「 That’s the gist of it」
Katsuko-nee talks to Nei.
Ten minutes before the fourth class ends, Nei and Anya’s at the bakery already.
Anya seems to have tried out the “experience enrollee” during the second and third hours on Nei’s class.
But, the fourth hour was PE.
Anya didn’t participate.
Well, her performance is superior compared to average high school students.
She should avoid doing exercise with the other students.
So, Nei was showing her around the school on the fourth hour.
That means Nei also skipped PE.
Then they came to us as soon as possible.
Nei’s a seller of my bakery.
「 So, I’m thinking of methods on how to cut the costs of the bread by 50 yen 」
Katsuko-nee immediately talks to Nei, consulting her about the bakery.
「 We shouldn’t lose the current taste nor reduce the amount we produce. We need to find a way to cut down the price by 50 yen somehow 」
Even if it’s delicious, if we don’t match the competitor’s price or the student’s pockets, they won’t accept it.
We need to live with the reality in front of us.
「 Hmm. I wonder about that, Katsuko-oneechan? I think that you shouldn’t do that 」
「 I think that our delicious bread will be known in our school regardless of the price. If you cut down the price that easily, won’t that affect the image of our products? 」
「 No, but, Ya-chan 」
Nei stops me from stating my opinion.
「 Well, listen to me for a bit! I’m still in the middle of talking 」
「 You see, I also am in favor of having value products, but I don’t think that it’s a good idea to lower the price we’re selling now suddenly 」
「 But if we lower the costs as discussed earlier, the taste will be worse, and the amount will not change 」
Katsuko-nee presses strongly from what Nei said.
「 No, no, Katsuko-oneechan, I think you can do it. But, it’s meaningless to put effort into that 」
「 After all, if you suddenly make your product 50 yen cheaper, a lot of things will change. Some would complain without even checking out the taste or the size saying “it tastes worse than before,” or “it’s smaller than the ones before,” those people have a loud voice so it’ll taint the reputation」
Oh, that’s possible.
「 On the other hand, those who checked with their eyes and tongues will know that there’s no change in the taste or size, but, those people will ask “why was it 50 yen more expensive? They should’ve sold it at this price” they’ll become doubtful of our methods 」
For something cheap like bread, 50 yen change is enormous.
For example, a 150 yen bread becoming 100 yen. Those who are buying will make a lot of guesses.
「 No matter how much Katsuko-nee does, it all leads to bad results 」
「 Well, that’s about right 」
「 But, if this goes on 」
I don’t think that the “It’s tasty but expensive” image should stay.
「 So, we’ll be selling the current products as is. Also, we’ll be making a new lineup of 50 yen cheaper bread and sell them together! Katsuko-oneechan, it’s better to think of producing a 50 yen cheaper food than thinking about how to lower the costs of the current products, right? 」
「 I see 」
「 But, we can’t make a lot if we produce the current series and the newly 50 yen cheaper products 」
Katsuko-nee and I pick out the amount we produce each day.
「 You can just adjust it according to the situation 」
「 It’s not like you’re leaving the current line of products alone. You let the products that sell well be and then instead of stopping the production, you can just replace it with the 50 yen cheaper bread bit by bit, how about it?
We can stop the production of the bread that isn’t very popular and switch them with a new product.
And, Katsuko-nee can teach me how to make new bread one after another.
Instead of making the 50 yen discount in one go, we can just change the type of bread we sell little by little.
We can just take our time to make affordable products.
「 No, I won’t do that. Let’s increase the type of bread we’re selling. Adding to our current products, we’ll be adding at least five new types of bread which are 50 yen cheaper 」
Increasing the variety?
「 Of course, we won’t increase the total production, let’s see, how about we make twice as many products than before? 」
Katsuko-nee makes a decision.
「 Either way, you’re accustomed to the job, so I think it’s about time we increase the production 」
「 But, Katsuko-nee, we’re managing to sell them all because we keep the production small 」
「 Right, if we double it, there will be some left unsold 」
Saying that. Katsuko-nee smiles at me.
「 But, if you can’t experience that, you won’t become a professional baker, right? If you want to survive, you’ll need to be able to make a lot more than what you do now 」
My current work is too slow, and the products I make are also few.
「 Bread is a cheap item, so you have to make a lot and sell a lot 」
It’s been four months since I started making bread.
It’s been less than a month since I started selling at the cafeteria.
It’s about time for me to take the next step.
I can’t move forward this slow.
「 If you think of the number of students in this school, even if we increase the production by three it should be sold out. It depends on our tenacity 」
Katsuko-nee seems to be making analysis in advance.
「 You see, Katsuko-oneechan’s gonna stay here by noon, right? 」
「 Yes. I’m going to be a seller too. I want to see the reaction of the clients with my own eyes. I want to know what kind of bread they want 」
「 In that case, how about we put out another product in the middle of lunch? 」
「 You know? Those who finished eating their lunch box wants to buy something sweet like a sweet bun! Or those coming after club activities wishing to eat a snack 」
「 So, if we bring out donuts and sweet buns as freshly baked items at that time, I think they’d all bite the bait 」
In that case.
After we sell out everything during the lunch break,
I only have to bake confectionaries, that’s not impossible.
「 If we suddenly double the amount of bread we’re selling, the buyers will feel confused, it’s also impossible to display all of the products, right? That’s why, we’ll sell the first batch during lunch, and when it sells, we can start producing the second line of bread 」
Nei’s plan is realistic.
「 If we’re selling out the second batch of sweet food later, we can do it with the packaging labels, writing notifications there 」
「 If we do that, the congestion in the cafeteria will ease up. Those who want bread as snacks can take it easy 」
Right now, lunchtime is the most crowded time in the area.
And since the notable products are bought quickly, there’s little left in the middle of lunch break.
But, if we start baking the second line of bread.
Nei’s right, new customers will come to buy.
「 That’s amazing, Ya-chan 」
「 Huh, what? 」
「 Well, Ya-chan is aware of a lot of things 」
「 That’s because it’s already my third year in this school. Although I’m still a sophomore. Being here for three years made me discover a lot 」
「 Ah, also. Yo-chan, it’s nice to listen to the opinion from the guys in your class but, don’t do anything like giving away free food or discounts on the prices, okay? 」
「 You can only use an opinion from those who buy it from a regular price 」
「 Right. If they can buy your bread cheaper when they give their opinion, they won’t be honest 」
「 There’s a lot with loud voices with their opinions, often twisted and one-sided. Also, don’t use our monitor system picking up the view of one guy, thinking “I can trust this person’s opinion” and listen only to that person 」
「 But, I feel sorry only listening to their opinions 」
「 You can return the favor in another way at another opportunity. Like calling them to your house and hosting party 」
Oh, they’re close classmates to the end.
I can pay for the gratitude with another method in private.
「 Try talking that out with Megu-chan! Megu-chan has more friends who talk their opinions than Yo-chan 」
I can ask the opinion of Takana and the boys, but,
The girls are Megu’s friends.
「 Oh, Nei-chan, you’ll ask your friends for their impression too, right? 」
「 Huh? I have no friends in class though 」
「 Then make friends. We can’t listen only to the first years in Megu-chan and his class 」
「 Ugh, Megu-chan can hear the opinion of the seniors in the track-and-field! 」
「 But still, it’s only within the athletic club. Nei-chan, gather the opinion from the cultural clubs and those not participating in any clubs 」
「 That’s. Katsuko-oneechan 」
「 Nei-chan, you can’t just stay as an observer among your generation. You should try to be more intimate with them 」
「 But~ 」
「 Nei-chan, think that you’re doing it for him, not for yourself 」
Katsuko-nee said. Nei looks at me.
「 Okay, I get it. I’ll do the best I can 」
「 I’ll try to be friendly with the girls in the bread-club 」
Katsuko-nee’s a teacher in the bread-club, but,
I see. She still has some insecurity towards high school girls.
She looks cheerful but, she’s creating a barrier with the girls in the club.
「 I’d like to ask the opinion from the various people 」
Everyone’s getting rid of their walls through bread.
Eventually, the fourth hour ends.
「 Okay, let’s go 」
I start preparing for the store opening.
Well, the bakery is connected to the corner of the cafeteria, so I only need to arrange the bread on display.
I open the door on the cafeteria side.
A large table for selling is fixed up there.
「 Okay 」
I carry the pad of products, pass through the door and carry it to the desk.
Katsuko nee and Nei also hold their pads.
「 I’ll help out too 」
Anya said, she helped out carrying the pads.
She’s been watching us looking happy while we were talking about bread.
Then, Yukino. Well, she’s close to the wall, fiddling with her phone.
She doesn’t feel like helping at all.
「 Yo-chan. Nikiniki wants to try being a seller too! 」
Katsuko-nee’s here, she’s not calling her Anya.
「 Do you mind, Yoshida? 」
Anya is Miss Cordelia’s subordinate, she hasn’t lived an ordinary life.
She’s still 17, and yet she’s not going to school.
「 Hearing it from Nei, I want to experience it too! 」
She tells me happily.
「 I’ll go back home once this is over 」
Oh, Anya did say that she’ll leave by afternoon.
She doesn’t want to face Minaho-neesan.
Besides, Misuzu and Michi plan on coming today so she might run across with Rei-chan.
「 Sure, help us 」
I tell Anya.
「 Yes. Helping 」
Anya smiles happily.
「 Okay, those who will sell have to put on this apron 」
Nei smiled and hands Katsuko-nee and Anya aprons.
◇ ◇ ◇
If it’s weekdays, the students flood the cafeteria after the fourth hour, but
It’s Saturday today, so there’s homeroom after classes.
There’s quite a lot of leeway.
「 Yoshi-kun, I’m back! 」
「 Darling! 」
Megu and Edie are both running.
The two of them seem to have skipped the homeroom.
Well, the new homeroom teacher knows that Megu’s helping out at the bakery, so there’s no problem.
If there’s something we really need to know, they’ll contact us.
There’s also an extension phone in this bakery that connects to the faculty room so we can talk there.
In case handouts are distributed, a classmate in the same club as Megu hands it over during club activities.
「 Why is Yukino here?! 」
Upon entering the bakery, Megu sees Yukino, and she shouts loudly.
「 I’m not here because I like it 」
Yukino says while still looking at the phone.
「 What’s going on, Yoshi-kun!? 」
Megu turns to me.
「 Oh, I called her here 」
Katsuko-nee tells Megu.
「 Katsuko-oneesan?! 」
「 Yes, I want her to stay here for a while. There’s a reason to be troubled if she’s wandering around the school 」
「 Endou seems to be conspiring something 」
I whisper to Megu’s ears.
「 Endou-kun? 」
「 Yeah, that guy is still a student in our school, and for some reason, he’s talking about something strange while having high tension 」
「 Endou-kun always talks strange things, and he’s always in high tension 」
Megu, that’s quite harsh from you.
「 But, if he shows up in school, it would be dangerous 」
Katsuko-nee smiles at Megu.
「 That’s true, but 」
Megu looks at Yukino and agreed.
Endou said that he wants to beat me up though.
Right, with his personality, he could think of harming his former girlfriend.
He even attacked Yukino before.
「 Oh, what’s this!? 」
I hear cheers from the cafeteria.
「 Hey hey hey! There’s a beauty right here! 」
Katsuko-nee, Nei, and Anya wearing the same apron are lined up, smiling.
Megu joins them in a hurry.
Edie isn’t a seller, but she keeps her arms in front of the table, so there are no shoplifters or fake money buyers.
「 This is delicious, buy it! 」
Katsuko-nee calls out to the boys.
「 Huh, uhm, are you from the cafeteria, Onee-san? 」
The boys are making a fuss over the appearance of an unfamiliar beauty.
「 I’m the teacher in “bread-making course”! Nice to meet you all! 」
Katsuko-nee said in a loud voice.
「 Huh, what’s your name? 」
A schoolboy asks.
「 Takanashi Katsuko 」
「 Oooooh!! 」
The students in the cafeteria gather around us.
「 The bread sold in this bakery are all under this lady’s guidance! I mean, she’s not just guiding but also helping out in production. Yo-chan can’t make all of this alone for now 」
Nei explains to everyone.
「 What?! I see! 」
「 I thought that it was just that first-year guy making them alone, so I never bought from here 」
「 Yeah, the bread he makes doesn’t look delicious, right? 」
「 But I see now, it’s this lady making them 」
「 Yeah, I see why this bread has a good reputation from those who ate it 」
The bread made here is from a first year, me, who are still studying under the “bread-making course.”
That alone makes students shy away.
But when they discover that a beautiful adult like Katsuko-nee is helping in production, the buyers will increase.
「 I-I’ll try this out 」
「 Me too! 」
It’s the boys who come first to the selling counter.
「 Come here girls! Ah, yes, I’m also the teacher in the bread club. Those who want to make delicious bread, come and visit us. You can also enter trial club membership 」
Katsuko-nee talks to the girls in front with a bright smile.
「 It’s fun to eat the bread you baked yourself 」
「 Is it okay to just do a trial? 」
「 Of course, We’ll be baking bread after school on Tuesday and Thursdays next week. Come over if you’d like 」
「 What to do? 」
「 Let’s try it out? 」
「 I’ll be waiting! 」
Katsuko-nee’s preparing to be in contact with students proactively.
「 Wow, this bread is really delicious! 」
「 Right? I always recommended this to you, geez 」
「 Well, back then, somehow, it looked like it’s just a student selling this 」
Said the school girls.
「 Somehow, it feels like bloom! Gorgeous! Something like that 」
Yeah, there’s a gathering of beauties right here.
「 N-Nikita-san, can I take a photo of us? 」
「 Buy some bread 」
「 No, but, I’m a fan of Nikita-san 」
「 Buy some bread 」
「 Ah, he’s also Nikita-san’s Fan 」
「 So buy some bread 」
「 Say, uhm, are you only in our school for a trial? 」
「 Hey, listen to what I’m saying! 」
Nikita tells off the student.
「 People don’t live off with just bread. But, if you don’t have bread then buy some! 」
「 Yes, I’ll buy 」
「 M-Me too 」
「 Nikita-san, please sell some to me too! 」
「 N-Nikita-san. Niki, nikihoho!!! 」
I don’t get what the last guy was screaming.
「 N-Natou-san, I’m a fan of Natou-san! 」
「 That’s right. That caucasian is no match to Natou-san’s beauty! 」
「 Japanese black haired girls are the best! 」
Nei’s fan is coming to her cheerfully as usual.
The atmosphere of the sellers is bright.
「 Is that so? I get along with Nikiniki though 」
「 Yes, Nei and I are best friends! 」
The two smile at each other.
「 Ooooh, that’s a nice shot!! 」
Then, Megu in the middle.
「 Okay, that’s 420 yen in total. 」
「 That’s 630 yen 」
「 Here’s your change, 230 yen, Thank you 」
She’s working in the cash register without noise.
Is this role sharing?
「 Hey! You’re cutting in line! Go back there! 」
「 She got this bag first, give it up 」
Edie’s also working as the guard on the sales area.
「 Thank you very much 」
This is going faster than usual.
It’s been 15 minutes since we opened the store and yet.
We’re sold out.
「 Wait, sold out? 」
「 Sorry! We’ll be increasing the production by next week! 」
Nei said with a smile 」
「 This lady, Katsuko-san will be standing for sales from now on too! 」
「 Oooh! 」
Katsuko-nee waves her hand to the students.
「 I’m only here for today 」
Anya says feeling a bit regretful.
「 In that case, do you mind us taking a picture? 」
I don’t know if that guy is from the photo or news club, but,
At least, a student is bringing a DSLR camera.
Seems like the student has gone back to the clubroom in a hurry.
「 If that’s the case, let’s have a photo with everyone 」
「 Let’s take a photo with everyone in commemoration of today! 」
The beauties line up on a table where nothing else is on sale.
「 Yo-chan, come here 」
「 No thanks 」
「 Uhm, if possible, just you girls 」
The camera guy said.
「 Is that so? Then do that 」
Katsuko-nee and Megu. Nei in between Edie and Anya.
They all smile and face the camera.
「 Give us a copy once you printed it. Oh, right, print a big one! I want it posted here! 」
「 I want everyone to see that Nikiniki’s a member of our bakery too! 」
「 Nei 」
Anya’s deeply moved.