Find Your Niche
There are plenty of bakeries out there offering delicious baked goods of all sorts. Most bakeries have a variety of sweets, artisan breads, cakes and other guilty pleasures on their menu. The most successful bakeries, though, have come up with a twist on the classics or have otherwise found a way to offer something no one else does.
It might be tempting to offer a wide variety of items, but being very good at one thing will make your place more memorable than just another bakery that sells half-decent muffins.
One way to give yourself an edge is to research your region and customer demographics to find out where the opportunity for introducing specialty foods or ingredients lies. Another way is to draw on your own experience and life story.
Being known for the special lime pie recipe that’s been running through your family for four generations, for example, adds a great personal touch.
Share your specialties with your customers to let them know there’s a story behind every item. A description of your products will also help customers make a better purchasing decision based on it.
Trends in the foodservice industry are usually powerful and short lived. Both the season and customers’ preferences shift quickly and you need to know how to adapt to them.
Set yourself up with a routine to help you stay on top of the latest fads. Make a habit of going online to check out food and bakery blogs and forums and read what people are talking about.
If you pick up on something that seems to be growing in popularity but hasn’t made it to your area yet take the opportunity to be the first to offer this exciting new item.
Create Strategic Partnerships with Distributors
Your ability to manage a healthy relationship with vendors and suppliers is an important part of growing your bakery business. Yours is a fast paced industry that requires you to have a reliable and constant flow of raw materials.
You’ll be placing orders frequently and you’ll need to rely on a delivery service to save you precious time and make your ordering process as easy and automated as possible.
Research food suppliers in your area and foster a trust-based relationship with them. Tell them about your business and your menu items, and listen to their advice on quantities and locally-sourced products. This can save you a lot of time, money and hassle.
Let Your Personality Show
Decorate your bakery so that it reflects the personality of the business. The choices you make with your interior design affect the way your customers perceive the bakery.
A European teahouse with velvet and glass interior sends out a very different message than the barn wood, rustic-style bakery, for example.
Create a website, signage and marketing collaterals that tell the story of your brand and your company values.
A logo designed by a professional designer can mean the difference between a memorable brand and one that no one takes special notice of. The logo and related elements of your design will appear on your website, business cards, stationery, bills, leaflets, posters, and other advertising materials. Besides professional photos of your most attractive creations, this will serve as the face of your business, so it’s important to send out the right message.
Start generating awareness about your bakery. Create social media profiles where you can tell the story of your business, upload pictures and updates.
These channels also serve as a place for people to talk about your bakery, share their experiences and engage with you personally.
Another tactic is to maintain a personal and commercial presence in your community. Anything from getting your business advertised in local newspapers and media or involving your staff and business in local events would add up to your business’ social capital and contribute towards making your bakery a community brand.
Create an Online Ordering App for Customers
More and more customers are shifting to app payment options. They prefer quick and easy payment methods, especially if they’re in a hurry or are looking to make a quick or impulse purchase, as is often the case when someone just happened to pass by your bakery and couldn’t resist the aroma of fresh bread.
Besides offering app payment, consider creating your own custom app. This is an innovative and fun way to gain repeat customers by offering them coupon codes or a loyalty program.
It will also make purchasing your products much faster, which means you’ll be able to serve more clients. Finally, it’s a great way to advertise your brand and offer additional value in the form of special offers, Christmas specials or new products.