Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

Did you hear? Earlier this year we were acquired by CareersInFood.com – a job board dedicated to the food and beverage manufacturing industry. Since then, some changes have been happening to TheBakeryNetwork, and we’re pretty excited about it.

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Last month we talked about plugging profit leaks in Your Bakery. This month we are going to talk about getting more for your bakery products by increasing your customers’ perception of the value.

The Wow Factor: What makes you say “Wow!” when you experience great bakery products? Is it the smell of a fresh apple pie or the aroma of fresh bread? Is it the beauty of a wedding cake? Is it the texture of a fine cheese cake? Could it be the taste sensations of a rich chocolate brownie with fudge icing topped with a scoop of ice cream and chopped walnuts?

Bakery products have a high “Wow Factor” because they appeal to four of the primary senses. Bakery products with a high “Wow Factor” look, smell, taste, and feel terrific. Achieving a high “Wow Factor” is a function of applying baking skill to the best ingredients. Starting with premium ingredients is essential. Skill is then applied to mix and bake the ingredients to achieve the best smell, taste and feel.

 Appealing presentation calls for creative design – proportion, color, and texture. Award winning presentations are achieved through a combination of the artistic skills of a sculptor and a painter — bakery products are multi dimensional. One characteristic of appealing bakery design is to present the ingredients contained in the product in such a way that the customer can imagine a sensational taste experience from the moment they lay eyes on the product.

Over the years bakers have become very creative in the use of toppings and presentation methods that allow internal ingredients to show through. Artisan breads are topped with seeds or oat flakes or dusted with flour. Pies and tortes have lattice top crusts with openings that show the fillings inside. Cakes are topped with drizzle, nuts, icings or whipped toppings.

Layering ingredients is another way to increase the “Wow Factor”. Layering allows bakers to combine ingredients for better taste and look and to add variety to a product line. Lemon meringue pie, German chocolate cake, cheese cake topped with strawberries, and even Oreo cookies are examples of layering.

The Wow Factor Payoff: Bakery products with a high “Wow Factor” are immediately more appealing. They create more excitement and they trigger the impulse to buy. Customers will also pay more for high “Wow Factor” products. The “Wow Factor” then is necessary to grow sales volume and generate higher unit selling prices.

What is the best way to get the “Wow Factor” to pay off – to increase bottom line profits? The problem with the “Wow Factor” for many bakers is the increased cost of premium ingredients and the extra labor required to apply these ingredients. Layering of ingredients requires multiple depositing steps. Adding toppings and textures can be very labor intensive and generally takes a higher level of skill.

To make matters worse the motions required are very repetitive and very stressful over time. Absenteeism and repetitive stress claims cut into profits. Pastry bags also used to manually apply drizzles, borders, and rosettes and it can take up to 22 lbs. of pressure to apply icing to a cake. Side crumbing which adds to the look and taste of a dessert is another decorating function that is usually performed manually.

There is also the issue of controlling the premium ingredients that are being applied. The natural tendency is to over apply the ingredients. If a little is good, more is better and no one wants to be under the weight on the label. The ingredients used to increase the “Wow Factor” are often some of the most expensive ingredients used in the overall product – Chocolate ganache, rum mixes, whipping cream or dolce de leches spreads.

Acheiving the Wow Factor: How then do you get a high “Wow Factor “and keep your cost of ingredients and labor under control? How do you have your cake and eat it too? As you may have picked up on this article, we were throwing little hints that relate to taking those high stress, high cost, inconsistent processes and replacing them with various pieces of equipment.

We’re not suggesting you lose that special touch that has made you a favourite among all your customers. We are suggesting that you take those processes, review them, make them more efficient, accurate and enjoyable while adding $$ to your bottom line.

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Who’s selling your bakery brand?

October 2011, TBN staff writer

Your bakery products are exceptional. You’ve invested heavily in the latest store design. And, your marketing plan is solid. So why aren’t your bakery sales where they should be? You might blame the economy or stiff competition, but have you checked your sales force? Who is selling your products and how are they representing your bakery brand?

Too often, hiring sales personnel is an afterthought. But, good salespeople can make or break your business. Especially with the viral nature of on-line business reviews, customer service is critical to any retail business, and retail bakeries are no exception. “Always try to make a happy memory for customers,” said Mark Atwood, owner Atwood’s Bakery, Alexandria, La. Atwood has been in the retail baking business for 34 years and knows what to look for in a bakery salesperson.

He requires all potential staff to take a personality index test to see if they fit four main qualities of a salesperson: self-starter, extrovert, multi-tasker and rule follower. For each quality, however, he stays away from extremes in either direction.

A good salesperson is a self-starter, but not necessarily a leader. “You want someone with initiative, but not too much,” Atwood says. Many retailers make their best salesperson a manager, but that doesn’t always work, he cautions. The salesperson would rather be everyone’s friend than manage difficult situations. An extroverted salesperson is a plus, obviously. They need to speak well and enjoy speaking with a wide range of customers. But, an extreme extrovert needs approval and recognition at all costs. “They’ll promise the world and won’t be able to deliver,” Atwood says.

When it comes to multi-tasking, salespeople need to handle multiple orders and solve problems in busy, stressful situations. “You definitely don’t want a single-task oriented person in sales,” he says. Following rules is a desirable trait for a salesperson, but you don’t want them to be completely inflexible. A rule breaker is worse, however. “If they are too much the rule breaker, it might indicate that they would steal from you,” Atwood says.

Chad Rissanen, CEO of Jett Marketing has his own ‘straight to point’ approach. He suggests that “There are two primary traits that make a salesperson successful; ego and empathy. “You need to check your ego and listen to your customer. Stop talking about yourself and really get to know them so that your next call or visit can be a personable one”. Rissanen adds that “No one is born a super star salesperson. it is a learned skill. There are a lot of aspects of sales including communication, persuasion, persistence, empathy and tenacity. It takes years to develop all these skills. And with the abundance of information available today, you can help shorten the curve…seminars, training courses, books, audio’s etc”.

Over at Atwood’s Bakery, they receive a company manual, initial sales training and continued training with bi-monthly meetings for all sales staff. During the meetings, staff is encouraged to share ideas and sales best practices. To keep the meetings focused on sales, not administrative issues, the bakery posts a “communications log” near the time clock. When all staff clocks in to work for the day, they read the log for key information, such as daily dessert specials, parking logistics or if a manager is off that day. “We don’t have to cover the administrative stuff in the sales meeting because we keep it in the log.” In addition, Atwood’s maintains a library of bakery business and sales books for staff to borrow. His latest recommended read for salespeople is Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. A well-trained sales staff plays a key role in maintaining Atwood’s loyal fan base. “When someone comes in, they want an experience when they shop.”

Part of Rissanen’s training is what he refers to as the quick Do’s and Don’t’s

Don’t come in with all guns a ‘blazin’
Do build rapport look for commonalities because the the relationship is the deal!

Don’t be salesy and doucey – no one want to be sold
Do have empathy…use a consultative approach ” needs analysis” this way you can find out the actual problem or challenge and provide the solution.

Don’t talk to much
Do ask more questions

Don’t be cocky & arrogant – no one likes cocky or arrogant sales person
Do be humble and find a common point of interest and try and connect.

Don’t Lie….a lot of sales people tend to extend the truth beyond what’s necessary
Do be upfront and honest you will be appreciated more for being straight.


Mark Atwood/Atwood’s Bakery – www.bakingmemories.com

Chad Rissanen/Jett Marketing – www.chadrissanen.com

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The Sugar Arts Institute

For immediate release, October 26, 2011

A message from our founder, Julie Bashore:




The Sugar Arts Institute is a new, worldwide, and prestigious educational body offering higher level, unified, standardized certification programmes specific to our industry.

Working with our team of highly qualified educators, our 5 year programme will offer  worldwide, recognized qualifications focusing specifically on all aspects of
SUGAR ARTISTRY.  SAI will fill this enormous void in our markets.

SAI will train and certify to provide Cake Decorators and Sugar Artists  qualifications they can be proud of.

Candidate Diploma in Sugar Arts – Year  1
Certificate in Sugar Arts – Year 2
Associates Degree In Sugar Arts  – Year 3
Bachelor of Sugar Arts – Year 4
Master of Sugar Arts – Year 5

We are looking for additional Founding Instructors to be prestigious members of this institute right now.  We are recruiting worldwide, thereby cross training our Instructors at every level covering every aspect of this amazing art.

If you are interested in traveling the world, (or not), working full time or part time as a Certified SAI Instructor and being fully marketed and promoted through this prestigious non-profit educational institute, visit here for more information: http://www.sugarartsinstitute.org/instructorinfo.html

This exciting endeavor will be launched in July 2012 nationally and internationally.  Our  Founding Instructors will be marketed and promoted as the best of the best!

Join this progressive, illustrious and prestigious group of Team Leaders.
So far we have been invited to launch SAI in Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany, Hong Kong China, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and of course, USA.

The benefits are satisfying and the rewards are enticing!”
If you are interested in keeping updated as classes become available, then please fill out this form to subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow SAI on Facebook here.

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Having been around for 10 years, RPIA Group and Rick Crawford are in the business of helping bakeries succeed. Rick Crawford and Joe Baker from The Bakery Network talk about ‘what is and what will be’.

Read the full interview and learn about RPIA Group and what they can do for you.

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Are you catering to the booming Hispanic population? According to a cover story below printed in USA Today, you may want to consider this market for future growth in your own market growth and stability.

August 29, 2011

According to a cover story published in USA Todaythe end of the first decade of the 21st century marks a major change in “the nation’s social, cultural, geographic, racial and ethnic fabric.” The article reports the shift being so profound that it reveals an America that seemed unlikely a mere 20 years ago—one that will influence the nation for years to come in everything from who is elected to run the country, states and cities to what type of houses will be built and where.”

One of the most significant shifts has been toward ethnic diversity, which seems to have happened faster than experts predicted. The article goes on to say that a most significant demographic trend of the past 20 years is the explosive growth of Hispanics. Now at 50 million—almost one in six Americans—Hispanics have more than doubled their numbers in 1990.

The Hispanic boom spread far beyond traditional immigrant gateways like California and Florida, and is altering the American landscape in states such as Kansas and North Carolina.

Source: tiamultibriefs.com, www.usatoday.com

For a more informative look at the Hispanic growth and opportunity, check out this story by Lili Gil on The Huffington Post – includes video.

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What’s Keeping You from Succeeding in the Baking Business?

Owning a Bakery is NOT just a job, it is an adventure. Don’t go it alone.

[SCHAUMBURG (CHICAGO), IL – August 11, 2011] – Meet BoB. BoB is your friend and as your friend, he’s going to do you a huge favor and share the perfect recipe for starting, owning and operating your own baking business.

So, who or what is BoB? BoB is the Business of Baking for Beginners Seminar that will teach effective tricks of the trade and behind-the-scenes knowledge that only comes with extensive years of experience.

Taught by vetted pros of the industry, the seminar is designed for aspiring bakers who are looking at entering the baking industry, as well as people in their first three years in the industry. The seminar will give them skill sets that will help them thrive, not just survive.

“I wish somebody could have helped us in the beginning.” Larry Merritt, bakery owner and founding member of The RPIA Group, said, “It was just plain hard – too many long days for too little money and costly mistakes! We need to try and make a difference for the new folks in the industry,” he said.

The Business of Baking for Beginners Seminar takes place on October 1 – 2, 2011 before the All Thing Baking 2011 Conference & Exposition October 2 – 4, both held in Schaumburg, Illinois.

The ALL Thing Baking Show (http://www.allthingsbaking.org) is the perfect follow-up to the BoB seminar and will polish the education experience. Since Schaumburg is only 7 miles from O’Hare Airport (ORD), this can be done in a few short days.

BoB is being held by the industry-savvy baking veterans of the RPIA Group. Celebrating their 10th year, RPIA Group is an assembly of progressive bakers that: relate as a peer group; share buying power to lower costs; enjoy rebates; and help with learning curves.

The Business of Baking for Beginners Seminar
Date: October 1-2, 2011
Place: Embassy Suites Hotel, Schaumburg (Chicago), IL
For Event Details & Registration: www.BusinessofBakingNow.com
Presented by: The RPIA Group

Date: October 2-4, 2011
Place: Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center
Location: Schaumburg (Chicago), IL
For Information: www.allthingsbaking.org

During the seminar certified Master Bakers (CMBs) from around the nation will impart knowledge worth tens of thousands of dollars to entrepreneurs who want to explore joining the baking industry; or those looking to enhance their baking business.

At the two-day Business of Baking for Beginners Seminar, industry experts will provide key secrets on topics including:

• Opening a Store Outline – Experts & Contracts
• Great Distributor Relations
• Hiring Right Day One
• Marketing Boards – Great Value for You
• Concept to Reality and Types of Bakeries
• Social Marketing – Starting Right
And more!
“In the baking industry, the mistakes made during the first two years can mean the difference between success and failure,” Rick Crawford said, co-founder of RPIA Group. “Our presenters will bring a specific knowledge and expertise that will help attendees shorten their learning curve.”

Seating is limited, and a sellout is expected, so signing up soon is important. More information and registration can be found on the website www.BusinessofBakingNow.com.

“Coaching is a key, even companies that have been around for 30 years need fresh, honest eyes,” Crawford said.


Founded in 2001, RPIA Group has become a virtual co-op that empowers its members not only in purchasing power, but in intellectual pursuits. By uniting retail bakers, RPIA has been able to capitalize on the concentrated buying power represented by its members. RPIA offers more than purchasing programs. Since each member has their own experience and expertise, RPIA shares intellectual property as well. As a result, the RPIA Group is increasing growth, development and profitability for its membership by sharing and seeking innovative opportunities and strategies.

Currently, membership in RPIA is limited to retail bakers whose annual revenues are more the $1 million. In addition, members commit to paying all invoices within 30 days of receipt. In ten short years, the RPIA Group has grown from five to 95 plus members. For information about the RPIA Group visit www.rpiausa.org or contact Rick Crawford via phone at (800) 921-6108 or via email at rick.crawford@rpiausa.org.

For more information, please contact:

Rick Crawford, CMB
The RPIA Group
P.O. Box 803
Westfield, IN 46074
(800) 921-6108
eMail: rick.crawford@rpiausa.org

Deborah Daily
Buckaroo Marketing | New Media
7987 Wolford Court, Suite 200
Fishers, IN 46038
(877) 344-0290
eMail: dldaily@gobuckaroo.com

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