Tips for Taking Your Neighborhood Bakery to the Next Level
You had always dreamed of opening your own bakery and that’s exactly what you did a few years back. Your shop has been the talk of the neighborhood for quite some time and even visitors who return to visit friends and family make it a point to stop in for fresh baked goods and a number of gourmet foods you created with private labels. In fact, your baked goods and gourmet foods are so popular that you believe now is the time to move on up the ladder. You finally have enough confidence in your product line to start opening other shops in other locations. You’ve got the product and you’ve got a market, now all you need is a plan for moving forward.
Recognize the Importance of Standardization
Not only is it imperative that you standardize recipes and operating procedures, but you will also need to develop a routine set of best practices that ensure the safety of any foods you prepare and sell from your shops. Foodborne illnesses cost American businesses billions of dollars annually so food safety management should be high on your priority list. You will find reasons why a standardized food safety management system is important on the LedgeInc website and also information on how to set up and maintain high standards of food safety. Never underestimate just how important food safety is to the success of your bakery and gourmet shop.
To Franchise or Not to Franchise?
This is something else you may wish to consider as well. You could always open up another location or two, but nothing is to say that you can’t offer franchise opportunities as well. If this is your intent, then those standardized processes and systems are vitally important. If you have ever worked at a chain that has both corporate and franchise stores you will recognize just how important it is to set up standardized systems, recipes, best practices and even advertising strategies. It is, after all, your brand so everything in every store must be exactly the same.
Never Forget the Customers That Carried You Forward
This is one tip which many entrepreneurs forget to work into their expansion strategies. One of the reasons your bakery and gourmet food shop grew like it did was because of your focus on offering a great customer experience. This is something that has to be standardized as well. Never forget what brought you such a level of success. Take the time to lay down various points about dealing with customers and what is expected of anyone operating under the umbrella of your brand. Your customers remained loyal because you remained loyal to them. This may even be more important than getting the number of tablespoons standardized in recipes.
The key to success when expanding is to bring an entire package forward. From standard operating procedures to what is expected when dealing with customers, everything needs to be exactly as it was in that initial store. Take what made a name for you in a local community and then see just how easy each successive store will be to open. It is a system and, more importantly, it is your system. There is every reason to expect each and every shop to be just as successful as that first bakery that made you what you are today.