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Whether you operate an established bakery or you’re trying to bake it ‘til you make it, you’ve got to spend time devising new menu ideas every now and then.
You’ll want items that balance profitability with popularity, that can be executed with consistency, and that deliver exactly what your community needs. That’s why we’ve put together ideas to help you nail your next menu items.
Engineer your bakery menu to balance popularity with profitability
It’s going to be tough going if your baked goods require 30 hours of labor and only sell for $2 — even if you can count on them selling out. That’s popularity without profitability. The opposite is also an issue. How long can you sustain customers with a bunch of incredibly low-cost, high-margin menu items that don’t excite the palate or take advantage of trends?
Here are a few ideas to help you strike a balance, while injecting some fun and creativity into your menu:
1. Master the basics
You probably know firsthand how temperamental baked goods can be. Bad bakes and batches happen for even the most seasoned pros.
Make sure that you can execute core items. Nail the croissant before stuffing it with fillings. Perfect a base cookie dough before tossing the contents of your pantry into it.
This way, you can cater to purists while attracting the attention of culinary adventurers. Locking in base recipes also makes it easier to cost new items down the road, as you’re simply adding new ingredient costs to base costs.
Plan for all the equipment you need to make breads, sweets, and pastries in your bakery with this ultimate guide.
2. Embrace trends and seasons
LTO stands for limited-time offer, and it can be a great way to ideate new menu items.
Think about what’s hot and trending right now, either in your city or across social media. You can also consider what local produce and ingredients are in season. Maybe it’s peach season. Or perhaps it’s summer, and you know people will be looking for freshly-made buns to accompany their burgers and hot dogs.
It may be difficult to pull an item once the season ends, especially if it’s a cash cow, but just remember — limited time offer. They’ll be back for more next season!
3. Calculate your costs
Profitability has to be a top concern for your new bakery items. That doesn’t mean each one has to be a heavy-lifting moneymaker — you simply need to be aware of all the costs that go into them so you can price accordingly.
What’s important is that you build your costing on a strong, consistent data foundation. Invoice processing automation is essential for this. It digitizes critical pricing details within your invoices, freeing up time to ideate new menu items.
Effective bakery menu design examples
Let your baked goods shine in multiple forms
Instead of only selling whole loaves, consider adding sandwiches, croutons, or different toasts to your menu. In addition to making use of leftovers, it’s a great way to take advantage of work you’re already doing.
Loosen the reins on what qualifies as a bakery
A “baked good” is whatever you want it to be — including a fried empanada. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the oven to come up with new and exciting items.
Add some class to your takeaway options
Use branded packaging for your items. That way, when a guest shows up to a party with a box of your macarons, everyone will know precisely where they came from.
Come to the savory side…or the sweet side
If your menu is predominantly sweets, consider adding some savory ideas. And vice versa if you’re mostly baking savory goods. If Bob Dylan can go electric, you can mix it up too!
Shout it from the standing mixer
Alert your customers to new menu drops. You can get the word out via social media, email, or whatever marketing channels you employ.
Do you and do it deliciously
If you’re going to succeed, you’ll need to keep an eye on costs and profits, while delivering new and consistently delicious menu items. Mixing things up can keep regulars coming back, while attracting new fans.
Looking for more support with your bakery? Don’t miss On the Line’s article on how to write a bakery business plan, with tons of ideas for nailing your new business from the get-go.