Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: Three easy ways to diversify income streams

October 10, 2023
By Diane Chiasson

Focus on in-store products, retail and gift sales and special events


Revenue diversification means adding new services, events or more retail products to your bakery business to create additional sources of income and build more meaningful relationships with your customers. When diversifying, one crucial thing to remember is to stay true to your business. The COVID-19 crisis has led to dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour. To remain relevant, bakery retailers must work harder to meet the ever-demanding customer requirements. 

As a bakery operator/owner, you can easily increase income in three different and unique ways: expand your in-store product range, add retail and gift sales, and host demonstrations, workshops and special events. 

1. Expand your bakery’s drink and food menu
Diversifying your bakery product range is a strategic move that will allow your bakery shop to tap into new markets to meet customer demand and generate additional cash flow. The most common way to diversify your revenue is by adding food and beverage options to your menu.

You may consider adding unique drinks to your menu. Simply having a variety of signature beverages available can help your bottom line, as drinks tend to have excellent profit margins. You may complement your coffee selection with unique breakfast sandwiches and other freshly baked pastries. Your guests may purchase something else for breakfast, lunch or afternoon coffee break. Add a variety of healthy muffins, pastries, puff pastries, cookies, coffee cakes, bagels, tortillas, breakfast sandwiches and wraps, cheese and breadboards, artisanal sandwiches, oatmeal to go, yogurt parfaits, salads, wraps, paninis, mini pizzas, and organic, gluten-free and vegan bakery products.

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Consider investing in an ice cream machine. People love ice cream paired with their favourite cake or pie. Developing a few signature recipes can open your bakery to a new market. Bite-sized items such as cake pops have become quite popular over the last few years as health-conscious consumers watch their sugar intake. Make sure to pair specific food items with the right beverages. I guarantee you will increase sales by 20-30 per cent or more.  

2. Add more to-go retail and gift products
Bakery operators should also sell “signature” private-label branded products, adding an alternative income stream to their bakery profits. Expanding your assortment of products will attract a broader audience, increase the likelihood of repeat purchases and enhance a customer’s experience. Always try to introduce products that complement your existing offerings, encouraging cross-selling and boosting your revenue. If you have a great homemade sauce, consider bottling it and selling it in one of your coolers.

Prepackaged fresh bakery and top-quality coffee products guests can take home and share with family and friends is another powerful revenue stream.

Other unique ways to boost your retail sales are via unique and special branded gift merchandise such as mini cake/pastry stands, napkins, coffee mugs, tea tins, greeting cards, sustainable tote bags or aprons. The benefits of selling branded merchandise are twofold for your bakery: you will generate additional income and your guests will become walking billboards, building brand awareness for your bakery shop.

Customers who have one of your bottles of sauce or a special gift at home will always be reminded of how much they love your bakery, and tourists will also enjoy getting a souvenir to remind them of their trip. Gifting within bridal parties has exploded in recent years. Think of packaging beautiful and unique boxes or gift baskets. You may also consider packaging ingredients for lunch or dinner meal kits rather than cooked meals.

Don’t forget gift cards. They are an easy way to boost revenue and draw customers into your bakery shop.

Add flair to your bakery by designing visually appealing and interactive displays that let customers engage with your retail products.

3. Host demonstrations, events and workshops
As a bakery shop owner, you can draw more traffic and increase revenue by hosting special events. Organize cooking demonstrations, events or baking workshops related to your bakery products to attract foot traffic, encourage customer loyalty and build brand loyalty. Consider adding local arts and crafts events, poetry readings or live music. These are excellent opportunities to get involved in your community and network with other local businesses.  

Taking part in local events and supplying cupcakes for charity, school fundraisers, etc., will also expose your bakery to a new audience.

Think of running a special autumn “cupcake lab” event. You could easily charge $150 per couple, and guests will receive all the demos necessary to make delicious cupcakes at home, recipes for six cupcakes they made at your bakery shop, and a DIY experience under a baker’s guidance.

Finally, consider offering your baking talents outside of your bakery. Evening or weekend classes for groups of Five to 10 people can include basic baking lessons and fun drink recipes.


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, send her an email at chiasson@chiassonconsultlants.com, or visit chiassonconsultants.com.


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