Laura's Gourmet Granola
Laura’s Gourmet Granola is a chef created artisan crafted granola developed with an equal focus on one’s health and one’s palate. Versatile in its use, from out of the bag straight up to on a salad or in an açaí bowl, this granola has earned its accolades from both foodservice and retail consumers alike. Laura's Gourmet Granola - truly the best granola you will ever have. Artisan crafted, all natural, gluten free, delicious and addictive.
But that was not the original plan. As a matter of fact, there was never a plan to create the world’s best granola and put it on the market. Here’s what happened.
In 2001, the dot.com industry drove thousands of companies out of business, and even more individuals out of a job. Laura Briscoe was one of them. Her high tech career came to a screeching halt, and to be honest, she wasn’t that concerned, because, well, burn out.
With little to do and no idea what to do next, Laura ended up in a movie theatre while the kids were in school. Saw a “foodie” movie and left the theatre with the intention of following a long shelved dream of owning a restaurant. So she started culinary school a month later. Figured a good restaurant owner needs a chef she can trust plus know what to do in case the chef flaked.
After a week, not only did she know she had no desire to own a restaurant, she also knew she wanted to be a chef, not a restaurateur. Upon completion of school, her first business, Celebrated Cuisine, with a focus on elegant events and culinary instruction, was started – as her externship. It was 2002.
About a year later, Chef Laura was playing with a granola recipe, remembering her college years as an avid granola consumer while studying. While delicious, there was way too much fat, dairy and sugar for her to consider eating the original recipe ever again. So she recreated it, again, and again, and again. Each time revising the sugars and fats. Each time modifying the flavoring agents. Each time, documenting exactly what she had done with scales to ensure its perfect recreation in the future.
Then one day, voila – the birth of Vanilla Almond Crunch. The many recipe tests always resulted in more than she could eat. So Chef Laura gave it away – or traded it for things like personal training or brownie badge sewing (hey, she can cook, so don’t judge). Until one day it was suggested that she figure out how to sell her granola. And it needed a name, so “Laura’s Gourmet Granola” was born.
With a focus on the specialty market, and the theory go big or go home in her head, Chef Laura went after the largest specialty chain in Arizona. She walked their aisles to get ideas for specialty packaging, talked to the grocery leads at each of the stores and left samples everywhere she went. For months. Sent samples with catchy phrases like “get out of the box and into this bag” to the decision makers at corporate. And nothing.
Until one fateful May day, in the pouring rain, when she happened to see the Owner of this chain, separated from the pack, and so she pounced. He agreed he would make some inquiries on her behalf since he supports Local, and within 10 days a call came in letting Chef Laura know Laura’s Gourmet Granola would grace the shelves at AJs Fine Foods – assuming she was successful in selling each store to carry the product. This was 2004.
Since then, armed only by self-funding, sales skills, passion and desire, Laura’s Gourmet Granola has grown into a regional retail brand in the southwest, a national brand in foodservice and is beginning its national bulk retail availability, with so much more to come.
For foodservice, the product was “discovered” by the executive chef of the largest multiunit at an AJs Fine Foods in his quest to find the best granola for a new concept they were opening. This led to two other concepts in the chain which eventually led to Phoenix International Airport/Sky Harbor. It was the first foray into foodservice.
Introductions to various foodservice distributors has led to regional and national relationships, including Sysco Foods and Sysco AZ. Since being stocked in the Arizona warehouse, barely three years ago in mid 2016, Laura’s Gourmet Granola has either doubled or tripled its monthly sales. This remains true with other distribution partners for foodservice and retail.
Our Sysco national distribution currently is based on a drop ship program in the specialty sector. This has led to sales throughout the US, from restaurants and resorts to corporate dining and rehab facilities. The beauty in this to see Laura’s Gourmet Granola purchased in markets never considered for sales. Further, while “local” is important as an ingredient in knowing where your food is coming from, the all-natural and gluten free status of Laura’s Gourmet Granola has taken it even further – given that we provide both characteristics without sacrificing flavor.
At the end of the day, Laura’s Gourmet Granola, in 7 distinctive and delicious flavors, is a chef created artisan product that is ready for the next phase. Too much of the world has been left out of something so fantastic and it is time to shine a spotlight on the literal package that is Laura’s Gourmet Granola.