Bakers have been quick to innovate in order to stay competitive amid runaway inflation and rising food prices. According to the July CPI, the food-away-from-home sector saw notable growth with a YoY increase of 7.1%.
This has led to a number of rising trends, including extended business hours, diversification into various operational formats and locations, introducing a wider menu to attract a bigger crowd and embracing online.
In fact, a recent survey by Boston, Massachusetts-based Toast, online catering provides a major chunk of change for many café and bakery owners. The survey found four of five of these small to medium-sized establishments derive 12-36% of their revenue from this channel but running it concurrently with an operational customer-facing business can be challenging.
“Running a successful café or bakery requires meticulous planning and preparation to produce a high volume of great food and drinks daily while also providing lightning quick service during the morning and afternoon rush,” said Aman Narang, cofounder and COO of Toast.
Enter Toast for Cafés & Bakeries, which is “designed to handle everything from rush times to catering orders, merchandise and more,” said Narang.
“Whether getting a first location off the ground, growing new revenue streams like retail or catering, or accessing functionality specifically designed to make cafes and bakeries more efficient, Toast is an ideal partner.”
Toast for Cafes & Bakeries builds on the platform’s functionality tailored for specific restaurant categories, such as last year’s releases of Toast for Quick Service and Toast for Hotel Restaurants. Catering Online Ordering - available in Toast’s Catering & Events Pro module - is designed to help bakers and other foodservice owners finetune their digital ordering experience to fit their unique catering operation.
This provides a frictionless online ordering experience, making prep for large orders easier and expanding Toast’s digital ordering capabilities to enable restaurants to continue growing their off-premise revenue streams. Restaurants can set separate hours of operation for the catering side, which means longer lead times for large orders and even set minimum orders. Prepping for big orders is a cinch, with printable pack sheets and prep lists, and the ability to track catering orders through a shared calendar.
“As a bakery, Toast has been a gamechanger,” said Steven Rennau, director of Operations for Toni Patisserie & Café in Hinsdale, Illinois.
“The entire team saves time with Catering Online Ordering. It gives us a bit more control as we can set longer lead times and higher minimum order size.
“In addition, we were able to roll out an entirely new category of Celebration Cakes - we’re talking about $150-$175 cakes coming in online.”
A unified foodservice and retail POS system
Food service and retail go hand in hand for many bakeries, cafés and coffee shops, with consumers opting for a branded mug or bag of coffee beans to go with their morning latte and croissant.
According to Toast, Restaurant Retail is stands out from most POS products on the market today by providing a unified platform on a single account, giving business owners the power to use merchandise, dry goods and other items to build their customer experience.
The tool allows them to manage their barcoded inventory and provides functions like creating/updating inventory across multiple locations, generating/printing barcodes and auto-calculating mark-ups. The platform is purpose-built to allow retail items to flow throughout Toast products, such as its POS terminals, online ordering and kiosks.
Toast for Cafes & Bakeries has helped café and bakery group Maman grow from six to 30+ locations across the eastern seaboard, with more locations planned.
“Toast has made it so much easier for us to grow,” said Benjamin Sormonte, cofounder and CEO of Maman.
“Without having a partner like Toast, it would’ve been very complex and challenging for us to continue to expand.”
Cut the chaos
Additionally, Toast for Cafes & Bakeries enables the company to input complex orders, avoid the chaos at the pickup counter, reward guests to make them regulars and do good for others.
Open View simplifies order-taking by displaying items and modifiers all at once, a critical innovation for establishments with a high volume of highly configurable menu items. Staff taking complicated orders can input a guest’s exact preferences in any order on a Toast POS terminal via the new layout according to the natural flow of conversation.
Toast’s Order-Ready Boards allows staff to share the status of an order on a guest-facing screen to uplevel the order pickup experience.
Item-Based Redemption lets bakers configure menu items as rewards, allowing guests to redeem a free item in exchange for loyalty points. Toast’s new Offers feature lets staff create wow-moments for their guests by designing custom promotions like Buy One Get One deals or half off pastries after 3pm. These out-of-the-box tools will have regulars coming back without having to devote time and resources to build features like this on their own.
The Toast Fundraising feature allows bakers to pick their chosen nonprofit and gives their customers the option to round up their check and donate the difference. This can be surfaced to guests on several Toast products, including Toast Flex terminals, Toast Go handheld devices, Toast Online Ordering and the Toast TakeOut app.