Everything You Need to Know About Bakery Inventory

Think of all the things you need to run a bakery—the list likely starts with an oven, trained bakers, and plenty of mixing spoons. As any seasoned bakery owner will tell you, this list could go on forever. But no successful bakery can gain its footing without a reliable, clear inventory system. Keeping track of inventory is rarely easy and often chaotic. But never fear—BakeSmart is here to help you get organized during this overwhelming process. From bakery inventory templates to a world of integration options, we have the tools you need. 

Man checking Bakery Inventory

The Basics of Bakery Inventory 

At its core, a bakery is about selling products.  But before you can sell delicious pastries and cookies, you need to know what you have in stock. This is where bakery inventory management techniques come in. It’s one thing to have a list of what’s in the back room, but it’s another thing entirely to understand goods in and goods out, bakery inventory spreadsheets, and knowing when to make your next purchase order. Thankfully, BakeSmart software can guide you through the basics of inventory planning: 

  • Purchasing Inventory—Making purchase orders is a delicate balance. You want to have plenty of ingredients in stock, but you don’t want to order too many perishables that may go bad within days. A solid inventory system should keep track of when you last made a purchase, how much you ordered, and how much you ended up using within a specific time frame.  Once you know these details, you can plan future orders accordingly. 
  • Managing Inventory—Just as important as buying new inventory is knowing where it’s going. Your inventory system should include specific fields for noting the location of items. You should also be able to easily input when a certain item is used up. Making immediate note of out-of-stock items will ensure your customers aren’t clamoring for pies when you’re out of cherry filling! 
  • Spreadsheets and Templates—Some people love them, and some don’t—working with spreadsheets can be polarizing, but it’s necessary to keep your bakery inventory running optimally. In reality, using a bakery inventory template can make your life ten times easier in the long run. Once you understand how to navigate BakeSmart’s templates, they’ll make managing new inventory and integrating your operations much simpler. Instead of using an Excel template to manage your inventory, use specialized software to integrate inventory with other aspects of your business. 
  • Automation—Everything is smarter these days, and even inventory management is automated! Automating your inventory system can save you tons of time and allows you to spend more of your day cooking up some cakes for your clientele. With automation, your system can quickly tell you when an item is sold out, an ingredient needs restocking, or something is on the verge of expiration. 
  • Integrations—Top-tier bakery inventory systems can integrate with your other systems. This means your inventory list can “talk” with your accounting records and staff management documents. Allowing for greater integration means a better understanding of the whole supply chain and the connection between different aspects of your business. 
  • Expiration Management—No one likes spoiled milk, and you certainly don’t want to use it in your next batch of cookies. With BakeSmart on your side, you’ll know immediately when an item has expired. Our airtight inventory management resources have fields where you can indicate expiration dates, so you’ll always know when an ingredient is about to go bad and a new order needs to be placed. 

BakeSmart’s Production Tools Are Perfect for Your Operation

What exactly does BakeSmart software offer small bakery owners? The answer lies in what your needs are. Every bakery is faced with a different set of challenges, which means you’ll need a unique approach to find success. Fortunately, our software is endlessly customizable. We have an array of bakery management templates that will get you started on the right foot. Here’s a preview of some of our favorite features: 

Detailed View

Sometimes you need more than just the basic information. For those times, there’s our detailed view. Using this feature, you can tell how much of an ingredient you need for a given recipe, down to specific partials. If you want to use detailed view to its full potential, you can also input shelf numbers, rack locations, shelf life, and ideal temperatures. 

Track Inventory Automatically 

Nothing’s worse than inputting tiny pieces of individual data. With BakeSmart, you can track your inventory automatically. You’ll see in real-time as you run low on products and get new ingredients shipped in. This feature is also a great way to understand the financial side of things. You can view a bakery expenses spreadsheet that shows you exactly how much it costs to produce a given item—accounting for ingredients, equipment, and labor.

See Nearly Any Detail You Need 

BakeSmart prides itself on being comprehensive above all else. Thanks to our advanced software, you can view nearly any detail you may need. Quickly see the shelf life of the ingredient you just purchased or look up recipes to make sure your new hire is being trained correctly. With BakeSmart, you can also confirm: 

  • Batch status
  • On-hand ingredients
  • Need for partial products 
  • Required quantities of ingredients
  • Partial batch calculations 
Bakers checking Bakery Inventory

Best Practices for Bakery Management

Managing a bakery isn’t always as straightforward as it appears. While it seems like all cakes and pies on the outside, it’s a whole lot of work when you’re running your own business. But never fear, BakeSmart can make bakery management much easier on you and your team. Read up on some best practices for these crucial aspects of your business: 

Staff Management

The first step to happy returning customers is an engaged staff. But as your bakery grows, it may become more difficult to adequately manage your team. Have no fear—there are plenty of strategies for cultivating a positive environment for all employees. Start with thorough training, make room for mistakes, and take care of conflict right away. Don’t forget to lead by example! If your employees see you as a dedicated, helpful person, they’ll be more likely to mirror your behavior. And last but not least, always stay on top of communication and ensure all team members are on the same page. 

Customer Retention

Just getting people in the door isn’t always enough to ensure your bakery will succeed in the long term. You’ll need to retain those customers and earn repeat visits! Customer retention can be tough, but when you make it a priority, you’ll start to see the same faces coming in the door each week. Here are a few ideas to keep them coming back: 

  • Diverse Products—You probably have a few staple products that are on the menu each week—that’s great! But don’t forget the importance of variety. Offer unique options every once in a while, and try out some specialty pastries to pique new interests. 
  • Loyalty Programs—Who doesn’t love renewing points for a free treat? Implementing a loyalty program at your bakery is a great way to encourage customers to come back. You could offer loyal patrons discounts, free cookies, or exclusive access to deals. 
  • Keep in Touch—Everyone is busy nowadays, and businesses have to fight to stay at the forefront of customers’ minds. Be sure you’re staying in touch with your customers via newsletters, social media, or community events. 


We mentioned that keeping in touch with your client base is crucial to customer retention. It’s also the core idea behind bakery marketing! In order to attract new customers, you need to put yourself out there. While that concept can be daunting at first, it’s well worth the smiling faces of brand-new patrons. Take a look at some strategies for maximizing your marketing efforts: 

  • Email Marketing—Send a sweet surprise right to your customers’ email inboxes. Write up monthly or weekly newsletters to talk about new products, or blast out coupons to your loyal customers. You could even offer a discount code in exchange for signing up for emails. Email marketing is an easy, inexpensive way to spread the word about your desserts. You may even be able to find a bakery template for email marketing online. 
  • Social Media—Social media isn’t just a pastime anymore—it’s a vital marketing tool. Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Tik Tok to get the word out to new customers. Each platform has a slightly different audience, so make sure to choose the one (or multiple) that fits best with your unique customer base. 
  • Events and Fundraisers—Spread the word about your bakery by getting out into the community. Showing up at fundraisers and other events can expose people to your baked delights who otherwise never would have visited your brick-and-mortar location. Ask around the community for upcoming events, like craft shows, music festivals, and marathons. 
  • Update Your Website—An aesthetically pleasing website goes a long way to attract customers. After all, if you find an outdated, garish website, you’re probably not likely to visit the business in person. Revamp your website and brand with consistent colors, fonts, and an easy-to-navigate online storefront. 

Change Management

No matter how you slice it, change is bound to come eventually. Maybe a crucial team member moves on to a new opportunity, or perhaps you have the chance to open a new location. Whatever the case for you, the outcome of change is all in how you manage it. First and foremost, be sure to have a change management plan in place before the changes even start happening. This will allow you to proceed with confidence and communicate clearly to your team. Your plan should account for things such as new training, potential conflicts, metrics for measuring success, and ways to recognize a job well done by your team. You can always break out one of BakeSmart’s bakery management spreadsheets to manage all the moving parts of a big change. 

Conquer the Chaos with BakeSmart

Running a bakery doesn’t have to be a headache! Instead of stressing, stop to smell the pastries with BakeSmart. Our software is designed to help you properly manage inventory and conquer the chaos that comes with running a small business. If you’re spending too much time inputting purchase orders or always seem to be running low on inventory, our software can simplify the ordering process down to a few clicks. Soon enough, you’ll have new inventory piling in. Schedule a demo today to see what BakeSmart can do for you! If you don’t love it in 30 days, it’s your money back.