One may think that the hardest thing about the baking industry is to start a bakery business. Sure, it takes a lot of effort and may cost you quite a few sleepless nights and some anxiety. However, after your bakery opens, surviving the competition will become your main concern. Moreover, your goal is not just to stay afloat but become people's go-to place to buy delicious pastries.
As an entrepreneur you aim to make profit in bakery business. This may require you to responsibly approach finance, reports, and inventories. There is one more side of the business that often stays in the shade. It's marketing.
Whatever products your business specializes on, croissants, donuts, buns, bread, healthy gluten-free pastries, mini pastries, and so on, you should build a strong marketing and sales strategy for your bakery. Otherwise, it would be challenging to reach new customers, increase bakery sales and brand awareness.
Benefit From Efficient Operations
Despite the fact that most sales in the industry still fall to large bakeries, mass production starts loosing its market share to artisan bakeries. They gain popularity because it's much easier for small and medium business to meet new food trends.
Thanks to more flexible operations small bakeries can experiment with different products and marketing solutions. By adapting to customers' ever changing preferences mom-and-pop bakeries can successfully compete with big chains.
When introducing specials and trying different trendy pastries, you should ensure that constant changes and innovations won’t undermine your business operations. One of the ways to make this is to choose a flexible management software for your bakery.
It's best that your future POS and inventory management system will let you easily add and delete pastries in your menu. And you'll also need dashboards to track sales numbers and define the best selling items and rotate them based on their popularity.
Therefore, when choosing a POS system, you should better look for a program that is friendly to your experiments. The best way to find one is testing several systems with your business goals in mind. For example, Poster offers 15-days free trial that allows you to test inventory, sales and marketing features. This is how you can figure out how good the system works for your business before you pay a penny.
Leverage Promotions to the Fullest
Of course, it would be hard to make a profit in the bakery business without having unique and high-quality products. However, if you don't promote them, people won't know that your brownie recipe is the best in the city. One of the great advantages of a timely promotion is that it can turn a random buyer into a regular customer.
Quite often entrepreneurs manage to make efficient promotions and marketing strategy for their bakery business without any help from advertising agencies. If the workflow is set up and you have some free time, try to uncover your own creative potential.
To begin with, you can use the ideas to increase bakery sales that we describe below. These will help you to come up with your own bakery marketing ideas and avoid common mistakes.
Be Nice to Your Customers
To improve bakery profits, you need to find the right way to communicate with your target audience. Get to know your customers better, figure out who frequents your place and what are those people's interests.
Good service means that you remember the favorite pastries of your regulars. For people, it’s much more pleasant to have a small talk with a nice, friendly baker on their way to work rather than just grab a bun in a plastic bag from the nearest supermarket.
It's awesome when you come to your favorite place and the first thing you see is a smile and the first thing you hear is “How are you? Do you want your vegetable croissant warm as usual?” Such pleasant moments become people's pick-me-ups and do their life better.
But don't expect your team can fake being nice! Hire people who are passionate about what they do and get along easily with customers. The bakery staff matter and they can influence sales and customer’s experience a lot.
Care About Your Customers
People do appreciate when your employees care about heir experience and make them feel welcomed. They'll come back over and over again even if your prices are a bit higher than in a bakery round the corner. Try to do everything to improve your customers' comfort. For example, use colored price tags to mark diabetic, vegan and gluten-free products.
To add comfort, provide your guests with a couple of bike parking racks, build a convenient ramp and make an entrance with a low threshold to make it easier to walk in with a stroller, place a little bench outside right next to the entrance, etc.
Such small things will impress your customers and demonstrate that you care. This is how you earn some brownie points and improve your reputation. Surprisingly, this may appear one of the most efficient measures you take to increase sales in a bakery because the word-of-mouth marketing remains a good way to drive people in.
Be Prepared for Holidays
Don’t miss a chance when people are cheery and ready to spend more money to make themselves feel even better. All national holidays can significantly increase profits in a bakery and your brand’s exposure. Don't miss these opportunities to promote your bakery and hold small, relevant events for your customers.
For Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, you can go for heart-shaped, flower-shaped, and other cute shaped pastries so that people will use your products as a present or order as party treats. Or you can invite everybody for a couple of cinnamon bun tastings at Christmastime.
It's best if you sit down and write a list of holidays and plan for promotions way in advance. Let’s say in the beginning of the year. This way you’ll be all set and have enough time to get ready properly.
Provide Loyalty Programs
Get a loyalty system going to encourage people to buy more. When people know they'll receive benefits after they spend a couple of dollars on your pastries, they'll keep spending! By the way, some POS systems for bakeries have a built-in loyalty program. This allows you to keep the information about discounts and bonuses that your customers earn right in the POS system and apply them appropriately.
Bonus and discount cards work best for bakeries. For example, a guest can get every 5th or 10th bun for free. Or you can give coupons for the next purchase every time a customer buys pastry for more than $25 or after they spent $100 since they got the discount card.
It's hard to make a profit in the bakery business, so you need to be inventive. For example if you introduce freebies, it can become a good way to kickstart sales of new products on your menu. When you come up with new toppings, or start selling seasonal pastries, invite people to taste them for free.
Apart from knowing that in your bakery they can taste something new free of charge, customers will feel that you are open to their feedback. They'll appreciate your intention to take their preferences and tastes into account. This creates a special vibe of creative cooperation.
Tap Into Social Media
There are some bakery promotion ideas, for instance campaigns on social media, that don’t require large investments. Still they work well for raising people's awareness of your brand. This is especially useful if you plan on opening new locations or franchising your business in the near future. Instagram is a perfect media to share beautiful pictures of your products, interior design and team.
Don’t try to build your content strategy around advertising posts only. Just be honest and communicate with people. Show the backstage of the cooking process and introduce the bakery team to your followers to make a personal touch.
Tell your followers about your events and inform about new promotions. Don’t try to sell but post interesting and entertaining content instead. Social media works best when they are used for a dialogue with customers, education, and advertising. There are a lot of bakery Instagram promotion ideas: hold contests, offer freebies, collaborate with Instagram thought leaders, etc.
Cooperate With Local Media
There are a lot of ways to improve bakery sales, and media advertising is one of them. Think about paid articles on popular local websites that mention or feature your bakery. It would be a good idea to work directly with the editor to find the way to promote your product while delivering value to the reader.
Don’t go for the “look how amazing we are” type of paid articles. It’s best to focus on the real things that make you different from everyone else and a worth-a-visit kind of place.
Share the recipe of a bakery bestseller or write up the bakery and create a story! People love to read stuff like this. It inspires them!
For example, you can create a special project and hold a master class on baking or decorating cakes. The general master-class idea will depend on the concept of your bakery and on what your biggest specialty is. This is your chance to prove people that you are unique! Don’t blend in with the crowd but try to stand out.
Try Different Distribution Methods
To achieve more profit and reach more customers, try to use a couple of different distribution methods. Consider going online. You can develop own website marketing strategy for a bakery, or try to cooperate with popular online ordering and delivery platforms.
Try to participate in local events, festivals, concerts, etc. It doesn't require huge investments to organize an own pop-up ant cater to people attending an open-air event. At the same time, it's a chance to reach people who don't frequent the area where your bakery is located.
Add More Healthy Options
It’s hard to find someone who absolutely doesn’t like sweets, chocolate, cakes, and pastries. But, people often try to reduce the consumption of pastries to get fewer calories per day. Although they enjoy eating, they have to pay the price in the gym.
Over the past couple of years, the organic products trend has gained in popularity, and people have increasingly started to follow healthy lifestyles and vegetarianism. Considering the high demand for better-for-you foods, you should try to attract the fans of healthy eating by introducing such positions on your bakery menu.
Desserts made from raw products don’t assume the use of flour, eggs, butter and other animal fats and heat treatment. They are light, low-calorie and will be of interest not only to raw foodies and calorie counters, but also to everyone who wants to try something new.
The success of every bakery is determined by the high quality of the products and a wide assortment. In comparison with large bakeries with more complicated production, mini-bakeries are flexible and easily adapt to concept changes, and can experiment with their menus.
Add Beverages to Your Menu
If you don’t yet sell drinks in your bakery, you are making a mistake. Beverage sales can amount to a third of the daily turnover of a bakery. The perfect option would be to hire a barista at a coffee machine and expand the range of takeaway coffee to five positions: Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso, and Americano with milk. Also, with drinks you can make various special offers to promote new positions.
Consider Different Themes
This works for bakeries just as well as for any other restaurant type. You need to understand that this is about the concept as a whole, not just the interior design. The menu should comply with the general idea.
For example, if you focus on pastry for kids, you can refer to Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland. Can you imagine the massive reaction you’ll get? Kids will literally drag their parents to your place!
Don’t want to use a popular concept? Great! Then bet on something unique and choose your personal niche. Try to come up with a new pastry shape, your own combination of ingredients, chef’s specials, etc. Remember the cronut success? Maybe you’ll become the next trend maker and improve bakery sales through your unique approach.
Add Different Portion Sizes
Have you ever caught yourself thinking you would like to eat this beautiful chocolate bun, but it is too big. Would you refuse completely from it, despite the fact that this bun is your biggest guilty pleasure of all time? It won't be a problem if you could buy the same bun but of a smaller size.
Let’s say a person goes home from the gym and decides to please themselves with a smaaaaaaall piece of cake. If they can buy a slice that is small enough for them to eat it without feeling guilty afterwards, they'll be happy.
Apply size gradation to the most popular positions (if possible), for example, Small, Regular, Large. Or just make mini versions of your bestsellers. The one-bite-sized product has become very popular so don’t miss out on this opportunity to earn more.
Watch your customers and react to the feedback from them! Remember that these people influence your income. No matter how profitable is a bakery business is in a theory if you don’t work hard, you lose. Don’t be afraid to try something new. How do you know what ideas will work in your bakery unless you try them? That is why the marketing plan of a bakery business is one of the most important things to pay attention to if you want to improve sales in bakery as fast as possible.