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

My grandfather, George Hilton, owned and ran his own bakery in Scarborough, North Yorkshire; and I can still remember the wonderful aroma of the freshly baked breads, pastries and doughnuts! They say the apple never falls far from the tree and I’d like to think, in my small way, that I’m following in my grandfather’s footsteps.

So what’s involved in starting up your own bakery offer or coffee shop? For starters, you need a business plan. It is really important to formulate your business right from the start, setting yourself key milestones and objectives. Focus on location, demographics, product range, pricing and product margins, to name a few.

Other areas of consideration include local competition, space allocation, suppliers, shop fitting and equipment and, most importantly, your customers.

Starting with your core range of products, establish what your customers are looking for. Him! told us that 26% of bakery retail customers want snacking products in-between meal occasions and 21% are on a food and drink mission (Coffee Shop Report 2009). Breakfast offers can increase your sales by 25% between 6am and 10am and you should really consider serving those delicious pastries with a tea or coffee, as him! reported 14% of customers are looking for a meal deal combination. Plus, you can achieve an 80% margin on hot beverages.

If, for instance, you are close to public transport, your outlet could be a destination for morning commuters. In this case, a coffee and take-away offer will definitely drive your sales.

The next step is to find appropriate equipment and product suppliers. As in life, choosing the right partner can be a bit tricky. Consider visiting a national exhibition, where you can see first-hand the range of suppliers and products available. After planning your offer in line with your customers, take a look at the calendar and prepare for seasonal events with the right promotions.

l See the next column for more bakery start-up tips