The bakery business has been growing rapidly over the years and we certainly have Mary Berry to thank for that! Popular shows in the UK, such as The Great British Bake Off has inspired a wave of entrepreneurial bakers.

Did you know that last year, the number of bakeries and cake makers increased by a huge 20 per cent? Rewind a little more and you’ll be shocked to hear that between 2012 and 2016 alone, the number increased by a staggering 1,500 per cent!

It appears that out of the whole of the UK, the North are the most famed for having the sweetest tooth, with Liverpool and Manchester fighting for the top spot on the biggest growth in independent bakeries list.

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Honestly, we’d be lying if we didn’t just admit that the entire nation loves to scoff a hot cross bun or a delicious cream cake every once in a while…

But running a bakery is not as easy as many would like to believe. It requires not only an experienced baker who has sufficient knowledge of how to create beautiful edibles, but also staff who have sufficient knowledge of how to run a business.

There is so much to consider, from store location, staffing needs and suppliers, down to the day-to-day requirements, such as how to store stock safely and what bakery solutions to use.

If you’re planning to open a bakery store in the near future or just want pointers on how to make your current operation more successful, here are some important things that you need to know.

What Form Of Bakery Do You Want To Open?

The first thing that you must decide on is the type of bakery you want to run. There are many bakery niches out there, such as gourmet cake bakeries, commercial bread bakeries and artisan bread bakeries, but it’s down to you to decide exactly which you’d like to try your hand at!

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You will also need to decide whether you’re going to have your bakery as an online shop, counter service only (which is more the middle ground) or whether you’ll offer a sit-down option, too.

Once you’ve decided, you will need to evaluate the budget and resources available to you to ensure you are making the right decision for your business model. Do as much market research as you possibly can to understand what type of bakery is most suitable to your abilities.

Most bakers prefer to opt for a ‘sit down’ bakery as it gives more exposure to their business. But if that’s the route you take, you will need to plan extensively for it. Make sure you have everything you need before launching, including adequate seating space, a big enough kitchen because that’s where the magic happens and of course, the right storage solution, such as confectionary trays. 

A Business Plan

A business plan will help you to look at your business from every angle. It will be the blueprint you need if you’re going to succeed. As they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

A well-thought-out business plan will help you define your business goals, the expenses required to achieve them and should contain ways in which you are going to guarantee the finances needed to fund your business.

You also need to identify your target audience – this can be done by doing some market research online but you can also get out and about and simply ask the locals.

Finally, you’ll need to consider whether an investor is a potential option for you and your business. If you decide you’d rather not split your shares with someone else, a small business loan from either the bank or an alternative finance provider may be the best option for you.

Location, Location, Location

If you’re planning to open a ‘sit-down’ bakery shop, then you need a formal space with a kitchen and an open area for your customer to sit down and enjoy their delicious treats.

Some bakers prefer to opt for a rented space instead of purchasing a set location and it is often the best choice as it can save a huge amount of money.

To find the best location for your bakery business, make sure you do your due diligence and scope every possible spot that’s available. You never know, you might find the perfect hidden gem that gets just the right number of visitors passing. If you can, chat with other business owners in the area to get a feel for what business would be like there.

Don’t Compromise On Quality

Many bakers often think that opening a bakery in a high-traffic area will be beneficial, regardless of the standard of products they provide to its potential customers. But, that’s simply not true!

You should never compromise on the quality of your products just to keep up with demand, so make sure you set up shop in a location that suits your capacity needs.

Make sure that you’re storing your fresh goods and ingredients as safely as is possible. There are numerous options out there to help bakery businesses deliver products of the freshest quality, from attached lid containers to ventilated bakery trays.

Also, the packaging of products plays a vital role in the success of a bakery business, as it makes your products stand out from the crowd. If you are offering food-to-go, consider getting individual packaging to make you stand out from the crowd. Starbucks have created a huge brand that revolves around their iconic white cup, so take a leaf from their book and see where it gets you.

Engage With Your Customers Both On and Offline

The best source of getting good feedback on your products and services are your customers. If your customers are complaining about anything directly related to your bakery business, be responsive and engage with them.

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Whatever you do, do not simply ignore the bad reviews as you will get yourself into hot water eventually and may stand to lose your customer base. Remember, retaining customer attention is far easier than having to attract entirely new ones.

Create a website that tells online users everything they need to know about your bakery. Take the time to tell your story and try to win them over by showcasing pictures of your mouth-watering creations.

If you’re tech savvy or know someone who is, try integrating feeds from social media platforms such as Instagram onto your website. You may find you’re able to gain a lot of traction online by doing this, which will hopefully convert to more orders being made either online or in store.

Running a successful bakery business does require a lot of hard work, but once you’ve aced the basics, you are bound to thrive if you truly love what you do. Follow the steps in this simple bakery guide to ensure your business booms this year. Then once you’ve perfected the points above, check out this post on how to increase bakery capacity for maximum production and output.