The food and beverage business is undoubtedly one of the toughest businesses to get off the ground and in the black. While statistics of closures are often exaggerated, it’s still difficult for many restaurants to get past the 3-year hump. The main reason any restaurant, bakery, coffee shop, etc. struggles is because of their huge overhead costs: there is a lot of expensive equipment required to open; staffing costs have consistently risen over the last several decades; a thriving business is often dependent on the unpredictable hipness factor; they’re often located in some of the highest valued real estate areas. As if that wasn’t enough, their inventory can easily be spoiled – old food is thrown away at an alarming rate. Bakeries are no exception to this. The overhead costs might be a bit lower for your average bakery than a 1,000 seat steakhouse, but running a successful bakery is as challenging as getting those flaky layers in your croissants. Check out our quick tips on how to run a successful bakery:
Your best bakery customers are your regulars. And when there are so many choices of delicious bakeries and coffee shops, you need to give each customer that extra reason to keep coming back. Instituting a loyalty or rewards program is one easy way to keep all of your regulars extra happy. It doesn’t have to be complicated or over-the-top. Using your bakery POS system, you can easily set up an efficient customer resource management to keep track of purchase history, rewards, email/phone number, and much more. It’s just one more step to forming a more personal relationship with each of your customers.
You never want to waste food or drink, so this is a bit of a balancing act. But you want to make sure you’re providing enough variety to attract a larger customer base. Some people stop by bakeries quickly just for their morning coffee. Others come in for a pastry and the paper. And some even post-up and study for hours, eating several meals in the meantime. Catering to each of these clients will expand your base and improve business.
Once you figure out the menu and what your kitchen can produce, keep careful track of each item. Using your inventory management system, see which products are selling at certain times of the day or days of the week. The more you analyze this data, the better you can plan your baking, ordering, and production schedules. Some more advanced points of sale can also give you more detailed KPI reports, like ABC retail analytics. Running specials is also a great way to test new creations. You get immediate feedback and the customer feels involved and important.
Beware of any issues that could result in immediate closure or suspension. Food and beverage establishments are constantly under careful scrutiny from local health departments. Make sure your bakery is up to building code, and that all safety regulations are in place. Keep any areas that serve or prepare product for consumption immaculately clean. Pay attention to allergies on your menu and keep customers informed. Train your staff on these, as well as other safety precautions in case you aren’t on premise. Not only will these measures keep the Department of Health happy, but they will also reflect well in the eyes of your customers.
Get on social media early and try to build a base of people excited about your bakery. Keep your design and aesthetic consistent whether it’s on your cups, pastries pouches, or website. The more you brand yourself, the easier it will be for people to mention your bakery to friends and family. Email marketing campaigns are another way to cheaply reach a large group of people. Spend time with your in-store experience so that it’s cozy and welcoming but also maximizes the space you have. Take careful measure of real estate around your bakery point of sale system. POS marketing is a key area for padding sales with a few extra dollars. And check us out at KORONA by clicking below to find out more how your POS system can help improve sales at your local bakery. Also, take a look at our other guides to starting/running a successful business.