During the January doldrums, promotions like adding a discounted bakery item with a meal purchase or limited-time offerings can boost check averages.
I have been in the industry for several years now, and I’m aware of the marketing tactics and promotions bakeries employ to get consumers to buy more. And yet, I still fall for them. At the end of the day, I’m a consumer, and a weak-willed one at that.
We are coming up on a traditionally slow period for bakeries, when upping the tickets for customers becomes even more important. A couple of different programs can be beneficial to your bottom line, at least if your customers are like me. Since it is our Top 50 issue, I decided to use one that a foodservice bakery employs and one that was mentioned by several in-store bakery directors during our annual roundtable.
Panera Bread has a promotion that gets me almost every time, and it’s something that any bakery can offer. With a meal purchase you can add a bakery item for 99 cents (that’s the cost in the Chicago area), which is almost half the cost of a cookie’s menu price. Since my office is no longer conveniently located near a Panera, I don’t feel too guilty that I fall for it almost every time I do go to Panera.
I was recently in Baltimore and went to lunch with a friend and her children, and I noticed that we weren’t asked to add a bakery item to our order. I only noticed because again I could have easily been swayed to say yes to a cookie. However, we decided to get cookies after we finished eating, and the cashier asked if we had ordered lunch. Only after looking at the receipt did I notice that we were only charged the “add-on” price and not the full price of the cookies.
The point I want to make with this long-winded anecdote is that any bakery can easily persuade customers to boost their ticket by a dollar or two with a simple suggestion and a price cut. Choose items, such as cookies or cupcakes, that have a fairly low production cost so you can reduce the price and still see a return on the product.
Products or flavors of the month also prove to be extremely enticing. Something about the limited-time aspect of these promotions draws customers to purchase them whenever they get the chance. For me, while not a bakery example but one I can’t resist, McDonald’s shamrock shake gets me every year. I don’t normally buy shakes at McDonald’s or even eat McDonald’s all that often, but in February and March, I buy a shake almost every time go past a McDonald’s because I can only get them for a few weeks.
A cupcake flavor unique to a month or a seasonal cookie variety could have the same effect on your customers. Knowing that it won’t be around forever makes it easier to justify the indulgence. And hopefully the next month, they will forget about the previous month’s indulgences and treat themselves often to the current month’s product.
Now you know all my weird dietary quirks, but I have a feeling I’m not all that different from your customers (and in fact, I am a customer for a few of you). If I fall for these tactics, so will others. Trick us, tempt us and profit off of us. We just might like it.