Energize Employees
Employees at Nona's Sweets Bakery Café in Charlotte, North Carolina are surprised with a small cake on their birthdays.

Your employees’ efforts are directly tied to your bakery’s bottom line. While you undoubtedly put a lot of effort into hiring just the right people to staff your bakery, even the best employees can settle into a routine of monotony. So, how can you change that? How can your energize your employees and get them excited to sell? These six tips can help.

1. Foster a Sense of Community

Take a cue from Nona’s Sweets Bakery Café in Charlotte, NC, and make employees feel like they’re a part of your bakery’s “family.” That internal sense of community will then trickle outward.

“Our team is very proud of the heritage and family atmosphere we have at the bakery, and it shows every day,” said Dominica Clementi, co-owner of Nona’s Sweets Bakery Café. “Each client that comes into our bakery has chosen to come in based on the relationships we’ve built and the reputation that each one of us has worked hard to establish in our community.”

2. Model Good Behavior

Leaders set the tone for their employees, and they can inspire passion as quickly as they can extinguish it. For example, say an unexpected task keeps you and another employee at the bakery an hour late. If you start grumbling about it, chances are your employee will complain, too. However, if you instead crank up the music and put a smile a face, your employee will likely follow suit. The bottom line is this: Whatever you expect from your employees you should first expect from yourself.

3. Implement Recognition Programs

Small gestures of recognition can go a long way toward making your employees feel appreciated.

“We have quarterly lunches where we all bring in a dish to pass around,” Clementi said. “And if it’s your birthday, you’ll be surprised with a small cake and our (sort of) harmonious voices singing happy birthday to you! I’m very appreciative of our employees’ efforts toward treating this company as if it were their own.”

4. Continuously Educate

Clementi teaches her employees to appreciate what they’re selling and to understand which ingredients make their products better than their competitors’ products. She also has her employees taste every product so that later, when they’re working with customers, they’ll be able to “paint a picture with their words.”

“We have to be able to educate our customers about all we do and why choosing to shop with us is worth it,” Clementi said. 

5. Use Promotions to Your Advantage

When customers feel like they are getting a deal, they will be more likely to purchase additional items.

“We run specials like ‘Buy 11 and get the 12th free,’ and, ‘Free beverage with the purchase of a food item from our café. ’”

6. Teach the Art of the Upsell

Lastly, if your employees are underperforming on the sales front, it could be because they lack confidence. One of the best things you can do for them – and for your bakery’s bottom line – is to teach them to upsell by following these simple steps:

Get chatty. By becoming an active participant in conversations with customers (asking questions and offering information) rather than remaining passive (nodding and smiling), employees can learn valuable information about the customer’s wants and needs.

Don’t assume a price limit. Teach your employees to peddle products without fear that the eventual price tag will freak out the customers. Customers will speak up when they’ve reached their limit.

Suggest specific “accessories.” Never let a customer buy a muffin without a coffee or a donut without a few extra to share. In other words, teach your employees to suggest specific, complementary add-ons. Customers will be much more likely to pull the trigger if they’re asked, “Would you like a fresh fruit smoothie with that?” than if they’re asked, “Can I get you anything else?”

Hand things over. Psychologically, it’s much more difficult for people to say no to a purchase after an item is in their hands. Obviously, only do this with packaged products!

Provide reassurance. At the end of the sale, teach your employees to reinforce the customer’s purchase by saying something like, “You’ll be hooked after the first bite. I can’t wait to hear what you think!” This will establish a bond and encourage a repeat visit.

By following to these steps, you will make your employees feel appreciated and instill a sense of confidence that will surely spark a new energy.