How To: Boost Your Bakery

Hazel Webb, bakery manager at Ludlow Food Centre, explains how she made it a success

“WHEN LUDLOW FOOD CENTRE WAS CONCEIVED AS AN IDEA, A BAKERY WAS ALWAYS PART OF THE GRAND PLAN”
It was the intention to have as much of the food that we eat regularly produced here on-site, so the bakery is an integral aspect of the building’s design. The Food Hall is located in the middle and there are eight production units around the outside which can all be viewed by shoppers through large glass windows.

“OUR MUST-STOCK LOAVES ARE: WHITE, WHOLEMEAL AND MALTED TINS, SUPPORTED BY A SELECTION OF BREAD ROLLS AND BAGUETTES”
In addition to this basic range, you’ll also want to stock classic enriched dough products such as butter buns, iced buns, Chelsea buns and brioche. Traditional cakes are immensely popular; Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle, chocolate cake and fruit cake are core to the range. Seasonal products are also vitally important. We produce around 10,000 hot cross buns in the run up to Easter and 20,000 mince pies at Christmas. From these foundations you can start to introduce more speciality products and experiment. When I started in 2008, our range was fairly limited in comparison to what we offer our customers today. Sourdough was introduced fairly early on and then rye and spelt breads. To an extent these changes are customer-driven. I’m also incredibly fortunate to have a very creative team that thrive on trying out new recipes.

“CUSTOMER SERVICE IS ABSOLUTELY KEY TO REPEAT BUSINESS, THIS AND OBVIOUSLY THE QUALITY OF THE ITEMS THAT WE PRODUCE”
I think we go the extra mile and this is reflected by the level of customer loyalty that we have. We have one guy in Wales who orders eight loaves at a time! It’s important to be aware of the demographic of your core customers. Many of our regular shoppers like traditional products, but once you’ve established a rapport with them you can help introduce them to new ideas. Quite often they’ll buy their usual but also add something a bit different to try as well.

“WHATEVER YOU DO, HIGH STANDARDS ARE VITAL YOU CAN’T BE HALF HEARTED”
Other than this it’s a case of applying common sense. I tend to group large and small loaves of the same variety close together. We frequently move the display around so customers have to find what they’re looking for – that way another product may attract their attention, too. Produce displayed on the counter always sells well, as do those positioned at eye level. Cakes tend not to move quite so much because customers like to try a variety of cakes. The breads and cakes look incredible so you always want to show them off to their best advantage.

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