Business and Operations
Fresh Trends: Six bakery holiday rush tips
By Diane Chiasson
6 easy things you and your staff can do to prepare your bakery and bakers for the holiday rush
By Diane Chiasson
The countdown is here. Every year, like clockwork, starting right in November, time seems to speed up until all of a sudden, it’s this frantic time of the year. As a retailer, you are about to enter the most profitable time of the year. The holiday season offers a huge opportunity for bakery retailers of all sizes, but the competition for customers has never been more intense. As a small bakery owner, you have to make sure that you are totally ready. How should you prepare your bakery store for the holiday season? Here are 6 things you should do to prepare your bakery for the holidays:
1. Prepare your advertising campaign
Before you plan for the holidays, you need to review last year’s campaign to see how you did. Identify your previous successes or failures in order to see areas where you can improve. You can then plan special holiday menus, advertising strategies and flyers to give out to customers. Many companies start planning their holiday events and parties as early as October; it’s always a good idea to have something to hand out. You should post on a daily basis some great photos of your bakery products on Facebook and Instagram. Posting photos on a regular basis will remind your customers to order that scrumptious cake or to check out a new macaron flavour. Google Ads is also a great place to get your seasonal message across. Create ads targeting holiday shoppers.
2. Check your inventory
“Out of stock” means a lost sale. When it comes to holiday retail, one of the biggest mistakes a bakery can make is not having enough inventory to stock shelves or miss some ingredients during the holiday season. A well-establish bakery s should prepare for an even bigger crowd than usual for the holidays, particularly during peak hours. It’s always better having too much supply than too little! Running out of ingredients for special cakes will make your staff and clients unhappy.
3. Contact your best customers right away
The key to optimizing holiday sales is to start communicating with your customers ASAP. The bulk of your sales will likely come from your regular customers but you certainly want to also attract new customers during the holiday season. You should get in touch with all of last year’s customers who ordered special treats for their office, catering events or special functions. Get more active via email during the holiday season. Communicate your seasonal plans to your customers with email or social media campaigns to reach out to your customers on your database. Post signage throughout your store, and make sure your website is up to date.
4. Give back to your community
The winter holidays are a great time for community giving and charity. The holidays tend to bring out the best in people when it comes to lending their time, money, or assistance to charitable causes. Donating unused food to a food bank or supporting a local shelter are a great way to support your community and demonstrate your brand values. Playing an active role in food rescue is a great way to give back and check out the many local programs in your area. Bring a platter of some special sweet treats to a nursing home or a senior living centre.
5. Organize your staff schedule
One of the most important operational aspects of being successful with the holidays is scheduling your staff effectively to provide the best possible customer service. If you want to offer quality service during your busiest season, you must hire additional staff and train them properly. The holidays are busy for everyone, including your staff. Will you staff be adequate for large holiday parties and increased business? During the busy holiday season, it’s always a good idea to schedule more staff than you usually need. Start planning now if you need to hire additional people for your bakery before your competitors scoop up the most reliable talent. Many university students are home for the holidays and want to make some extra money before returning to school. To save time, call former employees that left for university and see if they will come back to help you out during the holiday season. Don’t forget that great customer experiences, lead to positive word of mouth, additional social media exposure, and leads to more business.
6. Promote your gift cards
Don’t wait until the holidays to decide you need a gift card for your bakery or online store. Gift card programs can be set up quickly but just remember the holiday season is the busiest time in the year. You bakery will definitely increase sales with a gift card program. It’s that simple. When you offer a gift card program, it brings at least two customers into your bakery — the giver and the receiver. You should have a gift card program — one that includes plastic gift cards as well as eGift cards. Let your customers give the gift of your bakery during the holiday season. According to some recent surveys, gift cards are the most requested gift item during the holiday season, restaurants, and retail stores gift cards lead the pack. Think of setting up a big display area at the front of your bakery, and package each gift card in a box or gift bag with a bow and ribbons. Make sure you include a blank holiday card with the gift card.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, provides innovative, revenue-increasing foodservice and retail programs, and more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com