America is home to more than 6,000 retail bakeries many of which bake all of their products on site, while others are supported by suppliers like Café Valley, who provide them with much of their baked goods. Bakeries often have different specialties with some being their breads, and others cakes, and they range from the small community bakeries to the mega-bakeries that cater to thousands of customers each week. Larry Polhill, Café Valley executive knows that big and small bakeries must each have their own effective strategy for building their business, or as competition grows, so will challenges. Like in every other industry, bakeries vary in quality and some get it right while others struggle to find and keep customers coming back. What are the great ones doing right?


Setting the Right Atmosphere – Sights and Smells

The visual and olfactory experiences in a bakery go a long way toward people making a purchase, so the best bakeries make a concerted effort to appeal to the eyes and the nose. The best bakeries are spotless enough for you to eat off the floor. The lighting is bright and warm adding to the browsing experience that many shoppers will engage in while in the shop. The products are also displayed so they become visual delights for the eyes, drawing customers in. High ticket items like custom cakes, are placed right where they cannot be missed by customers. Maybe you only came in for a loaf of 7 grain bread, but that 7 layer cake masterpiece gets you thinking about you wife’s upcoming birthday.

The smell of fresh baking, is one of the most appealing smells to humans. It is almost instinctual for someone to want to purchase something in a bakery when they experience this type of smell. So great bakeries make sure that there are always smells of fresh baking, and because they do, customers who come in to purchase one thing often leave with five.

Knowledgeable and Friendly Staff

Bakeries sell a variety of goods and many customers who come in may not know all of them. When you combine this with curious customers, it is a great opportunity to sell more cakes and breads to them. Having a staff who can talk about each product in a knowledgeable and appealing way, will definitely create more sales. So great bakeries train their staff on their products. This training includes having staff sample each product so they can give a really accurate description of the taste and texture and compare it something the customer may know.

Great Products

Word of mouth is the bakery’s best marketing tool. When they have great baked goods, everyone tells their friends. This means that a great bakery must consistently make and sell top quality products. These products should remain steady and as new ones are introduced, they need to be of the same quality or better than the ones they replace. This should translate to the products served daily and the custom made-to-order products also. So great bakeries hire great chefs, with a passion for their work and a desire to make customers happy.