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  • Vincent Bissette


We have recently finished writing our complete guide to growing a bakery business.

To succeed as a bakery business owner means you need to get a lot of things right. Just like bread, you need the proper recipe for growth. We've encountered many bakers who seem to have all the boxes ticked, warm service, warmer ovens... Yet still, they aren't growing. We've gathered 3 of the most common mistakes we've noticed our bakery clients making which prevented them from growing to hopefully prevent bakery business owners from making the same mistakes!


The number one mistake we find businesses making time and time again - especially SME's still finding their footing - is papering over the cracks. Otherwise known as firefighting, this refers to businesses choosing to fix small problems as they arise (an outdated website, wanting a new logo, needing a fresh brochure) rather than addressing the elephant in the room, the root of their problem, their often ineffective and inconsistent brand identity.

Despite being done with the best of intentions, tackling these small problems as they arise often lead to an inconsistent brand identity which only serves to confuse consumers and send them mixed messages. This can manifest itself in inconsistent marketing communications. Have you ever seen a modern looking website with an outdated logo? Multiple variations on the same logo appearing over marketing collateral? Inconsistent brand colours?

Before updating any marketing collateral bakers must take an honest look at their brand identity. A long-term marketing plan and strategy must be put in place and followed religiously to ensure a strong and consistent brand identity. Focus on preventing the illness rather than curing the symptoms.


The only way to survive in the modern retail bakery landscape is to differentiate. Economies of scale mean that the big players in the market can produce goods such as sausage rolls at a far cheaper cost per unit than any independent or smaller baker. Competing with big player on price simply won't happen and if you aren't cheaper, then what other reason are you giving consumers to shop you over the competition?

If you can't compete on price then you must justify to your customers why you are more expensive. This can be done through specialisation. Positioning yourself as the expert or authority on one particular product that you are known for is a great method of justifying higher price points. Positioning yourself as a specialist means that customers are willing to pay more as you make the most perfect pies, the best bread, the most succulent sausage rolls or the coolest coffee and cakes in your area. People are willing to pay more for a specialist than a jack of all trades.

There are many ways to differentiate. Instead of just making a sausage roll in the same vein as a competitor why not make a luxury sausage roll, a gluten-free sausage roll, the biggest sausage roll, a spicy sausage roll, a sausage and onion roll, a vegan sausage roll... Wait someone might have gotten to that one first. Give consumers an obvious reason to choose you over your competitor.

If you want to learn more about differentiation or want some more ideas, check out our blog Differentiate or Die.


The market is constantly changing. Retail bakers do not serve the same purpose they did a decade ago. Aside from the rare specialist stores, long gone are the days of birthday cakes and bread. These needs are now being served by supermarkets. The rise of stores such as Starbucks and Costa in the UK means that there are more attractive and recognisable places for newer generations to buy a coffee and a cake. If retail bakers do not address these significant changes in the market they will fail to capture newer audiences and will eventually go extinct.

Bakers often hold heritage close to their hearts and rightly so. Tried and tested recipes and an established community presence can be incredibly powerful selling points. However, bakers must adapt and update their offering to survive and battle for market attention.

We offer many ways in which bakers can stay up to date in our guide but here are a couple of our favourites is focusing on coffee. The British coffee shop market is huge, valued at £3.4 Billion in 2016 with Mintel reporting that only 19% of the country is not drinking tea or coffee. It’s reported that 84% of sweet bakery occasions include a drink and 60% of these are hot. Coffee shops have already taken a leaf out of bakeries books and found that selling baked goods can increase their profitability and there is no reason bakeries shouldn’t return the favour and sell great coffee. Introducing more artisan methods of selling coffee is key to attracting a younger clientele and increasing their market share. Failing to sell in-demand coffees such as lattés and cappuccinos and resorting to instant coffee is a quick way to damage your potential growth in 2020.

For more solutions to these problems download our free marketing guide for bakers.

About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.

Get in touch with him on Linkedin here.

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