Last week, Our Man Sietsema observed that Magnolia Bakery patrons had been trashing the neighborhood with soiled cupcake packaging, scattering Magnolia detritus at the park across the street and stuffing already overflowing garbage cans with discarded boxes, tissues, and wrappers emblazoned with the bakery’s logo. “Magnolia cupcakes are the culinary equivalent of meth, and eaters quickly become addicted,” Sietsema wrote. “Which is all fine, but…why can’t Magnolia Bakery be made responsible for policing the cupcake eating hordes, and cleaning up the mess they leave?”
Well, it turns out they are. A call to the Bleecker Street store was directed to Magnolia’s corporate office, which was in turn directed to the company’s president, Bobbie Lloyd. “We saw [the post] and we were extremely disappointed,” she says. “All it takes is one or two nights when it gets crazy busy or we’re short-staffed. We go to the park to change trash several times during the day and night, and send our own porters there in middle of the night to collect garbage. Obviously, we missed a time.”
The bakery, Lloyd says, has worked with the Parks Department and Council Member Christine Quinn to address the issue of trash in the park. “We’ve made a number of requests to have more bins,” she says. Part of the problem is that “people keep stealing” the bins and lids. “I’m not sure how many bins are there anymore,” Lloyd admits.
The bakery also held a staff meeting to deal with the problem, and subsequently installed a kitchen timer that sounds every hour to remind staff to go and pick up the trash, which Lloyd says is part of its “daily responsibility checklist.” Magnolia is also appealing to its customers for help, asking them not to take boxes if they’re planning to eat their cupcakes right away. This tends to be more of a problem with tourists, who, Lloyd says, may not quite grasp that “this is a neighborhood where people live, not Disneyland.”
That said, locals aren’t immune to dirty-bird behavior. While the bakery’s daytime clientele tends to be more low-key and family-oriented, Lloyd says, the nighttime revelers don’t make the most conscientious consumers. “It’s people who’ve gone out to dinner and might have had a few drinks,” Lloyd says. “They’re in a different frame of mind.”
In non-trash-related Magnolia news, the bakery’s Grand Central concourse location is set to open “sometime in the fall,” says Lloyd. “We’re just waiting on approvals from transit.” The location will be “the last expansion in New York, hopefully. We bake on premise in every store, so they’re large undertakings.”