Friday, March 29, 2013
Musmanni Bakery…..a Sweet Staple found throughout Costa Rica!
For those that have traveled or lived in Costa Rica, Musmanni Bakery is a common and most welcome sight. Consistently serving a variety of quality breads, pastries, cakes, cookies and other convenience items, Musmanni is easily the best place to find a quick and delicious snack at a reasonable price. Considered the most popular bakery chain in Costa Rica, its welcoming orange lettered chef’s hat logo is immediately identified by “Ticos” wherever they travel throughout Central America.
Musmanni Early History:
The year 1902 brought the arrival of the Musmanni family to Costa Rica. Native to Italy, the original members consisted of Nicolas and Teresa Musmanni (mother & father) and their children Domingo, Carmela and Antonio, quickly followed by the birth of their forth son, Gaetano. The family started their new business in Costa Rica selling pasta, something that was literally in their blood, as they descended from a long line of Italian bakers. By 1929, the once young son, Domingo, built the first Musmanni Bakery on Central Avenue in the heart of San Jose, choosing to focus on fresh tasting, high quality mass production of bread.
Musmanni Family Grows:
In 1960, now some 30 years later, Franco Pacheco Musmanni, grandson of Domingo, returned from his studies in Chicago, Illinois, USA to start his own bakery business to be called Panaderia Pinova, S.A., specializing in sliced breads as to not directly compete with the Musmanni loaf style breads. Learning the business from the ground up and on his own, only 10 short years later, Franco bought the Musmanni Brothers Corporation, changing the official name to Musmanni International Corporation, in which he acted as president until his untimely death another 30 years later in 1999.
Musmanni Middle Years:
Meanwhile, Santa Cruz, Guanacaste celebrated the inauguration of the second Musmanni Bakery in the year 1973, followed a few years later by a third store. The sons of Franco joined the family business in 1980 as expansion of the chain began to require more and more of the family members efforts. This necessity brought fruition to the concept of franchising, which would enable a spreading out the work as well as the risk, while furthering the brand name, its distribution abilities, all while generating more profits for the growing Musmanni Corporation.
Franchising & Auto Service:
Midway through 1985, the concept of the Musmanni Franchise was officially launched, as it’s forth store opened in front of the popular and busy “Coca Cola” central market in downtown San Jose. This was followed only a few years later by the initiation of a new “auto service” (we make it, you bake it) system to be handled by their new subsidiary corporation, Premezclas Industriales para Panaderia, S.A. (Premixed Industries for Bakeries, S.A.), which manufactured pre-mixed bread dough to be offered at points of sale beyond Musmanni stores on a mass scale, enabling bakers to offer a fresher product without compromising time, quality or taste.
As the Musmanni brand continued to expand across Costa Rica, 1990 brought in a third Production Plant, larger Central Offices and an innovative company idea, the creation of UPAN, the University of Pan (Bread). Located in the San Jose suburb of La Uruca, the “University” and its outlying facilities were built to offer a central location for corporate operation, as well as extensive training to the future bakers of the Musmanni Corporation.
Continued Baking Success:
With the idea of simplifying the production process in their now 24 bakeries, Musmanni began production of frozen baking products in 1995, while the same year procuring the coveted ISO Certification of Quality Standards, one of the first in Costa Rica. This was followed only one short year later by a business alliance with the huge Subway Sandwich chain, as well as inaugurating new modernized production processes allowing the company to produce some 2500 units of product per hour. Other lucrative strategic distribution agreements followed with RICH’s (worldwide distributor of bakery products), as well as giant Pizza Hut Costa Rica & Panama. Lastly, the Musmanni Franchise model expanded to the capital of Panama, bringing the number of Musmanni stores to just under 50 stores, and growing to more than 70 by 1998, winning Mr. Franco Pacheco Musmanni “Businessman of the Year” by the Chamber of Industries.
By 1999, Musmanni Bakeries could be found in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, as well as Puerto Rico and more exclusive sales deals were closed with several of the largest supermarket chains in Costa Rica. This was also the year Musmanni Corporation celebrated the inauguration of its 100th store! In the next few years, another production plant would go on line, as well as larger offices and storage facilities to facilitate the ever growing business of baking bread, which had showed no signs of stopping as the total number of stores quickly grew to 157!
Today Musmanni International consists of more than 200 outlets in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, as well as being the exclusive provider to such prestigious food chains and supermarkets as Pizza Hut, Subway, Quiznos, Perimercados, Multimercados. Musmanni products are served on the tables of many of the most prestigious Costa Rica hotels and restaurants, as well as throughout Central America. A Musmanni Bakery can be found on the street corner of almost any medium sized town in Costa Rica, and are admired for their dedication to quality bakery products. In 2008 the company launched two European style coffee houses called “Mundo de Café” (coffee world), that although mildly successful, will likely never match the wildly popular business model of their popular simple street front bakeries, which continue to thrive to this day!
So if you have ever had the pleasure of tasting Musmanni products, you surely are hungry by now and ready to head out to the nearest Musmanni bakery to satisfy that old sweet tooth. If you haven’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it, its good! For those of you in Costa Rica, as you bite into that next fresh pastry, or smear rich butter on another loaf of that soft warm bread, think of Nicolas, Domingo, Franco and the other members of the Musmanni family that sacrificed so much to bring from Italy over 100 years of baking pleasure!
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.
Translated from the following Sources: