While it's warmer than usual in many areas of the country this December, it won't be long before these same areas will be dealing with the harshness of the winter season. People have many ways of dealing with the cold. Some may choose to stay inside and bundle up, while others look to get comfort from warm food and beverages.
These people may seek the friendly confines of their local bakery or café. The cozy atmosphere of these businesses is a welcome respite from harsh winter weather.
But how do the bakeries themselves deal with the unpredictability of this season? When inclement conditions persist, it can affect the number of customers willing to make the journey to their local bakeries.
Planning ahead is a smart strategy. Many bakeries anticipate that customers will look to stock up on baked goods the day before a winter storm hits. They watch the weather closely and make extras for the rise in business those days.
“I do find if they are forecasting for a storm, definitely you know you’ll have to make an extra batch of bread or cinnamon rolls because everybody’s banking on it being a storm day the next day and everybody’s going to be home that day,” says Saylor Hyde, owner of Mary’s Bakery in Cornwall, P.E.I., Canada.
For places like Standard Baking Company in Portland, Maine, dealing with winter weather means keeping business as usual. “We almost always stay open, we never close for snow. We track the weather really closely and keep in touch with our employees to make sure they can get in safely,” says co-owner Alison Pray.
Bakeries may also choose to run specials or promotions on these days in order to make up the difference in any lost customers from the weather. Discounts are one of the most traditional ways bakery businesses promote their products and services. They can even be tied into holidays or observances. Keep up-to-date on food “holidays” that you can use to offer specials.
The U.S. Small Business Adminstration provides several tips for preparing your business for winter storms. Check your insurance coverage for protection against winter hazards, sign up for real-time weather alerts through the FEMA mobile app, establish an emergency communication plan, and develop a post-storm snow-removal plan.