Originally Published: March 10, 2016 3:11 p.m.
There is a place in Prescott where a hungry person can get something for any meal of the day, where the employees are known as Breadheads and the customers are treated like kings. That place is Wildflower Bread Company, 3250 Gateway Blvd. Part of a statewide chain owned by Louis J. Basile Jr., the restaurant has something on the menu for anyone, whether they’re 5 years old or 85 years old.
The first Wildflower Bread Company opened almost 20 years ago in Scottsdale and will be celebrating that milestone in November, Basile said. But as for the location in Prescott, there was always the intention of moving north and when that time came, Prescott seemed like a nice, natural start, he said. Gateway Mall was chosen as the location because, when it was first conceived, it was an exciting project that would service the tri-valley area, Basile said.
Wildflower Bread Company is a local treasure, Basile stated. In trying to keep things simple, there’s a certain satisfaction in taking care of the customers, the Breadheads and the community, he said.
“I believe that business owners have a civic responsibility to give back to the community from which they operate,” Basile said, bringing up a model of thirds, where a third of the company ensures the customers are excited, a third of the company ensures the Breadheads are excited and a third ensures resources are going towards uplifting and doing good work within the community. “That seems to me like an incredibly gratifying model for success.”
Wildflower has a menu with broad appeal that has really figured out breakfast, lunch and dinner, with something for everybody, from age 5 to 85, Basile said. Popular breakfast items include egg sandwiches and pancakes while there is split popularity between salads, sandwiches and soups during lunchtime. For dinner, the pastas seem to be the customer favorites, such as the pasta marinara with meatballs and the Butternut Squash Ravioli, he said.
Even with those customer favorites, Wildflower has a menu that is ever-evolving, which Basile says is due to the shifting consumer dynamics.
“As consumers change, the most successful brands or businesses adapt to their consumers,” he said. “For us, food innovation is really about keeping it interesting for our customers and really capturing customer needs, trends, wants that we believe have longevity to them.”
Wildflower keeps to the age old adage that the customer is always right, which Basile interprets to mean that the customer should be treated like a king. He added that by talking about making the customer king, making the Breadheads the kings should also be talked about as they are the front-facing people that interact with the customers on a daily basis. By treating the Breadheads well, giving them a great environment to work with and talking about people over rules, that produces faith that the Breadheads are going to do the right thing and take care of the customer, he said.
“For the Wildflower, we decided that everything matters because then we cover all bases for all customers,” Basile said, mentioning that they do whatever it takes to create a “wow” experience. “‘Wow’ customers are customers for life. What better form of advertising is a customer going up to a friend and saying let’s go to the Wildflower for lunch … “that is priceless and irrepeatable (sic) advertising.”
It does seem like the customers at Prescott’s Wildflower Bread Company feel as if they’re treated like kings and get that “wow” experience as the restaurant has an average rating of four out of five stars from sites like yelp.com (44 reviews), tripadvisor.com (102 reviews) and zomato.com (52 votes).
“It was quite the experience. Now if only we had this in Hawaii!”
“They have the best bread, hands down.”
“Their food is amazing! I always get the potato cream cheese soup, I seriously can’t get enough of it!”
“I love visiting Wildflower where ever I go in AZ, but the Prescott location is my favorite.”
“Great atmosphere, friendly staff and incredible food!”
While Prescott’s Wildflower Bread Company is currently at Gateway Mall, that may soon change as Basile is considering a shift in location due to how the dynamics of the mall have changed, he said. The current location doesn’t provide visibility and ease of access. However, the decision whether or not to move has not been made yet, Basile said.
“We’re working towards evaluating options, basically. One of the options would be very close to the mall, just with better visibility and easier access,” he said, adding that when a business is established that has serviced a community for a long time, the moving the location is a very serious consideration. “So we’re going to, as I believe we’ve always been in our business, incredibly mindful to what serves both the community that’s made us successful here and the needs of the Wildflower.”
Wildflower Bread Company is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 7 p.m. Sunday. It can be reached at 928-717-1700 and found online at www.wildflowerbread.com.