Business strategies for smart operations during business restrictions
Dawn Foods is committed to bakers around the world and partnering with them to make the most of their operations during these trying business times.
While the health of our communities and our citizens must be priority one (see CDC guidelines here on how to stay healthy), there are also very real considerations for bakery operations as you grapple with slowing sales, shortages, and more, so we’ve put together key business strategies to help maintain customers, work smarter, and get more out of less as everyone adjusts to our “new normal”.
Social Media Thrives in the Age of Social Distancing
A low-cost, high-impact plan for your business is to aggressively leverage social media. Now is not the time to retreat. Use your platforms for more than updating customers on changed hours or business plans. You can inspire, engage, and give people a much-needed break from the steady stream of serious news. Post product pics, ideas for baking at home, or how your business is supporting local efforts such as donating to food banks or supporting shelters. Consider doing a daily or weekly How to Cake Decorate video to keep customers engaged. The key is to be creative and post more than ever to keep your business top of mind.
Take Advantage of Peak Selling Times
Every retail business is operating at some level of reduced hours. Be sure your hours of operation coincide with when people are thinking of baked goods. Early morning hours when people can grab donuts, muffins or other breakfast items present the biggest opportunity. Also consider an afternoon selling period that gives customers the chance to pick up a sweet treat for the afternoon. You can also consider partnering with local restaurants to provide a dessert option if they are offering carryout meals.
Meet Customers Where They Are
If feasible, consider offering delivery service within a certain radius of your business. By bringing baked goods to your customers (and leaving them at the door), you can help drive more sales. People are trying to stay home – help them stay home and support your bakery at the same time.
While more consumers are electing to stay home, there are still many people who work outside of the home in essential industries. Offering a drive-thru or curbside delivery option helps limit your exposure as well as the consumer's while still meeting their needs.
Take Advantage of Tech
The importance of this strategy for succeeding continues to grow, in and outside of our current environment. Be sure to let customers know you have online ordering or that you are part of the apps that can deliver. From Doordash to Uber Eats, be sure to be a part of the food service ecosystem that people are turning to now.
Investigate Your Options
Many local communities are doing their work to support each other. Check with you chamber of commerce to find out how they are investing in local businesses by promoting them, sharing information, or offering financial services and advice. Community newspapers, radio stations, and other outlets for promotion are offering greatly reduced pricing. Consider investing in advertising to help drive business for your carryout and online business.
Get Creative and Crafty
Think beyond how you typically sell – a customer coming in and buying one item or a box of baked goods. Consider things like Bake At Home kits where customers can buy donuts, cinnamon rolls or muffins by the dozen that they can take home and bake themselves. Or, sell Decorating In A Box kits where families can buy a dozen cookies complete with icings and sprinkles for home. These are fun ideas for homebound families looking for something to do. And, it keeps revenue coming in.
Prioritize Your Product Assortment
Now is the time to focus on what you can make well, at a low cost, and with minimal waste and errors. Put a pause on more complex recipes and decorating to stick with the staples that sell well and remind customers of the traditional comfort they’re looking for in trying times. You will keep your costs lower and appeal to a broader audience.
Most importantly, communities are suffering and everyone should do their part to help. As much as you can, support local first responders and healthcare workers. We are all in this together. It can be hard to give when businesses are stretched, but taking care of others is something bakeries do every day when we mark the important moments in the lives of our customers. Now more than ever, hold onto the truth that bakers and what you create always make people feel better, safer, and more connected to each other.