People have many ways of dealing with cold winter weather. 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. Our friends up North have a few suggestions.
For instance, Canadian bakeries are particularly familiar with winter’s role in customer flow. Sharon Landry, co-owner of the Village Harvest Bakery in London, Ontario, Canada says, “We are constantly watching the weather. It affects everything we do as a bakery.” They take preemptive measures to ensure they still have successful days even during bad conditions.
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.
Meanwhile, in the States, bakeries follow a similar format. For places like Standard Baking Company in Portland, Maine, this means keeping business as usual. “We almost always stay open, we never close for snow. The last few winters have been really serious, record setting snowstorms, but in general we are able to make it through without closing. 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.