For David Ortega, owner of Lola’s Market, with six locations in Northern California, new product development is a two-way street. He considers BakeMark an equal partner in the process of developing new products that will attract more customers and increase Lola’s overall business.
“BakeMark brings us a lot of good ideas,” Ortega says. “We always try whatever they bring along to us. We started doing more cupcakes, for example, and we started making candy apples for the holidays.”
One of the key reasons he believes that they have been successful is that BakeMark works with them on an ongoing basis to identify key trends in the consumer market and helps them develop products that mainstream customers will demand.
For example, Lola’s introduced flan pie for the holidays. This involved creating a dessert made of pie crust and flan for the filling. Lola’s also created a new chocolate flan cake that is very popular, featuring a layer of vanilla cake with chocoflan on top.
In similar fashion, Rica Panadería, which has three locations in San Jose, California, developed a creative new product that they call pan de feria, which was inspired by festival breads in Mexico. Pan de feria is made with two layers of sweet bread on the outside and an inside layer of a sweet custard-like filling.
“We are the only ones to make this bread,” says Estella Ortiz, who owns Rica Panadería with her husband, Jesus.
Rica Panadería also focuses on impulse sales by offering packaging sweet goods on the sales counter. One popular product is known as cocada coconut candy, a mini pastry made with coconut, sugar, syrup, egg whites and orange flavor.
Making an impact
It’s important for you to recognize how consumer purchasing patterns are changing and how critical it is for you to generate customer excitement in your stores through new products and eye-catching designs. Nearly half of all small and medium-size businesses, including bakeries, in the United States sell their products and services online, and among those that do, 15% of their sales now come from the online channels. Thus, social media is the gateway to building tremendous brand recognition for retail bakeries looking to stand out.
Stephen Chavez, technical product manager for BakeMark, points out that BakeMark follows bakery innovation influencers on social media to keep its finger on the pulse, in terms of what is trending and what is possibly the next wave. This allows BakeMark to share and promote new ideas and designs on a regular basis with retail bakers, through its sales force in the field, through its website (yourbakemark.com) and through social media.
In addition, BakeMark conducts product training sessions with customers to not only share innovative ideas, but also show them how to produce and incorporate some new ideas and concepts into their offerings.
“We believe in not only sharing new information, but also showing you how you can implement it for your bakery,” Chavez says.
Southern California retailer Porto’s Bakery & Café, a longtime BakeMark customer, serves more than 6 million customers a year at its five locations in Burbank, Glendale, Downey, Buena Park and West Covina, California, its newest store that opened in April 2019.
The bakery’s modern-style building offers a welcoming environment for customers, featuring a butterfly roof design and skylights. Inside, Italian showcase cabinets highlight the bakery’s exquisite pastries. Three new offerings exclusive to the West Covina location are the new Mango Tres Leches, Chocolate Croissant Twist and Fresh Blueberry Croissant.
“It’s just something new and unique to start West Covina with,” says Jennifer Wells, Porto’s corporate marketing manager. “When we opened Buena Park, we started with unique items like Ojo de Tigre, Double Chocolate Muffin, and Quesadilla Individual, and now they’re permanent menu items and doing very well.”
For the winter holidays, Porto’s recently introduced a new version of its famous potato balls with a new turkey and gravy potato ball. This product is available for a limited time only, which helps increase its demand.
A limited-time offer is any kind of discount, deal, special gift or reward that a customer will receive when they make a purchase from your bakery during a certain time period.
For bakeries looking to stir up new business by leveraging this unique promotional opportunity, limited-time offers (LTOs) and engaging social media campaigns are a couple of sure tickets to success.
Lizzy Freier, managing editor, menu analysis, at Technomic, says that through five-year analysis of new product trends in the foodservice industry, limited-time offers are far and away the shining star, tallying a whopping 63.9% growth on average. “People are looking for new innovative products,” she says.