Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: April 2011

March 28, 2011
By Diane Chiasson

The weather is warming up, the snow is melting and people are emerging from their winter hibernation.

The weather is warming up, the snow is melting and people are emerging from their winter hibernation. Just as spring brings new life to people, it’s time to rejuvenate your bakery. The following spring cleaning tips will help clear out the clutter accumulated through the long, cold winter and get your bakery in top form for the sunny days ahead.

Back and front of the house
Now is the perfect time to clean your operation from top to bottom. Clear out your freezers, and empty and sanitize the ice machine. Sharpen your tools, clean out all your baking equipment, change any pest traps and restock your first aid kit. Clean the ovens, as well as the pilot lights on gas kitchen equipment. Call someone to clean your hoods. Wash all the walls and ceilings.

Remove all the dry goods out of your pantry, and check to see if any of your products have expired.


Wipe down the dry storage area, and get rid of any pieces of junk or clutter that you have been “saving.” If you haven’t used it in the past year, you probably never will! A clean kitchen will feel like a new kitchen.

In the front of the house, wipe down all your menu boards, empty out all the crumbs and other debris collected on your shelves or in your baskets, and give your tables and chairs a good scrub down. Clean your windows, dust your display units, and ensure that all your promotional materials are up to date.

Patio season is just around the corner, so make sure that your patio is in good condition. This might mean touching up the paint on your fence, cleaning all your tables and chairs, or scraping up any pieces of gum or other dirt on the sidewalk. You also might want to consider sprucing up your outdoor area by planting some flowers.

Don’t forget to hose off all the salt and dirt collected on your outside signage, and make sure that your storefront windows are spotless.

Lighting and electrical
Walk through your entire operation, inside and out. Check for any light bulbs that have burned out. Get on a ladder and wipe down all your lighting fixtures. Consider taking this opportunity to switch to environmentally friendly bulbs, or look into how you can reduce energy costs in your operation by turning off appliances that you don’t use on a regular basis. Install an automated light switch in your washrooms so that the lights only go on when the washrooms are in use. Calibrate the temperatures in your refrigerated units and ovens.

Be sure to check your fire suppression system and all your fire extinguishers as well.

Don’t waste time and money by sending e-mail marketing or direct marketing to customers that don’t exist anymore. Delete all the contacts with e-mail addresses that are undeliverable, or mail that gets returned. Clean out your inbox. Make sure that you have replied to all your customers and filed their information. Add any new contacts that you have collected.

Just like a house, your website needs a thorough cleaning at least once a year. Go through your site and make sure that everything is up-to-date. Ensure that there are no old promotions or menu items displayed, and that all prices are correct.

While you’re at it, update your site’s content. This will also help with search engine optimization. After you have completed your website maintenance, track the results of your efforts. Check to see whether or not you have an increase in visitors. If not, you will need to consider stepping up your efforts.

Work with your team
You won’t be able to achieve all the goals of your spring cleaning campaign without the help of your staff. Cleaning out a bakery is hard work and a lot of labour is involved, so try to make it as fun as possible. Consider bringing in your whole team on a day when your bakery is closed to the public.

Crank up the tunes, buy a case of beer and order in some good food. This will also be a good time to do some team building, and allow the staff members to get to know one another on a more casual basis. Make sure you reward your staff for their efforts.

Include customers
Once you’ve completed your spring cleaning, encourage your customers to get started on their own. Offer a special spring cleaning party cake built around the idea that your customers can make it a fun time, invite their friends and family to lend a hand, and, at the end of the day, celebrate a job well done.

Clean for charity
Another way to encourage your customers to do their spring cleaning is to have them donate their old clothes, electronics and other items to charity. Collect the donations at your bakery, and offer a free cookie or a slice of cake to people who bring items in.

Following these eight steps for a clean bakery this spring will net you a freshly prepared start for a finally-coming summer!

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 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, or visit .

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