All food businesses in the United Arab Emirates were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several large restaurant chains were even forced to close some of their branches since they were not earning any money due to the lack of customers.
Bakeries, both traditional and home-based ones, felt the effects of the pandemic as well. With many people choosing to postpone or skip birthday parties and other gatherings or events, many business owners decided to close their shops temporarily while lockdowns were implemented.
If you own a bakery business, one of the few upsides that the lockdown brought is that you may have found the time and opportunity to learn new skills and update existing ones by taking up baking courses in Dubai.
With these new skills, you can create more baked goods to add to your menu and improve your current products.
Reopening Your Baking Business in the UAE
With restrictions already lifted, food business owners are now allowed to operate again.
As a traditional or home bakery owner, you can now open your store, sell online, and take orders. You have the chance to earn again while doing what you love to do.
Unfortunately, reopening a food business in the COVID-19 era is not as simple as it sounds. With the coronavirus still a looming health threat everywhere, there are several precautionary measures that you and all foodpreneurs have to implement to ensure your customers are enjoying safe products.
These additional hygiene and safety practices can also help protect you and your staff from the coronavirus.
If you are ready to reopen your baking business, launch a new branch, or accept more orders from your online customers, here are five important tips to keep in mind as you continue running a safe and profitable bakery:
1. Step up your kitchen and food handling hygiene and safety practices
The first thing that you have to focus on when reopening your brick-and-mortar or home bakery is observing hygiene and sanitation in the kitchen.
Keeping your kitchen and supplies clean and bacteria-free is now more important than ever. As such, you and your team need to follow the right food handling practices when preparing your products.
These practices should include:
- Observing proper handwashing practices before handling ingredients and baked products
- Wearing a face mask when handling food
- Washing and disinfecting all baking pans, tools, and other supplies after use
- Cleaning and sanitising the kitchen counter, sink, and baking equipment at the end of each day
- Wearing disposable gloves as an additional precautionary measure and throwing them away after use
2. Practice physical distancing
Aside from the additional practices on food handling and hygiene in the kitchen, physical distancing is another measure that you have to implement once you start operating your baking business again.
If you have a bakery in the UAE, you and your team have to observe all rules regarding physical distancing. Your store should have clear floor markings and signage that guide customers in standing apart at least two feet from each other.
The staff should maintain the two-feet distance from customers as well.
When offering delivery services, encourage your riders to follow no-contact delivery practices. They should have as little contact with the customers as possible to minimise the risk of infections.
3. Redesign your menu
Before you reopen your baking business, take the time to rethink your menu.
With the hit your business took and the air of uncertainty still lingering around, it is best to review your menu and remove the items that are underselling. At this time, you will do well to focus on what you can make at a low cost with minimal waste and errors.
Consider putting a pause on more complex recipes and expensive items. If some customers are adamant about ordering them, you can offer them as made-to-order products, but you have to let them know that the prices will be a bit higher.
If you took up a baking course, take the opportunity to apply what you learned from the culinary school in Dubai while redesigning your menu.
If you like the new cake and cupcake piping techniques you learned, consider selling the treats and icing in a DIY kit and include steps and tips for decorating the baked goods based on their preference and creativity.
With fewer expensive menu items and more cost-effective, fascinating ones, you will have greater chances of getting better returns once you start operating again.
4. Ensure that everyone is aware of the safety measures you are taking
Even with fewer, lighter restrictions, many consumers are still hesitant about going out and even getting food delivered to their homes. You can help ease their fears and doubts by letting them know that you are taking extra steps to ensure you serve delectable baked goods that are safe to consume.
Use both offline and online materials and platforms to inform your loyal and potential customers how you make your treats safe to eat. Provide details about the measures you take inside the kitchen when preparing, baking, and packaging all baked goods.
Make sure your repeat and new patrons also know that you have implemented additional protocols inside your shop and for your delivery services.
Try to use as many marketing materials and platforms as possible, especially digital ones, since they are more affordable and easy to access. You can be as creative as you want and have different tools to choose from as well.
5. Be engaging and creative online
Finally, the number of Internet users increased by a hundredfold in the past several months. You have to make sure you reach out to your target audience to help fuel the success of your business.
Aside from updating customers about the changes in your menu, operating hours, and services, use your website and social media accounts for other things to give them and other online users something else to think about.
Post-easy-to-follow recipes that you are willing to share. You can also upload photos of your delectable treats and videos of how you created them.
To get the most from online marketing, be creative and consistent with your posts. Moreover, always engage with the people who like, share or comment on them.
Reopening your baking business at this time can be tricky. However, with these tips, you can slide into the “new normal” smoothly and find success again.
If you need to upskill your baking skills and techniques, see our patisserie courses on our Programs Offered page.