bake - December 2020 - 35

" As Cuban food and coffee have
become part of everyday life in
South Florida, we believe the
desire for a Hispanic concept
lies in areas outside of our own. "
Carlos De Varona, co-owner, CAO Bakery & Café

The new CAO Bakery & Cafe locations will address customers'
demand for affordable, satisfying, varied and comforting food for
all three daily meals and everything in between, as well as for party
platters and baked goods to serve at events. The primary product
availability is prepared in CAO's commissary in a single location by
skilled personnel and professional pastry chefs.
" Miami is the stomping ground for Cuban bakeries, " says Antonio Cao. " Over the last decade, we have evolved and modernized the neighborhood bakery model into a mainstream, fastcasual concept. As a brand, we would love to see our cafécitos
and pastelitos introduced in new cities. "
Cao has stated that he wants the bakery to be the " Latin Starbucks " . The business is young and hungry, an ideal combination
for growth.
During the pandemic, all CAO locations remained open and
served the community. While in-store foot traffic decreased due
to the nationwide shutdown, the company says its bakeries saw
an increase in online orders, curbside and third-party deliveries.
CAO gained positive press for its various community efforts,
which have been covered in the Miami Herald, NBC, CBS, Sun
Sentinel, Miami News Times and Thrillist, among others. It also
won a Time Out Miami's 2020 Time In Awards. The bakeries also
continue to offer 25% off to first responders and have served
over 6,000 meals to date through food bank distributions. This
has helped to grow the customer base near its existing locations,
with more on the horizon.
" As Cuban food and coffee have become part of everyday life

CAO Bakery is led by Antonio Cao and Carlos De Varona. Their business
features a streamlined system of operations and quality control.

in South Florida, we believe the desire for a Hispanic concept lies
in areas outside of our own, " says Carlos De Varona. " Franchising gives us the opportunity to grow alongside our partners and
scale our concept and products to the market quickly. "

tenants and the surrounding residential and commercial base.
CAO Bakery & Café is best known for its 30+ pastries and desserts, from chocolate to caramel, fruity or glazed; but its crown

As the retail bakery market in the Miami Metro area grew a

jewel is the pastelito. Buttery, flakey, sweet or savory, CAO's pas-

robust 13% between 2017 to 2018, nationwide, the bakery-café

telitos evoke the same feelings as the cafes themselves - warm,

industry as a whole is projected to grow at a 2.3% annual rate

sweet and authentic.

over the next three years. CAO plans to capitalize on the in-

Pastelitos are a mainstay of Cuban pastry cuisine and come in a

dustry's resilience - which has prospered despite the economic

variety of options from sweet to savory. Much like the Cuban sand-

downturn - with the addition of franchise locations in high-

wich is synonymous with Miami cuisine, pastelitos are the treat you

traffic retail centers where it will have optimal synergy with co-

can enjoy for breakfast, dessert or a mid-day pick-me-up.

bakemag.com | NOV-DEC 2020 > 35


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bake - December 2020

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