Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: May 2010

April 22, 2010
By Diane ChIasson

Ready to break the ice? From barbecue-friendly breads to cool beverages and inviting patios, here are seven tips for maximizing your summertime sales.

Ready to break the ice? From barbecue-friendly breads to cool beverages and inviting patios, here are seven tips for maximizing your summertime sales.

After another long, cold winter, people are coming out of hibernation, setting up their backyards and patios, and getting ready for summer entertaining. For bakeries, spring and summer are fabulous opportunities to ramp up business. Take advantage of upcoming special occasions and holidays to give your customers that extra something special.

1. Graduation cakes
The end of the school year is a big time for celebration with graduation parties for elementary school, high school and college kids. Use your database via direct marketing or e-mail marketing to let your customers know about your graduation cake specials. Design cakes in the shape of diplomas, textbooks, grad caps or any other interesting ideas you might have. Create custom graduation cookies for customers to give as gifts. Take good photos of your creations and get your customers to book now!


2. Barbecue-friendly breads
Summer means backyard entertaining, and one of the more popular items that seems to be appearing in every cooking magazine is the grilled pizza. Market your pizza dough for grilling, and hand out unique and interesting grilled pizza recipes with your dough. If you have the space for it, set up an entire barbecue grilling section in your bakery, including an actual barbecue, and merchandise relevant items to go with your pizza dough, such as tomato sauce and different types of cheese. You can also promote other baked goods that are ideal for grilling, such as pita bread and naan bread, as well as classics such as hamburger and hot dog buns.

3. Serve cool beverages and sell ice cream
Draw customers in on a hot summer day by serving freshly made ice teas and lemonade to accompany a slice of fruit tart or a cool mousse. Also consider selling ice cream in a homemade waffle cone. Cross-merchandise your pies and other desserts with pints of ice cream or fresh cream.

4. Set up a patio in front of your store
If you have the space for it, set up a few patio tables outside your storefront so customers can enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry in the morning, or a cold beverage and a slice of cake in the afternoon. By making your storefront patio cozy and inviting, you will attract interest from people walking by who may not have noticed you in the past.

5. Get local
Add vibrant colours and life to your merchandising displays by working with local farmers to sell fresh produce in your bakery. Imagine pairing your freshly baked sandwich breads with red, juicy tomatoes and green, leafy lettuces, or pairing angel food cakes and meringues with fresh berries. You can also work with local cheese artisans or butchers to sell nitrate-free hot dogs and ready-made burgers. Create your own delicious pairings with your products, and give out free samples for customers to try.

6. Create whole picnic baskets

Many families love to spend a day at the park, beach or poolside. Create different picnic baskets that would suit the needs of your customers and include menus that are kid-friendly, vegetarian or low in fat. Offer different price ranges. Keep in mind that picnic food should require minimal refrigeration, be easy to eat without utensils, and be properly packaged. Some ideas include a variety of sandwiches, pizza breads or different croissants baked with ham, cheese or spinach, freshly baked cookies, bars and squares, a tomato and bread salad, and flatbreads and crackers with dips. For creative retail ideas, you can sell environmentally friendly picnic baskets, coolers, blankets, tableware and cutlery.

7. Hold sidewalk bake sales
On the weekends, set up a few tables outside your store and hold a sidewalk sale for your baked goods. Entice new customers by offering passersby free samples of your products, or give away coupons to bring customers back. Consider hiring a musician or clown to entertain kids and draw attention to your bakery. 

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