Products That Do Double Duty and Can Reduce Labor Costs

When bakers are thinking about addressing the labor shortage currently facing the industry, taking a closer look at their product assortment might not immediately come to mind. However, bakeries that make adjustments to their baking, finishing, and selling are the ones that are best set up for long-term success and profitable growth. Dawn Foods National Technical Sales Leader and professional baker Randy McArthur discusses the impact products can have on a bakery’s ability to remain profitable amid the reduced labor force.

Shift Away From Scratch for Measurable Cost Savings

When team time and talents are tight, moving from an all-scratch or mostly scratch menu to one where you lean into smart, quality mixes and products makes sense. “Let’s talk about icing, for instance,” McArthur said. “Many bakers still make their own because there is a low ingredient cost, so the assumption is that scratch costs the business less than icings bought from a partner like Dawn. However, if you look at the total equation of that cost – the cost of the labor to make the icing, to be at the bakery perhaps earlier than they would otherwise, and to take time away from other, more strategic tasks, the price for the scratch icing goes up quite a bit.” McArthur urges bakers to balance the time and skill sets of the team they have with the total investment of making scratch icing. In today’s market, it might make more sense to forgo the scratch and purchase products you can trust to perform, taste great, and provide shelf life. “This allows you to focus your labor where it matters most – decorating and finishing so that you can get top dollar for your baked goods,” he added.

Invest in Mixes that Can Make Multiples

There are also products created to maximize the efficiency of bakery teams by serving a variety of purposes in the business. As an example, McArthur discussed Dawn’s Crème Cake Mix. “ A mix like this one is designed to transform into many different items,” he said. “A large batch can become muffins, cakes, cupcakes; it’s created specifically to give you foolproof consistency, efficiency, and versatility.” Additionally, the mix can hold in the refrigerator for days, meaning your team can mix it once and use it into the week.


Streamline the Product Line

Beyond shifting from scratch and using products designed for efficiency, bakers should also take a step back and assess their assortment. “Now is the time to understand what products make you money, and what products cost you money,” McArthur added. “Focus your team’s efforts on the top percentage of products that bring in higher revenues and consider cutting the bottom 5 percent. This small change can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your team’s time and help you organize how to best market your case and sell your products.”

Beyond Product

McArthur said that beyond products, which have a measurable impact on labor and a team’s efficiency, bakers should also look at their equipment. “If a baker is dedicating team members to washing dishes - which many bakeries are, now is the time to consider investing in equipment and buying a dishwasher so that the team is doing what matters most – creating the baked goods consumers want.”

Ready to learn about Dawn Foods’ full line of icings, mixes and more? Visit Dawn Foods Professional Bakery Ingredients.

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