the beginning, and it still applies now when looking at new ventures or expansion. Narrowing down the markets to my customer base and making sure I’m adapting my product for the right audience is always a challenge as is the constant change in energy prices and food costs. The latter particularly has seen margins shrink which makes the business, particularly the markets and events, difficult to sustain at times.
Market research and being adaptable! With the changes in energy prices and food costs, for example the price of flour has almost doubled since I started the company, it has been about working out new flavours and sourcing ingredients that are cost effective without sacrificing the quality. Working with good people within the community has helped massively. There are some amazing local businesses that are happy to collaborate with other small independents which has helped me to broaden my audience. I’ve also had a lot of support from my wholesalers which is particularly appreciated in these hard times. Taking on corporate events and teaching the monthly classes has also provided me with some outside income without the large outgoings of an event or market. I have huge ambitions to grow the business and the key to this is to be reactive and diversify when needed.
His newest partnership, a residency at brand new Baffled Coffee Deli in Old Portsmouth, has seen his dream of locals popping in for fresh breakfast bagels, like he once did in New Jersey, come full circle. With new flavours in the mix, a packed calendar of events plus plans to expand the wholesale business and work with more local independent brands, 2023 looks set to be the biggest year yet for the bagel man…