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NATIONAL REPORT — For some convenience store operations, it makes sense to bake products fresh in-store. For others, the commissary route is more efficient. In order to decide which is right for you, there are some important considerations a convenience store operator must make.
Maurice P. Minno, principal of consulting firm MPM Group and board director for convenience store chain Maverik Inc., shared with Convenience Store News the following pros and cons regarding on-site baking vs. commissary delivery for c-store fresh bakery programs:
THE PROS OF IN-STORE BAKING
Fresher Products: Just baked in store are the freshest products possible vs. commissary-delivered bakery product assortments.
Powerful, Memorable, Craveable & Sensory Products: In-store, fresh-baked products enhance their “craveability” as a result of stimulating all five sensory cues. These sensory cues are: sight and sound (seeing and hearing the baking in process); smell (the sweet scent of fresh-made cinnamon rolls and the smells of other just-baked products activate the salivary glands); taste (of high-quality, fresh-baked products sampled just after baking); and touch (via sampling a fresh-baked muffin or cookie).
Theater Destination Driver: Showcasing an in-store bakery prominently in the store, for customer viewing, provides a unique theatre for format distinction vs. traditional c-stores.
In-Stock Product Selection Assortments: As products sell through, product assortments can be baked and replenished as required.
Assortment Selection Customization: Product assortments can easily be changed at a specific store on a specific day or daypart as a result of customer demographics that day.
Made-to-Order Customization Options: In-store bakeries could offer a line of flash-baked products made-to-order (e.g., fresh-baked cinnamon rolls or cookies topped to order with a variety of icings) customizable to a customer’s request.
THE PROS OF COMMISSARY DELIVERED
Not All Locations Are Feasible for an In-store Bakery: Store location, size, configuration, customer traffic, customer demographics, along with other feasibility factors, may not justify an in-store bakery.
Product Consistency Higher: The consistency of commissary-made bakery products can be much higher than in-store baked products in terms of product shape, size and the ingredients used.
THE CONS OF COMMISSARY DELIVERED
Not as Fresh: If the bakery products are fully baked, commissary-supplied bakery products are typically “hours old” vs. a product that’s just been baked in-store.
No In-Store Theatre: Customers will wonder where the products came from if the store does not have an in-store bakery.
No Product Replenishment at Sell-Through: If the assortment sells through, there is no product replenishment until the next commissary delivery.
No Change to Delivered Product Assortment: The daily product assortment delivery sets the assortment of the products that are displayed.
No Capability to Offer Made-To-Order, Customized Products: Assuming fully baked and finished products are delivered from the commissary, these products could not be made-to-order.
Editor’s note: Look in the May issue of Convenience Store News for more tips on successfully executing a fresh bakery program, including advice on branding, product mix and merchandising.