Business and Operations
Upping Your Bakery’s Ambiance
By Diane Chiasson
Your bakery’s style and appearance must be inviting if you want to attract and retain customers
By Diane Chiasson
When customers walk into your bakery, they immediately begin to form opinions about whether they like it, and whether they plan to return before even tasting any of your food products. They base all their opinions simply by judging your operation from its look, ambiance and atmosphere.
The environment can heavily influence whether a shopper spends more time and money at your business, as well as the degree to which they are satisfied with their purchase.
It’s important for your bakery business to convey the right message to customers. You want your patrons to feel like they are getting something that is fresh, wholesome and clean. Every detail in your operation should contribute to that feeling.
Consider the following tips for improving the atmosphere and ambiance in your bakery:
Your bakery should smell delicious
Whether it’s the scent of fresh coffee brewing or fresh cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, your bakery should smell tantalizing and delicious. Throw your doors open and let the aromas from your bakery draw customers in from the street, or make sure that you prop the door open from the kitchen so that customers can smell whatever is baking in the ovens in the back. The smell of bread baking in an oven truly conveys a feeling of comfort and freshness, and it will be hard for customers to resist adding that extra loaf of fresh bread to their order.
Play the right kind of music
Music is key in setting the right tone and atmosphere for your bakery. If you specialize in French pastries, then perhaps a soundtrack of French chansons can help transport your customers to bakeries on the streets of Paris. If your bakery has a seating area and you want to encourage your customers to sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry and relax, then perhaps a coffee house soundtrack would be more suitable. Whatever the mood you want to create in your bakery, there’s the right soundtrack for it. If you have no knowledge about music, or do not have the time to create playlists, consider subscribing to satellite radio, or streaming music via a web or mobile app, such as Spotify or Pandora.
Make your bakery homey and comfortable
If you want to encourage your customers to stick around and enjoy a hot beverage, consider getting replacing some of your tables and chairs with comfortable couches and armchairs. Create more of a “living room” atmosphere in your bakery. Put out magazines, or fill a bookshelf with books and board games. In the wintertime, consider placing an electric fireplace in the corner of your bakery. If customers are comfortable in your bakery, they will stay longer and inevitably order more food.
Have the right lighting
The way you illuminate your bakery will have a huge effect on the ambiance and tone you want to create for your operation. When entering your bakery, the available light often influences the first impressions made.
For example, if a store is very bright, it wants its customers to shop quickly and efficiently, while dimmer lights will induce a more relaxed feeling. Shining spotlights on certain food items will definitely draw attention to those items. So the way you set up your lights in your bakery will affect the way customers shop in your store. Consider hiring a lighting specialist to come into your bakery to direct you to a lighting solution that would suit your needs.
Have lots of product on hand
Be sure to fill your display cases, shelves and baskets with your baked goods and other food products. There is nothing more depressing than walking into a bakery that has diminished stock in its store. A bakery has the advantage of selling food items that are already attractive, colourful and delicious, so merchandise your products properly. Always set up irresistible piles of cookies, small pieces of cake or pastries by the cash register to increase impulse buys. Who can resist spending an extra dollar or two on that mouth-watering treat sitting right next to the customer?
A more pleasant environment begets more pleasant staff
Your customers are not the only ones you need to influence with your bakery’s atmosphere and environment. Focus should also be given to your staff. Your employees will benefit greatly from working in a more pleasant environment, and if they are in positive mood, they will pass that positive energy onto their customers. However, if your bakery’s atmosphere has a negative effect on your employees, they can pass these negative feelings onto your customers as well. So always be sure to consider your staff and ask their opinions when making decisions about your bakery.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.