Image courtesy of Europain
As director of business operations and development for Cafés Richard, a global leader in coffee solutions, Dominique Renault understands the blossoming opportunity that lies ahead for bakeries worldwide as they compete with coffeehouse cafes and other retailers seeking to lure in consumers with more distinctive beverage offerings.

One statistic shows that 73% of bakeries in Paris now offer coffee on the menu.

“The reason that a lot of bakers go into coffee is that a lot of cafes don’t feel comfortable (to the public),” Renault told a Europain audience during a Feb. 6 educational session in Paris. “Bakeries are very welcoming places. We see hot beverage corners (inside retail shops) that are very successful. For us, this is a real opportunity to introduce more technology and training. Bakeries and pastry shops are the experts. Our job is to provide them with coffee equipment and more — pretty much all solutions.”

Founded in 1898 and based in Gennevilliers in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, Cafés Richard serves 35,000 customers including cafes and hotels throughout France.

Panelists who spoke at the Feb. 6 educational session on the bakery-coffee shop opportunity agreed that bakeries can’t expect to make a difference in the marketplace if they simply add a small coffee machine with pods.

Bakers should offer hot beverages that consumers can’t make at home, such as “evolved coffees” and very frothy coffee drinks. This is where there is money to be made. “It means additional margins for the bakeries at the end of the day,” Renault says.

Thierry Bouvier, master baker and founder of My By Thierry Bouvier, says bakery owners must leverage the coffee opportunity and start by asking yourself one essential question.

“If you really want to have customers all day long, you need to offer these products, starting with coffee in the morning,” he says. “In the afternoon, we’re a tea salon with lunch and snacks. Our second location has become a true restaurant — 70% of our sales are food.”

At his bakery in Rennes, France, coffee is mainly a takeaway offering, as many customers buy a coffee and croissant to go. At their other location, hot beverages are a core business featuring branded, premium coffee, tea and hot cocoa. They make their own chocolate.

“We are trying to come up with new products on a regular basis,” Bouvier says. “We’re not just doing breakfast anymore. We offer snacks with hot or cold beverages.”

Bouvier says that using automated coffee machines enables their team to manage production better and have regularity in the products they offer.

He also points out there is another important opportunity for premium service to offices. “We are now delivering breakfasts to offices with a viennoiserie and coffee package for meetings. Having a delivery offer for breakfast is very important.”

It’s equally important to advertise your specials, the panelists agreed. “If it’s not seen, it’s not taken. Everything has to be smart and classy.”