Bakers Journal

Necessity is the mother of invention

May 14, 2020
By Bakers Journal

Ways to stay agile and keep business going during the pandemic

Many bakeries and café-owners have been negatively affected by the pandemic. Finding ways to keep afloat aside from finding emergency loans is a challenge for any business owner. Many bakeries have found themselves resorting to thinking outside the box in order to keep their company going.

How can bakeries and cafés keep running if space is an issue or social distancing is not an option? Obviously, offering seating options are out of the question, but what about offering a virtual supper club? Toronto-based catering company, The Urban Acorn, demonstrated their resilience by creating a weekly newsletter that offered discounts and take-out options.

Using Social Media and Newsletters to Reach Out

By offering discounts for take-out, or specials for dinners, the Urban Acorn had the attention of future customers. With a list of customers, the restaurant was able to reach out in a new way: Create a virtual supper club.

If “staying in is the new going out,” keeping your clients aware of your company during the pandemic is key. Reaching out on a daily basis to keep your services in the forefront of clients’ mind, if not immediately able to serve them is key. Find out what you can provide during a lockdown. Online gatherings, with meals that you can deliver yourself or providing pantry goods like flour and ingredients might present an option.


Client reads menu as she waits within social-distancing space for her take-out order.

Posting online doesn’t have to be as tedious as it sounds. Using free social management options like Hootsuite to post twice a day can take as little as fifteen minutes out of your day to set up posts for the morning and lunch times, to keep your clients aware of your products and presence.

Brunch can now be a virtual event too; offer your treats like sticky buns on a Friday to get customers excited about the weekend. Remind them that curbside pick-up or take-out may be an option, to bypass some problematic food delivery apps.

Offering a long-weekend special or creating a virtual brunch event can keep your bakery afloat during lockdown.

Re-think dining events as a household or singular activity. Brunch can not be a gathering of friends and family during the pandemic, so making a weekend special for single people or small couples is key. Aside from brunch, what other food-related events are on the horizon? For mother’s day, you can try teaming up with a florist to offer a “bouquet” of cookies as Kitchen Smidgen does. For long weekends, offer to provide enough sticky buns for Victoria Day, or Canada Day.

Be agile: Offer alternative services or products

Companies like the Laisy Daisy’s Café have put their location in a food desert to good use. With no grocery stores within easy walking distance, and being dining in being impossible during the lockdown, the café keeps business alive by selling staple pantry ingredients such as flour, chickpeas, sugar and the café’s own homemade jam. It also supplements its offerings to include soap bars, toilet paper, hand sanitizers and paper towels.

Offering both pantry staples and household sundries can supplement income, but try not to price gouge: That will only hurt your reputation and your business in the long run.

Offering hard-to-find items, or basic needs during the lockdown may change the way your bakery or café runs its business. With no cure in sight, and sheltering in place still in effect in many provinces, the only option is to stay healthy, maintain social distance to prevent the spread of the disease, and remember to wear protective gear such as masks when dealing with customers for their peace of mind.

We’re all staying apart so that we can all be together in the future!

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