Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: use downtime to prepare

April 22, 2020
By Diane Chiasson

COVID-19 will not last forever. Here are ways to prepare your bakery for online deliveries and for summer once the quaratine lifts.

Summer is almost here. Is your bakery ready for the business rush once the quarantine lifts? If not, it’s the right time to make the most of your time and to properly set up your business plan.

Here are 5 easy tips and tricks to prepare your bakery for the summer’s post-COVID rush:

1. Clean and sort your patio
A well-designed and well-equipped outdoor patio is a great opportunity to boost traffic and revenues. The design and décor of your outdoor patio is equally as important as the interior design of your bakery. Your outdoor patio space should be a continuation of your indoor space, with the exception of perhaps being slightly more casual. You can create a complementary space by just sticking within the same colour scheme, design, theme, and concept from your interior. You bakery should be inviting, and should invoke your brand and story.

You can spruce up your take-out space by adding some greenery, potted plants, trees, trellises, shrubs, hanging flower baskets, as well as some colourful umbrellas, or string lights/lanterns. All of these items will help create a memorable outdoor space.


Take this time to inspect your equipment. Guest will definitely judge your bakery by its exterior, and it’s now the ideal time to freshen up your bakery patio that has been neglected since last season. Start by power-washing your walls, concrete walkway, walking surfaces, decks, fences, outdoor furniture (chairs, tables, etc.), awnings, umbrellas, windows, signs, sidewalk, curb/parking areas, and most particularly your trash disposal areas. Regular power pressure washing and sanitizing these areas is a must for health and safety reasons. Power washing will clean dirt, mildew, and other types of grime from any surface

2. Hire and train staff
Staffing is the main juggling act of bakery café owners and managers in the summertime. I would suggest that you take a good look at your last year’s sales and staff reports to review and plan ahead for this year’s projections. Depending on the size of your bakery, you may need to hire some additional staff to handle the guests that will be sitting outside. Check kitchen staff to make sure that they are able to handle the extra covers that your patio or take-out may generate.

3. Create a new seasonal menu and specials
Your bakery menu is probably your most important marketing material. It’s time to consider a light and unique summer-inspired menu. From leafy green salads to light fruit-based desserts, you should also consider launching a new and exciting summer menu as well as integrating an outdoor coffee-bar experience. Think of adding some new, interesting, and colourful bakery items as well as some unique and fun beverages on your menu. By keeping your menu small and inviting, it will help you reduce inventory, preparation time, and waste as well as staff requirements. You don’t need a full menu overhaul, just rethink your menu layout to emphasize your existing bakery and beverage products in some new and exciting ways. Make sure to always choose a colour scheme for your patio menu that reflects your bakery brand. You should, above all, focus on good food and great guest experience.

4. Keep your bakery visible at all times
First and foremost, your business logos, patio easels, sidewalk signs, neon signs, and all of your other bakery signs should be visible at all times. Your bakery sign should always be properly seen by those walking or driving by. You may consider some roadside and billboard signs to get hungry out-of-town travellers to come to your bakery store. Consider placing an illuminated sign on your windows, built-in awning, or rooftop; this will help advertise your bakery when it is dark out. Above all, let your bakery products do the talking! Use your window space areas to advertise freshly made breads, pies and cakes as well as your unique and colour bakery displays, or even show how products are being made.

5. instill a marketing plan
A marketing plan may hurt your brain just a little bit, but I promise that the pay off will be worth it in terms of customer numbers and revenue. Start by asking what are the bakery products, beverages, and services that you will offer at your bakery. What price will you offer your products and services for? What kind of promotion will you do? Will you do newspapers, magazines, website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? Or will you simply rely on word-of-mouth marketing? What makes you stand out from the bakery, café, or restaurant the next block down? How are you different from your competition? You should use both traditional and digital marketing methods in order to get your patio going. Be sure to get the word out about your bakery and your special spring promotions. Don’t’ forget to regularly update your website by using pictures of delicious bakery items as well as your new beverages; it will help boost your sales. Don’t forget to right updated and relevant social media posts.

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