A Friendly Bread’s founder, Lane, used to work as a community organizer focused on labor rights. He saw, and fought to change, the ways in which workers are exploited in so many sectors of our economy. While standards for compensation are not stellar in the food industry, Lane decided that providing dignified compensation is not only fair, but good for business.
- Starting wages at A Friendly Bread are $19/hour, and the plan is to increase the standard production wage to $25/hr by the end of 2023
- All permanent employees have access to medical (including mental health), dental and vision insurance through A Friendly Bread; as well as 3 weeks of Paid Time Off per year
- Employees are guaranteed work-life balance, enjoying 40-hour work weeks (with the tiny, rare exception of a couple hours of overtime) and 2-day weekends
We are constantly exploring new options to provide dignified compensation for our employees.
Not only is A Friendly Bread’s founder and owner, Lane Levine, a gay man but he has worked throughout his career to support advancement for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people. His first job out of college, as a Student Organizer for GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), focused on addressing anti-LGBT bullying in schools. In his last job before starting A Friendly Bread, as the Population Health Project Manager for LifeBridge Health, he led the hospital system to achieve recognition as a Top Performer in the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index. As a business, A Friendly Bread is certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise, which allows us to build relationships with other businesses; achieve preferred status in bid selection processes; and generally provide visibility to the public.
Making food on a mass scale inevitably involves using or generating lots of stuff – ingredients, packaging, product waste. Here at A Friendly Bread, we have identified a few ways in which we can minimize the harm we cause to the environment:
- Product design: While our Sourdough Grilled Cheese is a single-serve item, we built it with the knowledge that people’s alternatives might be more wasteful. If someone wants a high-quality grilled cheese, they are going to have to buy an entire loaf of good bread and an entire block of good cheese — and chances are, the majority of each product will go to waste. So our design takes food waste reduction into account.
- Minimal packaging: Check out most other frozen snacks or meals out there — you’ll be buying a product on a tray, inside a bag, inside a box. That’s a lot. Our product comes in one bag, made with 50% recycled plastic, and that’s it.
- Production waste: We make a lot of bread, and then we slice it up for Toasts or Grilled Cheeses. While we love to snack on bread ends and cheese nubs – we can’t keep up with all of them. But the cows can! We have partnered with local farms for years, selling them bread or using their ingredients — and now that we have ramped up production, we are supplementing their food supply by donating bread and cheese scraps to farm animals. Our main partner is Playtime Pastures, but we are adding more as we expand.
Sourdough bread is at the base of all of our products – and we are sourdough masters. We make our products totally from scratch, all by ourselves. That means we don’t use any mixes, pre-made doughs, or even any ingredients that allow us to skip steps — like dough conditioners or commercial yeast (we do use a touch of commercial yeast in our challah, but THAT’S IT!) What this also means is that we maintain our own manufacturing operation instead of outsourcing it to a co-manufacturer. This allows us to keep money local by paying good wages to local employees — and keeping profits strong in our business, allowing us to grow into the future.