Get a jump on back-to-school

Diane Chiasson
August 30, 2012
Written by Diane Chiasson
Even when summer has just begun, it is time for your bakery operation to start planning for the back-to-school season. September is generally a very busy time, especially for families who have just returned home from holidays, or are busy shopping, stocking up on new clothes, school supplies and other things.

Take advantage of these busy times by helping families ease back into school life with healthy, convenient products, good deals and liaising with schools to help your community.

make a shopping list flyer
Back to school means parents must get back into the habit of packing lunches for their kids everyday. Create a clever marketing campaign with a flyer that features a menu and shopping list of all the items necessary from your bakery to fill a week’s worth of lunches including bread, cheese and deli (if you sell), and cookies and bars for snacks.

Upsell savoury pastries
Parents are always on the lookout for healthy and convenient items to pack in their children’s lunch bags. Create a marketing campaign around your bakery products such as pizza buns, ham and cheese croissants, spinach and cheese croissants, and other items that are suitable and easy to pack. Advertise the health benefits and convenience.

Treats for a week
Create a package that includes five different treats – all packaged and ready to go – that parents can easily and mindlessly slip into their kids’ lunch bags each morning. Name each treat with the day of the week – for example Monday Macaroons, Tuesday Twists, etc. Make one for savoury treats and one for sweet treats.

Sell a student lunch special
Some parents of older children and teenagers prefer to give their kids lunch money instead of packing them a lunch every day, so entice these cash-rich students to purchase their lunch from your bakery by offering a student lunch special that includes a sandwich, drink and treat for a reasonable price.

Use social media to attract students
Attract high school and college students by engaging in social media and mobile texting. Today’s youth are glued to their smartphones, so send out deals and text blasts/messages an hour before the lunch bell, offer check-ins for prizes, and use Twitter to notify your followers of specials of the day.

Drop off coupon booklets for schools
Schools always send home an information package to each and every family at the beginning of the school year. Many of these packages include coupons for various activities, lessons, clubs or restaurants. Ask if the school can include coupons for your bakery, and offer a donation in return.

Sponsor a sports team
The beginning of the school year is also the start of the season for many different sports teams. By sponsoring a team, your brand and logo is plastered all over the team’s jerseys. Your operation can also be guaranteed to supply products and celebratory cakes for team meetings, gatherings and parties.

Pair up with a retailer
Work together with a local retailer of kids’ clothes, office supplies, or electronics to create a back-to-school promotion that will help families save on food and on necessary items for back-to-school. For example, anyone spends over $30 in your bakery will receive a $10 coupon towards the retailer, or anyone who shops at the retailer receives a $5 coupon for your bakery.

Help the school raise funds
Schools are always looking to raise funds for new books, art supplies, computers and other items. Work with a principal or teacher to come up with a promotion whereby $3 of every cake ordered from your bakery will be donated towards the purchase of a needed item. This will encourage families of the school to shop from your bakery rather than your competitors, and give you an opportunity to win over some new customers.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 30 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 at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com

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