Handling the Holidays

Is it really the holidays if there isn’t a warm pie, iced cookie, or another fresh-baked goodie within reach? November to the end of the year brings a massive uptick in bakery business—but this isn’t news to you. You’re busy thinking about how you’re going to manage the high production demands and deluge of orders on the horizon. Our mission is to help bakers like you streamline your business, so we’ve compiled these tips to help you handle the holidays!

The Power of Prepackaging

The holidays are a great time for bakers to flex their creativity and show off with beautiful product displays. However, not every customer wants to handpick their pastries or spend much time in your bakery at all. They’re looking for a quicker option, which is why prepackaging is essential during the holiday rush.

By offering products that are boxed up and ready to go, you can increase your sales by simplifying your customers’ choices and getting them back to their holiday shopping quickly. Some bakers might balk at the way prepackaging interferes with the experience of visiting a bakery, but you can let customers take home a piece of that experience by adding your bakery’s brand of flair to your packages. Match various items to create spreads ready for a holiday party or sell personal gift baskets. Prepackaged products are also great as corporate gifts.

Prepackaged products are also great as corporate gifts. Many companies send winter holiday gifts to their clients, partners and employees. These gifts not only spread holiday cheer and appreciation, they may be tax-deductible as well. You should know that organizations can deduct gifts up to $25 for each individual. That might help you as you choose goods to prepackage and how to price them. 

Match various items to create spreads ready for a holiday party or sell personal gift baskets. Get creative and use prepackaging to make your busy season a little easier.

Keep Orders Organized During the Holiday Rush

The days just before Thanksgiving and Christmas can be some of the most stressful. Everyone wants a fresh pumpkin pie to serve after Thanksgiving dinner, and a month later everyone wants warm cookies to leave for Santa. How are you supposed to keep up?

Managing orders on this scale requires a detailed plan and an organized system. Set deadlines and realistic timelines so you and your customers are on the same page about your capacity, especially for custom orders. BakeSmart’s Production features can help you keep track of exactly what to make and when to make it. You’ll be able to stay on top of every order and also know when you’ve reached capacity for production. Say goodbye to messy paper trails and unwelcome surprises.

Keep Your Helpers Happy

This time of year is perfect for visiting loved ones and generally taking a break. Don’t forget: these things matter to your bakery staff too! Your team will be working hard during the next few months, so you’ll need to make sure they’re given time to recharge and enjoy the holidays. Scheduling shifts can become more daunting this time of year, but with proper planning and open communication everything will work out fine.

First of all, be transparent from the start: depending on how schedules play out, it may not be possible for employees to get the day off for every date they’ve requested. Cushion the blow by asking for vacation requests early on and doing your best to fairly honor everyone’s schedules. It’s very possible there will be no hiccups thanks to employees taking part in diverse holidays or celebrating on off-days. Either way, giving your team a balanced and thoughtful schedule in advance will do wonders for morale as the busy season approaches.

Know When to Open… and When to Take a Break

Most of the year, you probably have a good idea of when the daily rushes and lulls occur for your bakery. However, things get much more tricky around the holidays since people are on vacation from their typical routines. Regulars come in at unusual hours and new customers randomly appear. You’ll need to keep a finger on the pulse of your bakery in real-time. Use any historical data you have to give you a leg up on planning for holiday rush times. This will help you understand if and when it makes sense to expand or reduce hours for the most value.

BakeSmart can pull historical data that analyzes operating hours and orders to give you optimized schedule. This is how bakers can work smarter, not harder.

Generally, Know Your Limits

The holiday season can be crazy or profitable (and likely both). Throughout it, you’ll need to keep your eye on: payroll, overtime, production time, ingredients, and all the other tips we’ve shared in this list—but don’t worry! Planning ahead for all of these business elements will help your bakery run more smoothly. It doesn’t do any good to take a large number of orders only to find that you can’t fulfill them in a timely manner or without overworking yourself and your staff.

If you need help, BakeSmart helps keep track of your product and ingredient inventories so you know what to make and what to buy more of. It also assists with time card tracking and integrates with QuickBooks to simplify payroll. Your bakery will be streamlined and optimized with BakeSmart’s library of features, and you’ll have no trouble handling the holidays.

Even for bakers, the season should be about friends, family, and fun. Schedule a free demo of BakeSmart today to see how it can help run your business so you can focus on what really matters: spreading fresh-baked holiday cheer.

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