Every bakery and every neighborhood and location has its own personality. These personalities develop from a number of variables and include the people that frequent and live near the establishment. Once your bakery’s personality reveals itself, and the habits of those who are regular customers, setting up your hours of operation should come very naturally.
Of course you will just have to make a decision regarding certain holidays, and these decisions have both their ups and their downs. For example, most people like to spend Christmas and other winter holidays at home with family, but there could be a profitable upside to staying open on Christmas, and compromises can be made. Perhaps opening up for a few hours on Christmas morning to cover those last minute desserts that people need could be worth it.
Some bakeries work around the holidays. Porto’s Bakery & Café, with three locations in Downey, Burbank and Glendale, CA, stays open on Thanksgiving, but closes the day after. Staying open on Thanksgiving provides a tremendous opportunity for last minute sales and the day after Thanksgiving, a traditional retail shopping day, is slow to completely dead anyway.
Porto’s closes five days a year. New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Its business hours change on most holidays. On major holidays and on Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve it opens and closes earlier than normal. Hours on the day preceding a major holiday may also fluctuate.
Porto’s Downey location stays open the latest, its Burbank location closes a little bit earlier and the Glendale location closes earlier that both. Because Porto’s is established and understands that the dynamic of each store is different and unique, it’s figured out the schedule that works best for each store.
Remember also that staying open just to facilitate the occasional customer may very well cost you money in the long run. Consider the cost of electricity and employee wages vs. how much product will be sold. If you’re in a location with a lot of foot traffic on the weekends, staying open for the impulse buys might prove profitable. If not, it might serve you better to figure out when people stop coming in and close shortly thereafter.