Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: Don’t stop marketing, Part 2

June 16, 2020
By Diane Chiasson

Protect your bakery during this economic downturn

Discuss extended financing or better terms with your distributors during this time. PHOTO CREDIT: xtock/adobe stock

Welcome to part 2 of marketing your bakery during this economic downturn. Here are seven additional ways to market your bakery during a slump:

4. Amend product offerings
With this current economic situation, you may be faced with budget cuts and tough decisions. Purchasing behavior changes dramatically during economic downturns. It’s the right time to get creative with your menu, pricing strategies, and product mix. People will not stop buying bread, junk food, cupcakes, and other small bakery treats: It’s a known fact that at a time of economic downturn, people tend to visit candy stores more often as they crave sweetness. It has been well documented that sales of candies and chocolates rise when times are tight. That sugar rush calms nerves. These sweet treats are something that you can add to your product mix.

5. Support your distributors
This is not the right time to tie up your money in excess inventories. Overpriced supplies can also ruin your budget quickly. As a bakery owner, you need a business partner who will listen to your concerns, who will respond quickly to your bakery’s needs, and who will be as invested in your bakery’s success as you are. A good distributor-bakery relationship is like a marriage. Honest communication is vital. If your distributors treat you poorly, it’s time for a change. Look for vendors in your area that supply bakery stores with items you need. Discuss what really matters to your bakery with your suppliers and distributors. Is it prices, product offerings, delivery timelines, or service? You should rank those four criteria by how important they are to your bakery, and use them to evaluate your distributors. Be very careful with switching to lower-priced distributors. It can ruin your relationships with your distributors and could affect your brand image. Discuss extended financing or better terms as well as return and refund policies. You should try to get a small discount for paying early such as 1-2 per cent off for paying within 10 days. Consider using credit cards to extend your payables. Remember, the best way to maintain good relationships with suppliers and distributors is pay on time.

6. Keep employees informed
Great communication will help your team work together seamlessly during these difficult times. As you know, in a bakery, teamwork is vital to keep service running smoothly. You should definitely have quick, regular chats with your employees to see how they are doing. Try to schedule meetings with different employees ten minutes before or after their shift just to answer the questions they may have, and to share ideas with you. You will be surprised by what you may learn and how much you will be able to make your employees feel comfortable in just a 10-minute conversation. Studies have shown that feeling valued and appreciated makes employees feel more motivated at work. Make it a habit to compliment your staff for a job well done. Saying thank you also goes a long way; it’s a great way to motivate your employees because it shows the work they are doing matters.

7. Keep customers tempted
How is the aroma in and around your bakery? Since the weather is a lot warmer, consider keeping your doors wide open. It will not cost you anything to open your doors. You need to tempt your hungry customers and passersby with your mouth-watering baked goods.

When you are marketing to your customers, you should always be tempting them with new and healthy options. It is perhaps the best time to give a new twist to some of your signature pastries. You may consider developing a whole line of gluten-free foods, dairy-free, sugar reduced, GMO free or even vegetarian, vegan, organic, sustainable, or anything else! You could also tempt your customers with a new flavour or signature cake that compliments your current theme. What about adding decoration, bright neon colours, glitters, and chocolate drips? How about smaller cake portions, single-serve pastries, or comfort food to-go? You should discuss with your staff what makes your bakery stand out from the one around the corner. Is it your creativity in decorating your cakes, or is the excellent customer service that you provide at your bake shop? When marketing your business, emphasize the qualities and products that make your place a great choice.

8. include online ordering
Websites are a necessity for any small business to succeed. Being visible and memorable to your customers and potential customers is crucial during this economic downturn. A web presence is a very cost-effective way of letting customers know about your bakery. This allows your business to inexpensively post up-to-date products and service listings. Even if you have a business that doesn’t normally promote online, you could still have a simple website that contains basic information about your bakery like contact information and directions. You can buy your website domain cheaply and if you can’t build it or maintain it yourself, outsource. It is crucial to have good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to improve user experience and make your website easy to use. You could post free newsletters about your venue and create articles about your company. You should also have an easy-to-use ordering system on your website, so patrons can order their baked goods online. Include a ‘call to action’ button in the sidebar of your website that says ORDER A CAKE NOW.

9. Revisit and optimize your online presence and use social media effectively
Before you post online, take some time to understand social media marketing. On channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, people don’t like constant advertising. People like to browse photos, videos, and catch up with family members and friends. It’s best that you find a mix of interesting and entertaining content, education, promotion, and a little conversation.
Just be honest and communicate well with your customers. There are some promotional ideas which work well on social media to raise people’s awareness of your bakery’s brand. To give your business a personal touch, try to give readers a behind-the-scenes look into your creative process and introduce your bakery team to your followers. Hold fun contests, offer some freebies, and collaborate with some influencers.

10. Ask for reviews from your customers
Today’s customers understand the power of reviews, so you should always seek them out from satisfied clients! Rave reviews bring credibility to your business. You should ask for feedback right after a customer purchases a product or service from you. Comments will range in quality, and every bakery will eventually get some negative ones. It’s very important to respond to any and all reviews that you come across. If someone says they loved your bakery products, respond with a “thank you” note. In case of negative reviews, try to remedy the issue right away and turn the experience around for the customer.
Perhaps the best quote about advertising in a recession came from Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. When asked, “What do you think about a recession?” he responded, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.”

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 35 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing food service and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or , or visit

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