A customer paying by card for goods in a bakery

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January is a time for hibernation, meaning food businesses can take a bit of a hit as consumers looks to rein in spending and indulgence after the festive period.

Things could be even tighter this year as the cost-of-living crisis hits, according to online delivery platform Foodhub which has outlined some top tips on how businesses can boost sales and beat those January blues. Although directed at restaurants and takeaways, much of the advice is relevant to bakeries, particularly those with dine-in options and those present on delivery apps.

A latte in a white cup with a cake in the background

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Upsell to boost basket spend

Upselling is a great way to increase January basket spend, according to Foodhub, which said although this seems simple it can “help boost incremental revenue”.

“During the ordering process, try offering customers a range of sides and additional items that complement their order. Why not also prompt them to see if they’d like any drinks or desserts?”

Hot drinks and pastries go hand in hand, while meal deals or add-ons to accompany lunchtime fare such as sandwiches can also increase customer spend. Pret, for example, has recently unveiled a range of value sandwiches as well as a meal deal to target consumers hit by the cost-of-living crisis.

Promotions can play a key part in this. For example, you could offer ‘X% off orders over £X’, introduce a ‘buy one get one free deal’, debut a time-sensitive January discount, or start a ‘refer a friend’ scheme. Trialling a loyalty scheme can also keep customers coming back for more.

Try January specials

During busy months, when the orders are rolling in, most restaurants and takeaways will stick with tried and tested menu items, Foodhub said. However, as January is typically a slow month, it is the perfect time to take some risks and try different menu innovations.

Tap into seasonal flavours and ingredients to drum up some excitement among the customer base, even if its just a weekend special such as a flavoured sourdough or pastry. Think about what customers are looking for in January – do they want a treat? A healthier option? Something vegan-friendly? Think about this and make sure you cater to their needs.

A photo being taken of pretty cupcakes on a phone

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Enhance social media presence

Social media is a direct channel of communication with customers, and its importance should not be understated, according to Foodhub.

Whether via TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – social media is a great place to share tantalising images and videos of food, advertise deals, interact with existing customers, and attract new ones, it added.

A cheap and accessible marketing tool, it was highlighted in British Baker’s Top Bakery Trends 2023 report as something that could increase the likelihood of consumers purchasing sweet baked goods.

“Simple steps such as posting consistently, sharing great food content, and interacting with followers can have a real positive knock-on effect – and can translate into more orders,” Foodhub added.