By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic business accelerator specialising in the bakery, foodservice and convenience retail

In the last issue (10 September 2010) we looked at some of the challenges of setting up a bakery. In this issue we consider the importance of seasonality, promotions, customer service & training.

Oxxygen’s research partner, him!, told us 49% of staff it surveyed said they wanted more training to grow sales and improved product knowledge and information (CTP Insights 2009). A staggering 30% of customers were unaware of bakery meal deals after visiting a store, which suggests a huge opportunity regarding customer communications and staff training (Coffee Shop Report 2009).

We should address these issues in two ways. First, we should develop an annual promotional plan taking into account seasonality. Break down your year by season and by product category and align your new product development accordingly. For example, with autumn just around the corner we must turn our attention to more warming products that customers can grab and go.

In addition consider your drinks range think tea and coffee combo deals. The other day I saw a warm breakfast smoothie.

So how do you make the most of your seasonal menu and promotions? Simple get your team on board. Hold a staff meeting and talk to everyone about value-added extras, special offers and money-saving pastry and drinks deals. Ask for their input into how to make the most of new offers. Support them over the first few days by spending time on the front counter take the lead and show them how easy it is to engage the customers.

Once you’ve established your promotional campaign consider staff competitions to spice up the sales targets. Your customers will notice the change in staff morale and benefit as a direct result.

l See the next issue for a closer look at promotions and how they affect customers’ decision-making processes