Business and Operations
Concepts for Success: Get your bakery ready for spring
By Diane Chiasson
Spring cleaning means refreshing your menu and your bakery
By Diane Chiasson
Spring is in the air! The weather is warming up, the snow is melting and people are coming out from hibernation. A lot of bakers say that spring is an extremely busy period for them especially during Easter, and the graduation/wedding season.
With the season’s change comes the perfect time to freshen up your bakery. Task scheduling is vital to the successful management of your bakery operation, even more so as springtime gets underway. If you don’t get it all done by spring, keep going. It’s never too late to improve your bakery. Make sure you take advantage of these simple strategies to capitalize on these special seasonal opportunities.
1. Check your customer lists
People move constantly, change email providers all the times, and you’ll realize that your customer information list is outdated. Don’t waste time and money sending email marketing to customers that don’t exist. This is the appropriate time to give each customer a personal call to see if they are still where they live. Check their email address just to make sure that it’s still good. This is also a great time just to have a nice chat with your customers and welcome them back to your bakery. It’s also a great way to run a customer satisfaction survey and to see how you are doing and see where you may change a few things here and there. When was the last time you personally spoke with one of your customers?
2. Build a good relationship with your vendors, distributors and suppliers
When was the last time that you took some time to catch up with your business wholesalers, vendors, distributors and suppliers? Now’s the time to speak with each one of them to see how you could improve your relationships with them, as well as to evaluate their food safety and quality programs. You should work as hard on building a good supplier relationship as you do building a relationship with your customers. Don’t forget that you should also be loyal to your good suppliers. It’s the perfect time to check with them on higher quality products, time deliveries, pricing, extended terms, reliability, and their knowledge of industry trends. Your suppliers can make major contributions to new product development, and they will certainly help you tweak any new idea that you may have. Have an honest conversation with each one of them and state your quality concerns and time needs very clearly.
3. Get ready for Easter
Easter is probably the yummiest holiday after Christmas, and it also an event which brings new life to people. Getting your bakery products ready for Easter is an important part of the spring season and you should start earlier and often weeks in advance. Easter is a great time to get close to our customers and offer them something different and unique. Bakeries all over Canada will soon capitalize on this special event to make Easter one of the most lucrative holidays of the year! Some big box stores already have their Easter products in place way in advance. It’s the perfect time to have a look at what they are doing. You should visit them for inspiration for new products, flavours, formats, and packaging. Don’t’ be shy to use their ideas to influence your own Easter product development. Some seasonal products go a long way toward boosting sales.
It’s also the perfect time to revamp the look, feel and content of your website to reflect the spring season. Go through your website to make sure that everything is up to date. Check that there are no old promotions displayed, or menu items or prices that are incorrect. Easter is not only a highly anticipated and lucrative holiday but it is also a great chance to get creative with your social content be it a Facebook contest or an Instagram page.
Don’t forget to embrace the Easter spirit and allow your staff to do the same, whether it’s putting up decorations, or simply wearing a pair of bunny ears.
4. Graduation time – it’s never too early to gather proper information
During these slower time periods, it is the perfect time to rethink operations and roll out new initiatives to drive sales especially for graduation time. Gather information from your area schools such as high schools and colleges. You should get some colours from each institution, logos, as well as graduation dates. To help you get organized, make a spreadsheet with all the following information:
- School/college name
- Telephone number
- School/college contact name
- School/college colours
- Graduation date
- Written permission to use logo
You should make your bakery a one-stop shop by stocking plates, napkins and forks in the colours of your local schools/colleges. This can be offered as part of a graduation package. Busy parents will be delighted on cake pick-up day to find everything under one roof.
You may consider way ahead of time in displaying a graduation season banner in your front window.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com