Ralph Plarre is an enthusiastic third generation baker in a family business which now spans four generations of two families working together, and two franchise bakery chains (Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses and Puckles Family Bakehouse). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ralph studied bakery production and distribution, which has been his specialty.
Over his 45 year baking career, Ralph helped grow the family business from five shops into a rapidly expanding franchise bakery chain in suburban Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat. They currently have over 60 stores. With his children, Ralph also introduced a second national enterprise, the Puckles Family Bakehouse chain.
Ferguson Plarre was created when the two Melbourne baking families (the Fergusons and Plarres) joined forces in 1980. Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses now deliver fresh cakes, pies & pastries on a daily basis to each store from a new cutting edge central baking facility in Keilor Park, Melbourne. Using all-Australian ingredients, this facility applies state of the art technology, processes and a lot of Plarre family enthusiasm. It is Australia’s most sustainable bakery.
Ralph has been involved with the government’s Greenhouse Challenge program for many years, so consequently when the time came to build a new bakery four years ago, “sustainability" was made a priority in all aspects of planning.
Since completion of the new bakery three years ago, Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses has been recognized for environmental leadership by winning the Best Green Business award in the national 2008 My Business Awards, was a finalist in the 2008 Banksia Awards and the 2009 Premiers Sustainability Awards, and in July 2009 won the Gold Banksia award, the most prestigious environmental award in Australia. 2010 also saw Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses inducted into the Victorian Governments Manufacturing Hall of Fame.
In 2012 the Plarre family acquired the Ferguson family interests in Ferguson Plarre.
With 100% ownership Ralph and his family are looking forward to expanding their business rapidly in the next 18 months.
Ralph is an engaging and passionate speaker, dedicated to continuous business improvement.
"Ralph was relevant, engaging and his passion was simply intoxicating. He had the entire room excited about success, succession and sustainability. He was more than happy to network with guests before and after the formalities and being so down to earth, he was an instant hit with all of our guests."
Telstra Licensed Stores
“Very charismatic man. I love his enthusiasm!"
“I was very impressed"
“A great story! Is there a community of owners of SMEs who are engaging in environmentally productive practices?
“ A remarkable man... great story."
“ Powerfully honest genuine and down to earth - a lesson for us all trying to engage and bring about change within the community"
"We were fortunate enough to have Ralph Plarre give a keynote presentation at our recent Sustainable Business Breakfast event. The audience were lucky enough to hear from a person who is inspirational and has genuine passion and commitment to sustainability. The energy that he sent out during his presentation was felt by every attendee, particularly since it came from a business owner sharing his personal experience. Businesses were able to relate to his story and were able to walk away with practical ways to start integrating sustainable practices into their business processes. I think we all appreciated Ralph's message that getting there is not easy and will take some time, but by being dedicated any business can become sustainable .
Chief Executive- Darebin City Council
"Ralph’s presentation was inspiring, entertaining and a great call to action for SMEs in Hobsons Bay. His story is an inspiring example of personal leadership and he passionately articulates how businesses can drastically reduce their costs and increase profits while contributing to environmental restoration."
Hobsons Bay City Council
"Excellent: Ralph has a great manner and is very engaging. He was aware of his audience and spoke to them as understanding sustainability and its relevance to the plumbing industry."
Plumbing Teachers Association
"Ralph Plarre was fantastic at our Get Connected Green Business Breakfast event. He captivated the audience with his talk and passion about his business and sustainability. His messages really resonated with the audience and their feedback was that he inspired them and his story was relative to any business model. It was great that Ralph also stayed around after the event to speak with the businesses that wanted to pick his brain and he was a joy to deal with in the leading up to the event."
Moonee Valley City Council
"Excellent. We invited Ralph Plarre along to speak at our Business Networking Breakfast and from our feedback of an audience of 100 he was a great success. Ralph is passionate and inspirational; the audience related to his story as Ralph gives simple practical messages which encourages businesses to start thinking of small changes that they could easily incorporate in their daily work life. What mostly captures your attention to this man is that he is sincere and very generous and these qualities alone are inspiring."
City Of Yarra (Vic)
"Ralph Plarre recently presented to the Foodservice Industry Association and was an outstanding speaker; his passion and knowledge of the sustainability process undertaken by Ferguson Plarre with their factory build was inspirational. He brings warmth to his presentations and more importantly, presents exceptionally well to his audience and engages them in the sustainable process; He has a great story to tell and we would highly recommend him to any company wanting a quality speaker. Thank you"
Foodservice Industry Association (Vic/Tas)