Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: How to Develop a Business Plan

March 30, 2017
By Diane Chiasson

Set yourself and your bakery up for success by following these five simple steps

Photo: Fotolia

If you decide to start a bakery where you will be able to showcase your talents, developing a business plan for your new operation is vital.

As you know, the competition among bakery shops is fierce, and part of a business plan is to be able to also create an effective and a solid marketing plan. Here are five business and marketing steps that should be integrated in your plan.

Identify and determine your exact target market
The most successful bakeries know their exact target bakery customer. Bakeries that fail are the ones that tend to lack a definition of who might be in need of their products and services; this is why it is important to know who your target market is before opening your bakery.

You should be able to identify where your business will come from and the types of potential customers (e.g., families with children, singles, children, seniors, school and college students, and business people) who will visit and buy from your bakery. Most bakery owners rely on patrons who live or work within three to five miles of their location. In today’s market, bakery owners have to compete against restaurants, convenience stores, supermarket and grocery stores as they are all selling fresh and packaged baked goods.


Research your competitors
Now that you know what types of consumers are in your area, find out where your competitors are located. Every coffee shop, restaurant or bakery has competition. Understanding what is unique and what differentiates your bakery from your competitors will help you put an effective business and marketing plan together.

Conduct a small competitive analysis by doing some research on your local community; try to limit your research to your immediate area. Visit a few of your direct competitors, examine their products or services, and write down notes and take photos of what’s working and what isn’t. Set up a competition profile plan and gather some information such as: name, address, hours of operation, theme, prices, menu, retail products, décor, packaging, merchandising, services, website and social media platforms.

Determine your competitive edge
Now that you know what your competitors are doing, try to determine your competitive edge. What will help you stand apart from your competitors?

For instance, will your bakery open earlier than your competition? Will you have the best location possible, the best atmosphere, best pricing, best and unique bakery products, or the best signature item that will make you stand out from the crowd?

As you closely check your competitors, look for products and services they might not provide, and consider offering these to attract potential and new customers; this will help give you an edge over other bakery shops in your area.

Develop a unique selling point (USP)
I’m sure you’ve heard of USP. Simply put, your USP, or Unique Selling Point, is what will make your bakery business different from everyone else in your area.

To stand out in today’s crowded marketplace, every bakery business needs a strong USP for its products and services. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to tell your potential customers precisely why they should choose your business over your competitors.

What sets you apart from your competitors – something you offer and do that nobody else does? What do you think makes your bakery unique? Will your bakery products help your customers live better, healthier lives? Will you offer gluten-free products, vegan cakes, or products that contain only natural sweetness? What would make your customers choose your bakery in the first place, and also why would they choose you before the competition? Will you offer better service, prices or products? Will they get something they can’t get anywhere else such as convenience, superior experience, and extraordinary customer service?

Communicate your USP
Once you have defined your USP, then you should decide what your message should be and how to communicate it to your target audience. Make sure that you tell your customers exactly what it is about your bakery that makes it so special, and don’t forget to tell your customers things that set you apart from the competition. Make sure that you highlight your USPs in your ad copy, brochure, website and social media platforms.

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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