Bakers Journal

Concepts for success: April 2014

April 1, 2014
By Diane Chiasson

Are you thinking about opening a second store, or looking for ways to expand your business?

Are you thinking about opening a second store, or looking for ways to expand your business? Instead of going through the hassles of looking for real estate, dealing with major construction, and suffering the headaches of opening another branch, consider these seven other ways to expand your company without increasing your overhead.

1. Create a dining area
Adding a café or dining area to your bakery is a great way to increase sales, and build up a regular clientele. Your bakery can be not only a place for customers to buy their breads and pastries for home, but a place to stop for breakfast and lunch as well. Instil a customer loyalty program to keep them coming back.

2. Add a cocktail bar
If you already have a café or dining area in your bakery, consider adding a cocktail bar to give your customers a place to go to at night. Serve fun cocktails that pair well with light sandwiches, pastries and other delectable items from your bakery. Play interesting music, host theme nights, trivia nights, and invite local bands to play at your bakery. Offer board games and books to keep guests entertained.


3. Offer online service
Consider setting up an online mail-order site that will allow your customers to order their baked goods remotely for either pick up or delivery. Regular customers should be able to save their purchase orders so that they can have their weekly staples on file at all times. This is also a great way to add customers to your database for e-mail marketing campaigns. If your bakery makes a specialty product that is unique to your store only, consider offering this product worldwide.

4. Bake pet treats
Many people treat their pets like their children, so it’s likely that they will want to feed their pets healthy treats as well. Consider launching a line of treats for cats and dogs like dog biscuits or peanut butter treats made with whole wheat or barley. Be creative with the sizes and shapes of your pet treats, and use clever labelling and packaging to sell them. Keep a bowl of water and some sample treats outside your bakery to let customers know that you are a pet-friendly store.

5. Offer classes
Expand your bakery by building a demo kitchen with glass doors that can open and close. This way, the kitchen can serve as a production facility and a place for baking demonstrations on the weekend, or as a classroom for baking or cake decorating lessons. Hold scheduled baking demonstrations, and allow customers to try samples. The demonstrations and classes are great ways to draw new people to your bakery, and it is more than likely that your students will not walk away from your bakery empty-handed.

6. Rent your space for private parties
For additional income, consider renting out the room for private events, or put together a children’s birthday party package that includes all the food, loot bags, and of course, the birthday cake! To keep the kids entertained, have them make their own pizza and/or decorate a cupcake.

7. Work with local caterers and restaurants
Get in touch with local restaurants or catering companies to see if they would like to use you as an outdoor vendor to supply their breads, pastries and desserts. Many restaurants and caterers do not handle baking on-site, so this is a good way to get your products out to the public. Do cross-advertising and promotions at both places to double your exposure. If caterers are not interested in working with you directly, consider asking them to refer you to their clients, and offer them a small percentage in return.

Consider implementing any one of these seven ideas as a great way to grow your bakery without increasing your overhead.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. She provides innovative food and retail merchandising programs, interior design, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or at, or visit .


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