Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: small bakery, big plans

March 16, 2021
By Diane Chiasson

Why small bakery operations should implement effective systems

Your employees are the ones who deliver that “wow” experience. If you want to develop good staff relations and create a better culture in your bakery, then you must have good systems in place. Small independent bakery owners should keep in mind that every bakery chain began as a single, independent operator. By establishing systems and processes they can duplicate the successes of their first bakery store. It’s important that you learn how to develop and institute systems. As an owner or operator, you should always think of new ways in helping your staff members do their job much easier and better by creating and designing proper systems geared toward meeting the basic service expectations that are common to all bakeries, including:

  • Quick and polite greeting
  • Courteous and well-dressed staff
  • Timely service
  • Hot food hot and cold food cold
  • Consistency
  • Professionalism
  • Attentiveness
  • Cleanliness and sanitation
  • Comfortable eating/dining experience

Unfortunately, business owners sometimes are too busy, and they get distracted and forget. If you want to ensure your customers receive the ultimate guest experience, then you must focus your attention on improving your systems. Good and effective systems are the building blocks of every foodservice operation. It will help you stay on track and keep your energy for great guest experience, rather than struggling to remember details. Effective systems will not only ensure consistency and guest satisfaction, but they will also help you with your cost control, which is crucial during this economy. Your operational systems should include Back-of-the-house systems; Front-of-the-house systems; Management systems; Personal systems; Catering, and Delivery systems.

This is the first of a two-part series on creating effective systems to improve your bakery operations.

Implement effective systems to ensure consistent guest experiences

Effective systems and controls are the cornerstone of successful bakeries. Most of you think that systems are challenging to put together, boring, and time-consuming. Get this out of your mind. A system is essentially the same as a recipe which is putting together ingredients, steps and instructions designed to make a specific dish. The end result should always be the same-tasting and looking cake, pie, muffin, or sandwich, regardless of who made it. Basically, a system is a process, procedure or series of steps designed to produce a standard result; it’s the perfect way to create results that are constant, predictable, measurable and achieve the desired level of customer service and experience.

 Start with a product order form or template

A proper order form or template should list all the ingredients and products that your back of the house bakery uses. Having a streamlined ordering procedure and proper inventory control is crucial in maintaining the consistent cost of sales and product availability.

You could easily make a basic multi-purpose form in an Excel sheet, then print it and post it on a clipboard in the kitchen, behind your counters, or office. If you Google it, I am positive that you could also download a free order form or template. This form should be highly visible when ordering, receiving, and maintaining accurate control inventory. Write the month very top of your sheet, and then have many columns along the line below, populated with the following:

  • Inventory ID or Item No.
  • Date of last order
  • Item Name
  • Description
  • Unit Measure (or UM for Unit of Measure – whether it’s a case, bag, sack, bottles, Lb, Kg, etc.)
  • Stock Location (Basement, Shelf 4, or Store Room A, Shelf 2, or Kitchen, on a pallet)
  • Supplier or Vendor Name
  • Unit Price
  • Quantity in Stock
  • Inventory Value
  • Reorder Level
  • Days per Reorder
  • Item reorder Quantity
  • Item discontinued
  • Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4
  • Total Value
  • Employee Initial

Utensil and smallware checklist

Another useful form used in the back of the house to ensure availability and quality is the utensil, smallware, and equipment checklist. This checklist usually includes a listing of all products such as utensils, smallwares, equipment, and other supplies needed throughout the bakery store.  Just be aware that running out of product or having product disappear will cost you money. You should always keep track of your food items and your smallwares, linens, uniforms, cleaning supplies, and other merchandise. Run a checklist to see which tools you use daily, and which ones are getting worn.

Check in next month, for our two-part series on creating effective systems to improve your bakery operations in the May issue. / BJ

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