Another new year, another round of resolutions. I have never been a big fan of making resolutions, but as bakery owners or operators, maybe it’s time to make a resolution regarding your business.
Much is made about the slow recovery of the economy and the challenging business environment. But a challenge is sometimes what we need. It makes us better, and it can ultimately improve our outlook. We spoke to several bakeries this month as we researched our annual bakery forecast story, and many bakers are already responding to the challenge and resolving to make their businesses better in the coming year.
It’s not only cost-cutting measures that can improve the bottom line. Expanding product offerings in a smart way will do as much to add to profits as trimming labor hours. Spicy Pickle, a foodservice chain based in Denver, recently expanded its bread line to include sourdough, marble rye, jalapeño cheddar tortillas and spinach tortillas. All of the additions were made to help improve the chain’s perceived value by customers. More options equals more value.
I’m not suggesting you start adding products willy-nilly, because ultimately that will only add to your operating costs. But in categories where it makes sense, new products can go far in improving your customers’ perception of your bakery.
One trend to keep in mind when thinking about new products is health and wellness. This continues to be at the top of consumers’ minds. Now, not many people will turn to a bakery to improve their health or use bakery food as medicine (although chocolate can go far in soothing a bad mood), but bakeries have some options. Especially when it comes to their bread selections.
The formula this month, an amaranth, honey and seed bar, while not a bread, dovetails nicely with the health trend. It is a unique product that may surprise your customer, and perhaps surprise them enough to convince them to buy it. While it might not be a good fit in every bakery, if you have a clientele that is interested in ancient grains, this may be a home run.
So, your resolution challenge this year is to do one thing to improve your bakery that is beyond the normal cost-cutting measures or product innovations. Resolve to take a chance with your business in 2012.