Bakery customization goes well beyond writing someone’s name on a birthday cake. From special frosting flavors, different pastry shapes and sizes, colors matching a holiday or brand, and much more, bakery businesses can and should embrace customization options to increase sales and gain brand recognition.
Creative Customization Options
The rise of social media has fueled the demand for custom bakery products. Customers want unique, beautiful cakes, cookies, and other baked goods to share with friends, family, and followers. Social media also allows customers and businesses to discover a world of creative inspiration, which increases expectations.
Research has found that people are willing to pay more for product personalization. If a bakery can make a cake look just like a customer’s favorite pet or add favorite nostalgic flavors to pastry fillings, these special touches bring people in and get them talking.
Here are a few common ways bakery businesses can customize baked goods.
Filling and Frosting Flavors
While your bakery most likely currently offers a variety of flavors, adding custom and unique frosting and filling flavors will make your customer’s bakery order feel extra special. For custom orders, consider asking about nostalgic flavors your customers may love to try.
Consider offering custom shapes if your discerning customer is hard to impress with a round or rectangular cake or cookie. Keep a variety of cake pans and cookie cutters in stock to allow your customers and bakery staff to come up with creative ideas.
An easy method of product personalization is matching the colors of baked goods to company brand colors, wedding colors, holiday themes, and more.
Size options offer fun and functional variations, from mini cupcakes to jumbo muffins. The right size option will depend on the size of the event and what additional products and treats are on offer. Mini and extra-large pastries also offer a touch of whimsy and will stand out against traditionally sized-baked goods.
Dietary Needs and Restrictions
The ability to customize products based on dietary needs and restrictions, such as offering vegan options, gluten-free pastries, and allergy and nut-free options, can set a bakery business apart from the competition. If your bakery does not currently offer options to fit dietary restrictions, adding this type of product customization can be hugely beneficial and will expand your customer base.
Tips for Getting Into Customization
Cater to Your Demographic
Research your local customer base to determine which customization options to start offering. Keep track of what your current customers are asking for and what competing bakery businesses in your area are selling.
One easy way to determine what your customers want is to ask them. Consider creating a customer survey to send out through your established email newsletter or to share on social media platforms. This outreach is a great way to discover unique or trending flavors or new products to add to the menu.
Product personalization may cost your business more money upfront, but upselling custom orders will increase profit. Be sure to always include extra costs not only for more expensive ingredients but also for skilled labor. Customizing cakes and other pastry products with more intricate designs will mean hiring more experienced employees.
Start From Frozen and Pre-Made Products
A great way to add baked goods customization options while keeping costs down is to start with frozen and pre-made products. Partnering with a frozen bakery supplier to provide frozen cookie dough, dough rolls, icing, and other bakery products can give you high-quality product bases to start from.
For example, consider using wholesale icing from trusted icing suppliers to create your own range of custom icing and filling flavors. This would allow your bakery business to offer unique products while reducing production costs and keeping quality consistent. Frozen bakery products from high-quality sources provide convenient shortcuts to baked goods customization.
Set Realistic Expectations
Creating custom orders and off-menu baked goods will likely take more time and cost than standard offerings. Set realistic expectations with your customers so they are aware and expect any production delays and upcharges. This is especially true during busy seasons such as big holidays.
Spread the Word
Once your bakery business decides on customization options, ensure your customers and potential customers know about it. Add custom designs to in-store display cases. Share photographs and behind-the-scenes footage of customized orders on social media platforms. Encourage customers to share their photos and reviews as well.
Customization can be beneficial for any bakery business. From pastry flavors to flatbread toppings, intricate cake designs, frosting colors, cookie shapes, and more, personalized baked goods can help a bakery gain attention and upsell on sales.
When considering which customization options to offer in your own business, first talk to your customers and local demographic to gauge interest, consider partnering with wholesale pastry suppliers to streamline the production process, and be sure to set realistic expectations on costs and production time.