The perishable food industry has been heavily affected by COVID-19, and the bakery industry has seen its own particular set of challenges. From leveraging social media to making adjustments for social distancing, these are some tips for staying connected with your customers while continuing to provide quality products.
Assemble Your Resources
In most communities, especially those who have shelter-at-home orders in effect, local government offices like the chamber of commerce have strategies and financial programs in place to support local businesses. Reach out to community organizations to help spread the word about changes you may need to make regarding hours of operation, product offerings, and pickup/delivery options. Social media is a valuable tool for keeping customers informed, and don’t forget to keep your website updated. If you haven’t yet ventured into online ordering, this would be a good time to make that leap. There are many options available to make online ordering a successful addition to your bakery business.
Channel your creative side and brainstorm ways to stay engaged with your customers. Post product photos on your website and social media channels. Do a video check-in to share on social media and in your email newsletter. Let people know what your business is up to during this time — are you contributing to a local food bank? Working on a new twist on a favorite recipe? Offering take-and-bake products? People will appreciate having that feeling of normalcy amid the constant flow of news and information.
Assess Your Product Offerings
While you are thinking about recipes, take this time to assess what products will best suit this current business model. This might not be the best time to take a risk on a complicated recipe with hard-to-find ingredients. Instead, focus on your top sellers, especially those items that are less expensive to make and yield less food waste. In a lot of cases, customers are not only looking for your specific products, they are also simply trying to support your business during challenging times, while enjoying a degree of normalcy that even a curbside pickup can provide.
Putting these tips to use can help you sustain your business while connecting with your community.