It used to be that you bought gas at a gas station, groceries at a grocery store and bakery products at a bakery. You also ate breakfast in the morning, lunch at midday and dinner in the evening. How times have changed.
You can now buy gas at the grocery store and groceries and bakery products almost anywhere, including the gas station. The same is true for established dayparts in the baking sector. Breakfast has run into lunch and dinner while lunch and dinner have merged into breakfast. And breakfast has become one of the fastest growing elements in the dayparts desegregation. Traditional breakfast foods are now being sold all day long in both supermarket in-store bakeries and foodservice bakeries, as indicated in the two Top 50 articles in this issue.
This can be good news for all segments of the baking industry. No longer are donuts only purchased and consumed in the morning. Bakers can decorate them similarly to cupcakes and use them to boost lunch and evening sales. Gone are the days of the Dunkin’ Donuts man who groused about how it was time to make the donuts.
As the delineation between dayparts has disappeared so too are the designations among different segments of the baking market. Dunkin’ Donuts now offers grilled cheese sandwiches, bakery cafés that used to specialize in lunch menus are expanding to include breakfast items and full line bakeries are becoming bakery cafés.
The very idea of “bakery” is becoming an amalgamation of several different segments, including cafés, restaurants and delis. Bakeries that are one thing to one customer are fighting an uphill battle. Most bakeries are becoming everything to everybody, and there is both good and bad in this system. What sets you apart today may become a hindrance tomorrow unless you stay ahead of the curve. This can be a scary concept, but it is one that the bakery industry has seen before.
Much like bagel bakeries of the 1980s and 1990s slowly evolved into bakery cafés, other segments of the market are seeing that same merging now. Customers want to be able to buy a breakfast pastry at the same place as their coffee and stop back later for a sandwich at lunch. Successful bakeries don’t see this as the decline of the industry but rather as an opportunity for growth.