Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bakery expansions

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that with several small businesses.

     A bakery near my home has been in business for many years. It is a highly successful family operation. Cars line up around the block, waiting for parking, and customers then wait in line inside.

     Another bakery in a nearby town opened three years ago. Season after season, this operation struggled. Finally, last month, it closed.

     The difference here was not location. The successful bakery is located on a narrow out-of-the-way street, and it is difficult to park. The one that closed was on a small town's main street with a constant flow of automobile and pedestrian traffic.

     Many things contribute to success in the bakery business. Freshness, taste, variety, display, service, attitude, spreading the word--all these are important. Price plays a part, but it is often overly emphasized--customers looking for a bargain go elsewhere. A sample table can enhance the waiting customer's experience and increase awareness and sales.

     Example: Another bakery in my area gradually changed her operation to become a specialty bakery. Once offering cookies, pies and donuts, the owner now concentrates on spectacular cakes. Straightforward carrot cakes that once sold for $20 are now shaped like a bunch of carrots and go for $50. A birthday cake for a man in love with his Corvette is shaped and colored like his car--it went for $100.

     Examples: A bakery can increase its reach and bottom line by partnering with a local caterer or wedding specialist. This puts your product in front of a new audience. Do some local catering yourself--company meetings can use trays of biscotti, cookies, and other treats. Stay on top of current food trends--gluten-free goodies are in demand now. If space is available, consider holding birthday parties, corporate meetings, retirement parties, and other events at your facilities. And don't neglect selling possibilities on the Internet--Facebook can propel your operation locally and beyond.

     Expanding a bakery takes careful thought and planning. But the rewards are there for the taking. Go for it!

     Questions? I retired when I turned 75, but I stay active helping people in small business. You can email me your questions--put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. Your privacy is always respected.     

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