Bakers Journal

Splurge-worthy celebrations: How to market your bakery-café to generation Z

August 30, 2023
By Colleen Cross

Photo: Peter Jacobs / The Baker's Workshop

Promoting your bakery-café or restaurant as a place to celebrate with high-quality ingredients can help attract generation Z customers (those born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s) who are looking to mark special occasions.

When the research firm Technomic asked gen Zers who recently visited a restaurant to describe the meal occasion, at least half said it was a planned visit for a special event or impromptu celebration. Operators should market themselves as destinations for this type of splurge spending. Promote a festive, lively setting for get-togethers. Offer filling menu options that highlight the quality of your ingredients. Play up creative flavours and preparations your customers can’t easily replicate at home.

There is great value in giving your customers a fun, surprising or indulgent experience. So many people looked forward to and savoured their bakery treats during the pandemic. Never underestimate the power of your business to uplift and supply daily joy!

Popular booking platform recommends a few bakery event ideas to engage your community and increase business. Pop-up shops – offering a limited-edition item or introducing a new baked product – are a great way to create memorable products and experiences for customers. Try hosting a “pupcake” pop-up near a dog park or grooming salon, or partner with pet supply shops to sponsor and cross-promote the event.


As for timing, the holidays are an ideal time to host a pop-up while people are looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones. A winter wonderland-themed event can appeal to any hungry, holiday shopper.

Teaching customers baking skills through paid workshops is another way to create an experience for individual foodies or groups.

Diana Cline, owner of Diana’s Cucina and Lounge in Winnipeg, has had success with workshops and events at her pizzeria. Cline has hosted a unique event to combine self-care and healing with the power of art and pizza. The popular night begins with a presentation on self-care. Then Cline teaches pizza making, dough making and highlights the natural ingredients that go into her award-winning pizzas then ends with a painting session led by a local artist and buffet of eight best-selling pizzas.

Joy Bakery in Simcoe, Ont., makes the most of holidays and special days like May the Fourth. Recently they held a Harry Potter Day, where they set up a special booth and offered themed treats throughout the day. The team cleverly built anticipation through social media posts. Joy also recently sponsored a comedic Shakespeare-in-the-park type event at their local summer festival.

Emphasizing celebrations is not just for the bakery-café. Developing products with celebrations in mind – including baking kits, customizable cakes and mini sizes of best-selling treats, such as mini cheesecakes or items for dessert charcuterie boards – are just a few ways commercial bakeries can make the most of special occasions.

Most important of all, celebrate your bakery’s own milestones by involving your community. Though you make it look easy, running a bakery is challenging, hard work, and all anniversaries are fine reasons to celebrate!

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