We are fast approaching the dog days of summer, when business tends to slow as customers hurry to cram in last-minute activities before the kids go back to school. With the heat wave that has swept much of the nation this summer, business might be even slower than usual for some as consumers turn to lighter treats than bakery products.
However, slow periods can be beneficial to business as they afford you time to look closely at your bakery and analyze what needs improvement. For the past 25 years, Modern Baking has used the July issue to salute bakeries that excel in the seven key bakery categories: quality, merchandising, marketing, management, training, profitability and industry service. While I wasn’t around when the July Leadership tradition began, I’m willing to bet the timing decision wasn’t made without careful consideration. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the issue that just begs bakers to learn best practices hits right when they have some extra time to put those practices into play.
Each of this year’s 14 Leadership Award winners has something that is applicable to almost every bakery. You might not be mixing bread by hand like Peter Nyberg of Hearth Artisan Bread (or even making bread at all), but you might be able to take something away from his method of training. Or even though you might not believe that less is more as does Patty Rothman, owner of More Cupcakes, you might want to take note of her attention to detail when it comes to packaging to create that image of luxury for customers.
What about industry service? You may not be able to become a culinary school instructor like Klaus Tenbergen or Melina Kelson-Podolsky, but perhaps you could offer classes for area bakers or even open up your bakery to customers to learn how to make a particular product.
When was the last time you examined your business in these areas? There’s no time like the present.