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10 BEST and Most Profitable Bakery Foods and Menu Items

Justin GuinnAuthor

Toast

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Most Profitable Bakery Foods and Menu Items

The enticing aroma of freshly baked goods, the warm glow of a pastry display case, and the promise of something sweet or savory – bakeries hold a unique place in the culinary world.

For bakers or traditional restaurant operators expanding into offering baked goods, there’s a lot to like about the most profitable bakery foods. 

The most profitable bakery foods can offer operators a unique opportunity to satisfy guest demand while achieving bottom-line growth. Cost-effective ingredients, creative recipes, effective pricing strategies, and an understanding of customer preferences can help sweeten margins for your bakery menu items. 

Whether it's artisan bread, cupcakes, croissants, custom cakes, or cookies, these most profitable bakery foods have the potential to balance popularity and profitability.

In this article, we will delve into the individual baked good profitability, explore the art of crafting the most profitable bakery foods, and explain how to analyze menu items to calculate their plate costs, menu price, and overall profitability.

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Key ingredients of sustained bakery profitability

When it comes to bakery foods, achieving a proper rise in profitability requires you to go beyond flour, water, sugar, and yeast. 

Here are some key factors to consider when ideating and creating your most profitable bakery foods:

  • Cost-effective ingredients Bakery foods often rely on staples like flour, eggs, sugar, and butter. These ingredients are typically affordable and readily available, providing a solid foundation for profitability.

  • Quality and presentation The appearance and taste of bakery items play a pivotal role. Use fresh, high-quality ingredients and pay attention to presentation to justify premium pricing.

  • Unique creations Differentiate your bakery by offering unique, signature creations. Whether it's a special bread recipe, a unique twist on a classic pastry, or themed cookies, a touch of creativity can attract customers willing to pay more for a distinctive experience.

  • Seasonal specials Bakery foods can be adapted to seasonal ingredients, whether it's a pumpkin-flavored pastry in the fall or fruit-filled treats in the summer. Seasonal specials can create anticipation and boost sales.

  • Pairings and complements — Encourage customers to pair their bakery items with coffee, tea, or other beverages. Upsell opportunities, such as bundle deals, can enhance the overall dining experience and increase your profitability.

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Achieving success with strategic bakery menu item pricing

Ingredient and labor costs are one half of the bakery profits calculation — with your menu prices being the other. 

Proper pricing is essential to ensure profitability in your bakery. Consider these tactics when setting or revamping your bakery menu prices.

Cost analysis

Understand the cost of ingredients, labor, and overhead to set a baseline price. Ensure that your pricing not only covers costs but also allows for a healthy profit margin.

Competitive analysis

Research local competitors to determine what they charge for similar bakery items. Your pricing should be competitive but reflective of the quality and uniqueness of your offerings.

Value perception

Craftsmanship is essential with baking. If everyone could turn these basic ingredients into delicious masterpieces, then there’d be no need for bakers — alas, you and your crew have a magic touch. Be sure to showcase it by presenting your bakery items as high-value products. This can be achieved through packaging, marketing, and an inviting in-store ambiance.

Multiple price tiers

Offer a range of prices to cater to different customer segments. Include premium, mid-range, and budget-friendly options, allowing customers to choose based on their preferences and budgets.

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5 most profitable bakery foods

Here are five of some of the most profitable bakery foods that can help elevate your bakery's success and growth that bottom line:

1. Artisan bread: The aroma of freshly baked bread is irresistible. Offer a range of artisan bread, from sourdough to baguettes, and introduce unique flavors and toppings to stand out.

2. Cupcakes: Cupcakes are the perfect canvas for creativity. Create visually appealing and delectable cupcake flavors that cater to customers seeking a sweet treat.

3. Croissants: The flaky, buttery goodness of croissants is a bakery favorite. Experiment with savory and sweet variations, such as chocolate-filled or almond croissants.

4. Custom cakes: Custom cakes for special occasions can be highly profitable. Tap into the celebration market with personalized cakes for birthdays, weddings, and other milestones.

5. Cookies: Everyone loves cookies. Craft classic and innovative cookies in various flavors, sizes, and textures, and offer bulk purchasing options to boost sales.

Optimizing bakery operations with the right blend of tech and service models

Offering the right restaurant foods can make a significant impact on the overall profitability of your business. Folding some or all of these most profitable restaurant foods into your menu may help boost profit margins on your sales.

Here are a few other ways to help encourage greater restaurant profitability, including restaurant cost breakdowns, restaurant technology, and optimized service models.

Adjust what goes into each bake

Calculating batch costs can show you exactly the costs and profit margins for individual bakery menu items. It’s the combination of recipe cost, portion costs, and individual ingredient costs. It can help bakery owners see exactly how each component is contributing to the overall profitability — making it easier to achieve an ideal balance between portions, prices, and profits.

Remove popular items that have lost profitability

If batch costs become too high for a particular item, you may want to be careful not to get trapped. Underbelly Hospitality Group realized that the cost of chicken wings had risen dramatically, fluctuating between 30 and 40 percent higher than usual. Rather than sacrifice the quality or portion size of their famed, crowd-pleaser wings, they pulled them entirely.

Get more efficient with scheduling

More staff doesn’t equal better service. Too many team members and not enough work leads to complacency — in the front and back of house. Scheduling software built for cafes, bakeries, and restaurants can integrate with payroll tools to help you take control of your weekly staff schedule and associated costs.

Implement the New Steps of Service

What if a single adjustment could improve guest and employee experiences while saving on labor costs? Sounds too good to be true until you dive into the New Steps of Service — with streamlined service that can empower guests to order and pay at the table whenever they like. It also enables your front-of-house staff to pick up a handheld POS and help bust the bakery line on your busiest days.

Leverage granular reporting within your restaurant software

Invoice processing automation is an automated tool that digitizes critical invoice line-item data. 

Having this ingredient pricing data readily available can simplify your ability to calculate COGS, monitor price fluctuations, and take action on the COGS side of your ongoing bakery cost breakdowns.

Just like with invoice automation for food costs, scheduling and payroll and team management tools can help automate and simplify labor cost calculations. 

You likely don’t have time to manually calculate individual payrolls — and you definitely don’t have time to add all that up to get your cumulative labor costs. An easy-to-use payroll and team management software can give you transparency and visibility into fluctuations in your weekly labor costs, tip pooling breakdowns, payroll taxes, and deductions. 

Where to go from here

Combining Toast and xtraCHEF can help bakery operators access reports on daily sales, costs, and how they’re impacting overall profitability and margins on individual baked goods.

Toast Payroll and Team Management, as well as Scheduling, powered by Sling, can work together to  help uncover valuable labor trends so you can make better decisions.

xtraCHEF by Toast empowers you to drill into line-item level detail for every ingredient on each of your supplier invoices.

Together, these tools can automate and simplify the process of creating bakery-focused restaurant cost breakdowns.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.