The publicly traded wholesale bakery that is the Honey Bun that Jamaicans love and enjoy, started out as a retail bakery that Michelle Chong and her husband Herbert purchased in 1982.With only 12, employees, at the time, it was located in what was then Spanish Court Plaza on St Lucia Avenue in New Kingston. It was a bold move for the Chongs, who have never operated a business before. Their roster of products then included pizza, lobster patties, plantain tarts, as well as exotic French pastry such as cream horn, and other tasty treats.The bakery later found a home in Premier Plaza before moving to Tropical Plaza into the location that was once the home of Oriental Restaurant. The Chongs decided to add ‘restaurateurs’ to their titles, adding a restaurant to the location – Wings and Ribs.
Honey Bun’s transformation into what it is today began in the economic crisis of the 1990s. With the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, the Chongs made the bold move to expand into wholesale. They took what was then their best selling product- donuts and moved to a larger space at 9C Retirement Road. Jamaica had a huge donut market at the time, with only one other supplier in the market. The Chongs introduced themselves to the existing donut vendors, and convinced them to start selling Honey Bun donuts as well. Demand soared, and the vendors would turn up at the bakery from as early as 5 a.m. jostling to get their orders in.
As business grew they needed a larger space and moved to 85 East Street, Kingston which today still houses a Honey Bun outlet.Soon donuts were accompanied by cupcakes and a night shift had to be added to meet the demand. The very popular Cinnamon Roll followed in 2000, with the Chongs constantly innovating, they became among the first in the island to have a seal and press machine, with their products in single-sealed printed packaging.
Currently shipping products to the Caribbean, US and England, their first foray into the export market came in 1996. The popularity of the Jamaican fruit cake during Christmas gave birth to Buccaneer Jamaica Fruit cake. After perfecting her recipe, Michelle’s fruit cakes were sealed in plastic, placed in a gold tin and a calico bag tied with a straw. When that item proved too seasonal, they added rum cake to the Buccaneer line. Today that line also consists of the very popular pocket-size rum cakes in three flavours – original, coconut and fruit.
In 2004 Honey Bun moved to its current location at 26 Retirement Crescent, becoming publicly listed on the Jamaica Junior Stock Exchange in 2011, and HACAP certified in 2016 – the first Jamaican bakery with that distinction.The expansion continued with the company acquiring 22 Retirement Crescent and then 24, which was once the location of the legendary Joe Gibbs recording studio. This added 11,500 square feet to their existing facility in 2018.
About Honey Bun Foundation
Directors of The Honey Bun Foundation from left: Robert Scott, Dr Lawrence Nicholson, Michelle Chong (Founder of the Foundation), ‘Nashauna Lalah, (General Manager) and Howard James.
The Honey Bun Foundation For SMEs and the Creative Industry
The Honey Bun Foundation was officially launched on Tuesday November 12 at Devon House in St Andrew. The Foundation received tremendous support and endorsements from: Minister of State in the Ministry of Mining, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green; Managing Director DBJ Milverton Reynolds; the Jamaica Stock Exchange, and a host of others.
The Mission of The Honey Bun Foundation is ‘To build powerful models for SMEs and the Creative Industry to become transformational industries for Jamaica’s ecomony’. This was clearly expressed by the Foundation’s Founder Michelle Chong who gave a moving speech on the inspiration behind the Foundation, and General Manager Nashauna Lalah who delivered the night’s welcome and opening remarks. The launch was attended by members of the private and public sectors including key representatives of agencies and industries with whom the Foundation will partner to deliver value to those it serves.”
Donuts for Teachers!
Honey Bun fetes 40 schools for Teacher’s Day
Teaching staff across the island to receive complimentary donuts
Honey Bun (1982) Limited, under the guidance of Chief Executive Officer Michelle Chong, has set out to truly celebrate and encourage educators across Jamaica with its great tasting donuts.
The initiative dubbed Donuts for Teachers, launched on Teacher’s Day, Wednesday May 8, 2019 at Rousseau Primary School saw teaching staff indulging in fresh-from-the-oven donuts treats. John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School was also among the 40 schools, in all five education zones across Jamaica, to receive treats. The freshly baked donuts were presented in brand new packaging, which they were the first set of individuals to receive, making it even more special.
“We are sending these boxes of donuts as a small gift for the unwavering servitude and contribution of teachers to the talent pool of our children providing hope for a great Jamaican future,” noted Chong in her Teacher’s Day message.
“For it is from you (teachers) that our children’s first passions are born. It is from you (teachers) nurturing their creative skills that we have such unique set of talent here in Jamaica. At Honey Bun, we like to call it Jamaica’s greatest competitive advantage for it is available nowhere else in the world.” In her message Chong surprised the teachers with the breadth of the gift.
“At Honey Bun, we do not wish to forget where seeds of talents are planted and we want to congratulate, recognise and encourage you each day. We will continue to send you donuts each week until the end of the school year to remind you each time you receive them of how much you are appreciated.”
Honey Bun has already heeded the call of Principal Speid, and has set its sights on extending the treat to the teaching staff in the over 1,200 schools across the island according to Sales Manager Antoinette Morgan-Burt.
“It’s an ambitious activation,” noted Morgan-Burt, “but if you know Honey Bun, we are led by a bold leader with bold ideas and we are up to the challenge. We truly want to show our appreciation for our educators at every school across the island.”
launches ‘Donuts for Nurses’
International Nurses Day, which was celebrated on Tuesday, was made much sweeter for Jamaican nurses at hospitals and select health centres across the island, thanks to Honey Bun Limited and its ‘Donuts for Nurses’ initiative.
Donuts for Nurses will see Honey Bun delivering donuts to nurses currently battling COVID-19, for the next four weeks. According to the company, the sweet treats are tokens of appreciation for the valuable work done by the island’s nurses.
Honey Bun’s Chief Executive Officer Michelle Chong said it was important for the company to recognise nurses.
“We want to thank our nurses for their unwavering service. At Honey Bun, we do not wish to forget the hands our children were first placed in at birth, and the hands to which we will return in our final days. We want to congratulate, recognise and encourage you each day. But, mostly, we want to thank you,” said Chong.
The first delivery went to the Nurses Association of Jamaica and was accepted by its president, Carmen Johnson, on behalf of her team of nurses.
“Thank you so much, Honey Bun,” said Johnson, as she accepted the donuts with a wide smile covered by a mask.
CEO of Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) Kathleen Cooper said that the Donuts for Nurses initiative was a real blessing, as it will alleviate the need to provide snacks for the hard-working nurses multiple times per day.
Vision Statement: Making life delicious for everyone everywhere!
Mission Statement: We are bound to LEAD innovation in the baking industry, ACHIEVE prosperity for our stakeholders, and SERVE humanity for a greater good.
- Honour God
- Upload Integrity
- Respect Everyone
- Be Accountable
- Lead Always
- Live Our Values
- Open Communication
- Value Time
- Continuous Improvement
- Conserve Resources & Reduce Cost
- Always Improve Quality
- Protect the Environment