Business and Operations
Concepts for Success: Pampering your customers
By Diane Chiasson
Adding new flavours and other novelties will keep things fresh for your baked goods and your clients
By Diane Chiasson
What better way to reward ourselves, than with a sweet treat after a particularly stressful day, especially during this pandemic? Cakes, chocolate, and ice cream are considered comfort foods. As the pandemic continues, the bakery products that will stand out this year will be those that address the consumer’s need for comfort, and satisfy a desire for products that will support mental health. Here are five ways to pamper your customers with new flavours.
1. Combine traditional sweets with savoury
What are your customers requesting? What are their favourite flavours? According to recent studies, the next big bakery flavours combine traditional sweets with savoury. What about some fresh lime and basil pies, bacon-chocolate chip cheesecakes, jalapeño and cornmeal cupcakes, sea salt-mint- white mocha cookies, and carrot-apple Kombucha muffins?
Don’t forget the comforting and traditional botanical and floral flavours like lavender, basil, hibiscus, rose, and bergamot. For a change, try a pistachio cake with rose and hibiscus syrup or a sponge cake made with matcha tea.
Bland is banned. Instead, spicy flavour profiles are making its ways to a new year. You could certainly add warmth, spiciness, and tongue-tingling to your chocolate recipes by adding a pinch of chili spice or cayenne to your cookie or cake creations.
At the heart of Indian and Middle Eastern bakery and confectionery are flavours like rose, saffron and cardamom. Try adding some international flavours while providing a nostalgic flavour from a different country.
Innovation is crucial when it comes to keeping your customers engaged. This is particularly important customers who seek unusual and exciting flavour experiences. Keep in mind to also try healthier ingredients like gluten-free flours, fillings made from fresh fruit, and pay attention to additives like super foods, seeds or healthy nuts.
2. Add more comfort food
Many experts believe that carbohydrates, such as muffins or pastries, actually can chemically lift your mood and may raise serotonin levels producing a feel-good sensation in our brain. When I need a lift, I buy a chocolate peanut butter pudding pie or an old-fashioned caramel bread pudding or a spiced upside-down apple pie, or I buy them all. They’re fantastic!
3. Add visual appeal
Did you know that visual appeal and freshness are the top criteria for customers choosing a bakery product? Presentation is everything in the baking industry. You have to create a range of show-stoppers that will add a touch of luxury to any occasion. At the same time, it is essential that you maintain high food quality, with a greater focus on improved texture, flavour specialties and product preservation, including stability, as well as consistency.
Get creative with your decorations. Add decoration such as glitter, rainbow jimmies, sugar sprinkles, toasted coconut, colourful meringue, fondant daisies, and coloured pretzel rods. Adding bright colours or black hues will take your baked goods from average to “Instagramable” to post on your website and other social media platforms.
4. Offer limited-edition baked goods
Unique seasonal, nostalgic or limited-edition bakery items will always generate excitement for the customer who wants to try new and innovative bakery products before they are gone. Limited-edition bakery products are gaining popularity, as retail bakeries understand marketing and social media’s power to set influential trends.
Offering seasonal baked goods from Christmas to Easter will not only allow you to change your menus, display cases, and shelves, but it will help to create renewed focus and increased interest with your customers.
As the adage goes, “What’s old is new again.” What about a retro sweets throwback of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s pop culture? It would undoubtedly bring complete joy to consumers of all ages.
5. Add new things all the time
New baked products are always more tempting than traditional ones. The recent trend is gluten-free products; try introducing a new line of gluten-free cakes for customers. A unique menu will allure more customers into tasting the cakes, and based on the response, you can choose to continue or try other options if it fails. Don’t forget to pamper and attract young customers and kids by giving away free mini cupcakes, confections, and chocolates.
Make sure to provide the opportunity to customers of home delivery, easy pick up, grab-and-go convenience, and easy online purchases and orders. Pre-packaged items, tamper-evident seals and contactless delivery will be the norm for safety-minded consumers. 2021 will show continued growth in e-commerce as more consumers will shift from in-store to shopping online. Regularly post content on Facebook and Instagram.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com