Concepts for Success: Jan/Feb 2011

Diane Chiasson
December 31, 2010
Written by Diane Chiasson
Make this Valentine’s Day a sweet success for your business as well as for your customers

Chocolates, candies, cookies and cakes are all popular items to give for Valentine’s Day. As a baker, you need to make the most of this holiday by offering a variety of sweet treats for sweethearts. Here are seven creative ways you can take advantage of this busy day to boost business.

SEND A BOUQUET OF CUPCAKES
Instead of flowers, create a bouquet of miniature cupcakes that customers can send to their Valentines. Include a small card and, if possible, offer delivery. Use your imagination to create interesting, delicious and unique products that will entice customers to buy gifts from your bakery, as opposed to the boring old standbys of flowers and a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

valentinescookies  
From now until Feb.14, your website’s home page should feature all of your special Valentine’s Day products and promotions, including great photos and mouthwatering descriptions.

 
MAKE IT CHARITABLE
Create heart-shaped cookies or cupcakes. Donate a portion from the sale of each heart-shaped item to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, or another charity of your choice. Make your customers feel good about their purchases by making it a charitable act.

UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE

From now until Valentine’s Day, your website’s home page should feature all of your special Valentine’s Day products and promotions, including great photos and yummy descriptions of all your products. Make sure that your customers
have enough time to send in their customized cake orders. Offer online coupons for a box of free chocolates with the purchase of any Valentine’s Day cake or cookies. Bolster your website so that when people search for “bakeries, Valentine’s Day”, your name will come up!

HOLD COOKIE DECORATING SESSIONS
Organize a few afternoons and weekends to have cookie decorating sessions, and invite kids to come in and participate. Bake a bunch of heart-shaped cookies, and let kids decorate their own with an assortment of candies and icing, at a charge of $5 per cookie. While parents are waiting for their kids to make their masterpieces, they will more than likely purchase some other items in your bakery!

DESSERT AND A MOVIE
Many people dislike dealing with crowded restaurants and heading out in the cold weather. This is especially true on a Monday night, which is when Valentine’s Day falls this year. A lot of couples would rather stay in and snuggle up on the couch, share a dessert and watch a movie. Hold a special promotion for a choice of dessert paired with a classic romantic movie. Allow customers to choose from a list of titles when ordering their dessert.

USE PROPER SIGNAGE AND POS MATERIALS
As with any other promotion you run, you must tell your customers about it! A month before the big day, make sure you start displaying the appropriate POS materials and signage in your operation. Hang posters on your walls and windows, leave brochures and flyers on your countertops and send direct mail.

PROMOTE TO STUDENTS
Students are always on a budget, so they are your perfect target audience for celebrating Valentine’s Day with a box of cookies or a cupcake. Offer a student special for your heart-shaped cookies or cupcakes, or liaise with your local high school, college or university so that students can send cookie-grams to each other. Each cookie-gram could feature a heart-shaped cookie, delivered with a greeting or other prepared message.

With a little creativity you can help share the love this Valentine’s Day and show your bottom line a little lovin’ too! / BJ

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.chiasson consultants.com

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