How do you get and keep people coming into your bakery?
I really want to be a Pastry Chef. I would like to know how you keep customers when there is so many other choices for them to go to especially me living in New York City #entrepreneurship #baking #bakery
It really does start with the product. Make the best version of something you love to make--donuts, croissants, cakes, whatever. From there, recognize and appreciate your customers. Call them by their name, remember what they like, and thank them. People come back to places where they like the food and feel a connection.
That's an insightful question and one that many restaurant industry professionals struggle with on a daily basis.
As mentioned before, the first component is whether you bake things that are worth eating! Good food goes a long way in getting people to come in, even if you have long lines and an inconvenient location.
Which brings me to two other important aspects: service (for example how friendly you are, how long the lines are) and location (how easy it is to get to, and to some extent how many people can eat there and sit down).
Most pastry chefs just concentrate on the creation aspect of the food, and not the sales and the other aspects of running a pastry business. So I know you say you want to be a pasty chef but it sounds like to me you are also interested in restaurant management and other aspects of running a food business. You won't learn how to those other aspects well from just knowing how to bake, even if you become a fantastic pastry chef.
In fact, this is why many restaurants have a chef pair up with a "business partner" who is responsible for running the restaurant and handling the finance, so that the chef can just concentrate on the food.
Bake a ton, and give it out for free. Keep giving out free samples for the next year until you get people coming back to you saying, "I would like one too." The objective is to create demand for your pastries. If people aren't coming back for your free pastries, then something is wrong with your pastries and you should look into improving it.
It really does start with the product. Make the best version of something you love to make--donuts, croissants, cakes, whatever. From there, recognize and appreciate your customers. Call them by their name, remember what they like, and thank them. People come back to places where they love the food and feel a connection.
I have to agree with Conor on most of his points. You need the right combination of a product that is worth spending money on and coming back for. On top of that you need to find the right pricing for your products in the area you are opening up your store. If your product is great but overpriced customers might not come back as often as you want. If your price is too low your profit margins might be running to slim.
The other aspect to consider is location. Having a location where you get plenty of foot traffic and that has parking close by would be ideal as convenience is something customers do consider when deciding to which bakery of cafe to go to as well as product and pricing.
Also, having someone that can run the front store for you that understands how to build customer relationships and has the right personality for the type of store you want to open is important.
If you can master all 3 your chances have multiplied to maintain a good and loyal customer basis.