Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: Holiday prep

October 25, 2017
By Diane Chiasson

Here are five tips to help you get your bakery ready for the upcoming holiday rush.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With the holiday season quickly approaching, preparations are already underway for office year-end parties and family celebrations. For bakers, it’s their busiest time of year, and the holiday season brings different challenges and can be a very stressful time.

I know that you are already starting to receive extra orders and experiencing mass crowds, so it’s important to get your team prepared to manage the busy work schedule, which will help minimize stress. Here are five tips for preparing your bakery for the holiday season rush.

1.   Decorate your bakery
Before you start putting up your holiday decorations, have your staff go through your bakery and clean everything from top to bottom. Make sure your bakery sparkles and is squeaky clean. Dust all your fixtures, clean the window, and make sure all your walls, ceilings and floors are spotless. Brighten up your bakery and add pizzazz with fun, elegant and unique Christmas theme decorations that compliment your brand. Add sparkly garlands and other colourful festive decorations, as well as soft twinkle lights around your shop and windows. Incorporate wreaths, seasonal centerpieces, and add some holiday themed napkins, table covers, and play some seasonal music. Your customers expect a warm, comforting, attractive and inviting place where they can stay, browse and enjoy a nice cup of coffee with a sweet treat. Just remember that your customers are looking for an enjoyable experience when they come to your bakery, and therefore you should create a space that not only smells delicious, but also feels like home.

2.   Hire seasonal staff
All these extra orders are great for your business, but you may have your staff stretched to their max. You may consider bringing in a few temporary staff members to ensure your bakery is prepared for the holiday rush, and to provide customers with top-quality customer service. Students will be looking for ways to earn a little extra cash during the holiday, and you could post your ad on college and university job boards. Use social media, your storefront windows, and reach out to your current employees for some help with your search. Make sure to give yourself enough time to select and carefully train your new employees before the rush begins. Just remember that one of the keys to a successful shopping experience for your customers is fast and friendly service.


3.   Make sure your kitchen is ready
One of the worst things that can happen during the holiday rush is for some kitchen equipment to break down. Your bakery kitchen has a lot of moving parts and this is why it’s important to have a commercial kitchen equipment repair company on call all the time, and most particularly during the holidays. Double-check your ovens, fryers, coffee machines, convection ovens, kettles, dishwashers, disposals and more to make sure that everything is working properly. Check to see if your bakery has all the supplies needed such as mixing bowls, measuring cups, baking tins, sheet and bread pans, cooling racks, cutters, shakers, pastry brushes, palette knives, spatula, rolling pins, whisks, skewers, boxes, bags, ribbons, tissue paper, plates, cutlery and napkins to meet additional demand.

4.   Spice up your Christmas menu
Consider bringing in a unique and festive bakery menu as your regular customers will be expecting new seasonal offers. Customers love menu items that incorporate holiday flavours and ingredients such as eggnog, cinnamon stick, allspice berries, clementine zest, peppermint, gingerbread, cranberry, chestnut, gingersnap, and pumpkin spice. This is the time of the year when your customers will pay just a little bit more for those delicious seasonal offerings.

5.   Promote, promote and promote
Send e-mail holiday cards to your customers and remind them that your bakery is the best place for them to get their Christmas sweets and gifts. Send out press releases to local newspapers, magazines, schools and nearby industrial and manufacturing facilities. Make sure that you promote extensively with your local business. Visit all the surrounding office buildings and drop off marketing material, holiday and catering menus, and don’t forget to ask for the business. Ask your staff to put a menu inside each bag. You should also spread the word about your holiday menu through your website and via your social media channels.

Try incorporating these five holiday rush tips into your bakery for a sweet and successful season. / BJ

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, or visit

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