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Business During Lockdown: Top Chef Expert Tips!

Our Expert In-House Chefs have come together to answer few of the most pressing questions asked by professional bakers during lockdown times. Scroll to read more.

top chefs

1. Tips for professional home bakers that could help with their baking business.

Chef Dennis:

  1. Invest in packaging - Every product needs customised packaging.
  2. Innovative menu - Avoid having a menu with items that have repetitive ingredients.
  3. Use good quality ingredients - This is important for customer retention and word of mouth.

Chef Roland:

  1. Collaborate with delivery platforms like Zomato/Swiggy - A platform like the above is needed during these times. With good ratings, this helps you capture the market better. It also comes across as professional and helps increase trust and credibility among customers.
  2. Look for opportunities - Be it a playschool, school, local supermarkets or closely shops. There could be a business or partnership opportunity lying somewhere.

Chef Naheed:

Choose Raw materials wisely. Keep the recipe standard and lead to uniform outcome of the end product. Maintain customer relationships.

Chef Ashian:

  1. Be active on social media i.e. Instagram, Facebook. Engage with your audience by sharing stories and posts.
  2. It's that time of the year to get back to studies about flavours, new concepts, new trends in the market.
  3. Work on SOPs* for smooth functioning of your kitchen.
  4. Keep practising. Your art is in your hands, so keep them busy.
too many bakery items

2. What should bakeries do during lockdown to maintain a business?

Chef Dennis:

The importance of healthiness and immunity is growing, especially for bread with consumers increasing their intake. More focus on health-related products would help maintain footfalls during lockdown.

Chef Roland:

As there are restrictions on movement, cater to your customers where they are. Get more active on social media & activate WhatsApp. This will help customers connect with you easily. Give the best service via free delivery and ensure customer receives exactly what they order. This is important when it comes to creating an impression. Come up with new recipes which should include seasonal delicacies that fit your customers' budget.

Chef Naheed:

Keep updating your menus with new innovative ideas of products which will keep your customers hooked.

Chef Ashian:

Keep a close eye on daily inventory that you put on your shelves. Try and bake your bakery’s all-time favourites. Follow SOP*.

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3. How to order/buy/store raw materials efficiently during the lockdown?

Chef Roland:

Local distributors play an important role. Connecting well with them will aid your needs. It would not be feasible for them to deliver small quantities multiple times as we are all unaware of what restrictions will happen tomorrow. So, plan well and order a good quantity keeping in mind the dates of expiry and the quantum of orders.

Chef Naheed:

Ordering premixes helps you keep the quality of your product uniform/standard as compared to raw ingredients we usually order. Maintain a hygienic environment for the storage of your product to eliminate the possibility of spoilage as much as possible.

Chef Ashian:

Always follow FIFO**. Order as per need. Store your inventory as per standard, raw materials tend to go bad sooner during summer. Maintain a book for records. Tag your ingredients and label them for proper FIFO**. This is some great advice for all your professional bakers out there. We hope this would have resolved most of your doubts. Do let us know if you have any more questions for us to answer.

Additionally, do not forget to check out the 6 Ms of success for a bakery business during lockdown here.

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4. How to maintain customer relations during the lockdown?

Chef Dennis:

Bakery should send regular product updates via social media. For example, send them updates when a new hamper or dessert range is launched. You could also keep them informed about the business front. Let them know about offers or free home delivery. Keep them interested.

Chef Roland:

Speak to your regular customers, get feedback, understand what is required during such a time, ask them about their area restrictions, make notes. This will help your team to come up with more ideas to be better and more memorable for your customers.
Also, post new recipes, tell them about new additions to your menu. This will make the customers more inquisitive.

Chef Naheed:

By being ready to take an order and delivery every single time. To listen to their queries with utter patience and providing solutions as soon as possible.

Chef Ashian:

Be super active on social media. Offers and discount should be given to customers to keep them engaged.

desserts

5. How to not come across as a salesperson who is trying to sell their dessert during the lockdown?

Chef Roland:

Do not believe that only discounts will attract the customers. You could create a customer loyalty program. Why not offer perks for regular customers? It gives them an incentive to drop by or order regularly. It could be as simple as a freebie after a certain number of purchases. Another approach is a system that lets customers accumulate points with every purchase that they can use for a discount or free offer once they reach a certain amount.

Chef Naheed:

Providing free samples of your new products to ask their opinions will make them feel important and let them know that you value them.

Chef Ashian:

  • Be informative in your posts, messages, stories.
  • Be confident in the products you share.
  • Assure them of the safety and hygiene procedures you are following at your bakery.
  • Do not overdo or oversell.

Thanks to all our chefs for these expert comments!

We hope all this will be very useful for you and your bakery business. If you have any specific questions, do leave a comment with us on our social media handles and we will get back to you at the earliest.

Meanwhile, you could check out some really cool summer recipes here by our top chefs.

*SOP - Standard Operating Procedure - A step by step process of how to run your bakery business efficiently.
**FIFO - The First in First Out Method - This method assumes that the oldest products in a company's inventory have been sold first.