There are countless decisions to be made when opening a bakery, and some of the most important ones revolve around your menu items.
- How many types of fresh bread are you offering?
- Will cakes or breads be your main focus?
- Or is it better to showcase your cupcake making skills?
- Are you going to include cookies and biscuits in the lineup?
- What about your delicious pies and other savory items?
- Will you be offering cakes by the slice or only in whole?
You may have started out thinking you’ll just stick to what you know best, but as the ideas for the bakery develops, you will inevitably find this list expanding, as the extra effort to offer another one of these items doesn’t appear to be much. At first anyway.
Think Carefully and Clearly
Every single decision matters, and will have a direct impact on your costs, time, display space needed, inventory management, and so on.
Ideally, you want to offer customers a wide selection of breads, but the more you decide to do, the bigger the challenge. And with a broad range, how many units of each do you bake every day? The numbers can add up very quickly.
And with all this quantity made, what if they don’t sell out? Will you have to discard them at the end of the day? If so, that’s just like throwing money into the bin, which is not very good business.
In the same way, the spread of cakes you decide to offer will make a significant impact on your operations and bottom line as well. They cost more to make and require more effort. They’re likely to be a great revenue generator, but your costs to bake them, refrigerate them and sell them will be a lot higher too.
Everything is Related
The key to starting a successful bakery lies in the strategic decisions made before opening up. And the items on your menu is absolutely critical, as it will directly impact the size of your premises, the kitchen equipment required, the display and storage space needed, the number of staff and various other elements within the business.
It is tempting to offer as much as you can, and plenty of new bakeries make this mistake. But it is better to pick your battles and focus on selected items that your bakery becomes known for.
If this is your first bakery, it is not advisable to do it on a large scale and offer an extensive menu ranging from specialty breads and intricate cakes to gourmet pies, premium cookies and more.
Don’t opt for the throw it all on the wall too what sticks approach. Sit back and devise a more purposeful plan that leverages on a well thought out analysis of what you can do, what the market needs and where there might be a fit.
Some people have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to open elaborate bakeries that subsequently fail, while others can be hugely successful just by baking a few items from home and selling it in a kiosk, so don’t think you need to have a fancy set up for the business to work.
By all means, have big dreams, but start small and do everything you can to know your market and customers. Test your assumptions and always get feedback. Don’t bet the barn on something that you think will work until you can validate your ideas.
Always try things out first before putting your whole foot in. Once you’ve got both feet stuck in, it’s very hard to pull out, so tread very carefully in the initial planning phases.