Bakery Operations and the Customer Experience

As we look to the future of our industry, we can rest assured that from the simple staples to the sublimely decadent, consumers across the globe and from all walks of life will always want – and need – delicious baked goods. We should, however, be aware that consumer behaviour will continue to evolve – and we should be prepared to evolve with them, by tweaking our processes and offerings to remain current, viable and valuable.

From an offerings perspective, bakeries of all persuasions are building better-for-you products into their offerings – for example, allergen sensitivities are pervasive and of more concern to a greater number of people each year. While still niche in South Africa, this is something to embrace as consumer awareness grows and our middle class expands. Food and bakery e-commerce has become a significant contributor in first world markets, on the provision that goods arrive fresh and in perfect condition. This not only applies to traditional e-commerce models, but to quick
Mr Delivery. While this may be out of reach for many South Africans, it’s certainly something to consider in the medium to longer term.

While freshness and taste will always result in consumer loyalty, appetite appeal remains a key driver for consumers in all income brackets. There’s no substitute for tantalising, appealing product in beautiful displays that are colourful, neat and fresh-looking. To grow variety, we should consider sampling new bakery items to the consumer to make new lines viable.

The theory is that once consumers have tasted for free, they may consider a deviation from their favourite purchase next time around. This requires persistence and zero ROI on test lines until a saturation point has been reached and the new line can be included in retail at margin.

In an increasingly digital world, we have to contend with losing human contact to communicating via social media, instant messaging and chat bots. Indeed, consumer interaction is easier for some from behind a keyboard – especially when it comes to negative experiences or even complaints. Worse, some may use these channels to complain ‘anonymously’ to receive vouchers and freebies! Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the original FaceTime platform is still our most valuable: Looking a consumer in the eye, responding attentively and with a smile, and ensuring that the consumer experience is holistically excellent. We need to keep our teams educated, motivated and energised to face the very people that
provide our income!

On the subject of the customer experience we need to also remain cognisant of the full experience: Bakeries of any type are multi-sensory and we should be celebrating aromas, taste and visual appeal using texture and colour. Have you considered warmer, more atmospheric lighting, your staff uniforms and even bring the bakery closer to the front of your operation?

Trends in the baking industry are largely product based – keeping abreast of international food trends will drive this for us. We can, however, keep our operations viable by staying versatile, embracing innovation at whatever level we can, all the while staying focused on
service. And of course, you’ll need a partner that delivers consistently outstanding flours and prepared mixes, time after time – so make it Supreme!

Supreme Testimonial – Sunbake Bread

Supreme Testimonial – Sunbake Bread

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