Ataberk Guler  /


Perhaps it wasn’t the ideal time to launch its new organic burger buns in the midst of a global pandemic, but Dave’s Killer Bread, a Milwaukie, Oregon-based organic, whole-grain bread company, turned compromised plans into a success story. Founded by Dave Dahl and now owned by Flower Foods, the company had a bicoastal tour planned around National Grilling Day, July 22, to introduce its new buns, but the tour was inevitably cancelled due to pandemic-related health and safety concerns. But a cancelled tour did not mean the product launch was also cancelled, and the company instead decided to pivot its focus to give fans a way to sample the product at home.

When the tour was cancelled, Dave’s Killer Bread encouraged fans to sign up for its digital newsletter, “Toaster Tour,” which featured an offer to also enter to receive a free hamburger bun kit in the mail, complete with one of two new products—its Whole Grains and Seeds buns or its Burger Buns Done Right—coupons from partner brands to purchase complementary products (like cheese, meat and condiments) and a social media call-to-action to share “killer” burger recipes using the hash tag #DKBgrillout. In just 43 minutes, the first 10,000 people had signed up to receive the kit—the company announced that the first 10,000 orders were free—and an additional 21,000 signed up subsequently after receiving a coupon to purchase the kits at a discounted rate. The kits were shipped between July 13 and July 17, just in time for fans to participate in a virtual cookout hosted by the company on July 22, and the giveaway was announced across its social media platforms.

Dave’s Killer Bread’s story of turning a negative situation into a positive outcome is also very closely aligned with the brand’s origins. Dahl founded the company after being released from a 15-year prison sentence, after which he started working at his family’s bread bakery. Despite not having touched raw dough for years, Dahl spent upwards of 80 hours per week in the bakery and quickly learned how to bake different varieties of fresh bread at a time when the company was rapidly growing. The family business rebranded and launched the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation to support companies that employ workers with criminal records.


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.