Carlo’s Bakery is a century-old Hoboken, New Jersey shop. Owned by the Valastro family, Carlo’s Bakery makes artistic confections like this:

cake boss employee decorating cakes

And this:

carlo's bakery tart

And this:

carlos bakery spiderman cake

When the TLC Channel show, “Cake Boss,” began airing 5 years ago, the shop’s charismatic head, Buddy Valastro Jr., became a worldwide reality TV star (the show is aired in 208 countries). Orders began pouring into Carlo’s Bakery, which began to grow. And grow: from 70 workers at one location back in 2009, Carlo’s Bakery today has 5 locations employing 600 workers. And Valastro plans to open another nine bakeries this year alone for a total of 14. The baking mini-empire will employ as many as 1,500 workers by the end of 2014.

Crucial to all of this growth has been Carlo’s Bakery’s investment in communications.

“A lot of people think that just because we’re in the bakery business, it’s all about flour, sugar and stuff like that. But the truth of the matter is, we’re in the business of making people happy. People working in collaboration are a huge part of the success of Carlo’s Bakery,” Valastro says in a video.

At the beginning of Carlo’s growth spurt, the bakery only had an old Nortel system with 6 lines and no voicemail.

carlo's bakery valasco

“I always joke that our old call center customer experience model was, ‘Carlo’s Bakery, please hold,’” says Valastro (above). That obviously wouldn’t be able to handle demand for Carlo’s cupcakes and baked goods today (they are shipped anywhere in the U.S. via phone or online order, and can even be bought on cruise ships). “We had to grow, and we had to be able to do it right…we needed infrastructure to scale with us.”

Carlo’s deployed an Avaya IP Office-based communications system from my employer that was sized perfectly for a fast-growing mid-market firm such as his. Today, it runs 98 phone lines with voicemail at its six locations, as well as a 15-agent call center. IP Office Analytics help Carlo’s figure out when calls are heavier and when more agents are needed.

The IP Office system is supported by an Avaya network. Managers such as Valastro also use Avaya Flare Experience on iPhone and iPad to run key applications such as tracking its delivery trucks in real-time.

cake boss iphone

“We rely heavily on technology,” says Valastro. “When you want to grow your business, you have to have people who imagine the same way.”

Watch the full Cake Boss video customer case study here.