How do you handle customer spikes at your bakery during your peak season?
Increased Staff, Well-prepared with Ingredients and Paper Supplies
Our peak season is October. While our busiest day and week is Thanksgiving, our busiest month historically is October.
We have seen many October seasons. Hence, we strategically plan ahead to avert any surprises. We typically ramp up our staffing needs in anticipation of the fall period, specifically from October into November. We also ensure we are well prepared with both ingredients and our paper supplies.
We love Fall in NYC. It’s a truly busy, fun period for all of us. And now, with the pandemic in the rearview mirror, we are currently preparing for a very busy October.
Enough Well-Trained Staff
I own a small bakery. My shop is always busy during the holiday season. The number of customers increases by 90%, so I have to be prepared for that.
I make sure that I have enough staff working on each shift during this period and they are trained to deal with any emergency situations that may arise during their shift.
I also make sure that all my staff members are well-rested so they can work efficiently during this period. In addition, there are several other things that I do to ensure that our customers receive excellent service every time they visit us at our store.
Using an Online Ordering System
As we’re based in a [vacation] area, our peak seasons are any school holidays, but particularly Christmastime. We handle the spike in customers by ensuring that we have casual staff who can be available when the season hits and leaning on our online ordering system so that we can plan and manage the influx of orders without additional admin work behind the scenes.
For specific dates that we expect to be very busy such as Christmas Eve, our ordering system allows us to build a specific menu to be available for the day. We can limit the range and focus on a scale without putting too much pressure on our team. We take a similar approach to a whole season if we’re entering it short-staffed.
Seasonal Staff, Longer Working Hours, and Pre-production of Popular Items
The peak in sales for celebration cakes has always been in October. December is also a peak time for sales of all baked goods, celebratory and otherwise, as the biggest holiday month.
Typically, we try to introduce seasonal staff members. With an intense labor shortage, it has been increasingly difficult to keep up with the heavy volume of sales. These months usually require longer hours for the team, early planning, some pre-production of popular items, and developing a menu outline almost a month beforehand.
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