But now it's time to gear up to be buried in work for the next few weeks. The great thing (or not so great, depending on how you choose to look at it) is that your bakery is full of customers looking for those baked holiday treats they remember from their childhoods, and they are turning to you to provide them.
We all have those products that even the mere hint of a scent brings the memories flooding back. For me, that product is the pecan snowball cookie, although my mom called it something else. Hers were always slightly dry, but that didn't stop me from gobbling down tons of the butter and sugar pieces of heaven. I haven't had one in years, but I remember how much I loved them.
Memories like these are what will draw customers to your bakeries. People are looking for the treats just like mom or grandma used to make, which can be a pain if mom or grandma wasn't the best baker, as was the case in my house. (Sorry Mom, but I don't think the cookies are actually supposed to be that dry!)
Even during the down economy people are wanting those treats. Sure, they could use the old family recipe to make them, but most consumers are as time-strapped as they have ever been. Or, something else, like holiday shopping, will seem like a better use of their time. They will be willing to part with their hard-earned money to recreate those memories without having to put in the work themselves. The reason I haven't had pecan snowball cookie in years is because my mom doesn't have the time to make them and I don't have the inclination. Nor should I when I can go to bakeries like yours and buy them — instant gratification.
The In-store Sales Tracker this month delves into exactly this. Sales for specialty desserts were up during the winter holidays last year not in spite of the dismal economy, but perhaps, even because of it.
While we are another year deeper into the recession (although economists have said it ended in the third quarter this year) and unemployment is more than 10 percent, I doubt bakeries will see a decline this year. Even though published reports indicate that retail sales will remain flat or be down by 1 percent, holidays seem to put people in a spending mood. And, bakery is a relatively inexpensive way to spread the holiday cheer.