Overcoming 2024's Top 4 Bakery Challenges in Food Service

Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the food service industry, especially in the bakery sector, can be a daunting task. This sector, integral to the global food and beverage market, faces numerous challenges - from sustainability concerns to changing consumer behaviors driven by digitalization and social media trends. It's crucial for businesses to stay ahead of these challenges. This includes understanding the importance of customer service, emerging sectors, and the latest equipment innovations. Let's delve into the top four challenges for the F&B industry and discover effective strategies to overcome them.

Learn how to easily overcome the top challenges in the F&B sector 

  • Understanding the foodservice challenges
  • How to overcome the foodservice challenges ?

Understanding the Food and beverage Industry challenges

In 2022, Délifrance took the initiative of running a Europe-wide study to learn more about foodservice customers’ expectations & challenges. 

The main insights gained were on four growing challenges for foodservice operators and the needs related to them.

1. Staffing constraints

The food service industry is grappling with significant staffing constraints that have a profound impact on operations. Indeed, recruitment is one of the food service sector’s biggest issues: between inexperienced employees and staff shortages, managers are struggling.

The staffing constraints in the food service industry, particularly in bakery, are a result of various factors. First, the sector has been plagued by high turnover rates with employees frequently switching jobs. Moreover, the industry has been negatively impacted by external events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which have reduced the available labor pool.

The recruitment challenge is further compounded by the need for specific skills and experience. Many roles in this sector require specialized knowledge and skills, and finding candidates who possess them can be difficult. This often results in understaffing, which can significantly affect service quality and efficiency.

The lack of skilled labor is also a major concern. Food preparation, particularly in bakeries, requires specific technical skills and knowledge. Inexperienced staff can lead to reduced food quality, slower service times, and increased waste.

To help the foodservice industry businesses in their staffing constraints, suppliers must make their life easier by providing simple, convenient products but also guiding them on how to prepare them.

2. CSR requirements

In the foodservice sector, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is increasingly significant. It's essential to adhere to stringent CSR requirements, which typically encompass economic, social, and environmental aspects.

In the food industry, CSR extends to various aspects like sustainable sourcing of ingredients, waste management or energy efficiency.

Implementing CSR strategies not only aligns with regulatory requirements but also appeals to conscious consumers.

  • Sustainable Sourcing: Ensuring your suppliers follow sustainable practices can significantly influence your CSR.
  • Waste Management: Implementing strategies to reduce food waste, recycling, and upcycle are vital for a developing business in the Food and beverage industry.
  • Energy Efficiency: Optimize energy use in your operations, from kitchen appliances to lighting.

Adhering to these requirements can enhance your brand image, attract conscious customers, and potentially lead to cost savings.

Sustainability has become one of consumers’ top concerns. Responsible sourcing, offering vegetarian or vegan menu options, and reducing food waste are concrete things you can do to meet their expectations and bring added value to your menu.

3. Business model

The food service industry, especially in the bakery sector, is currently facing a significant shift in its business model due to various external factors. The increase in commodity prices, wage costs, and energy expenses are pressurizing businesses to adapt and innovate.

Simultaneously, there is a decline in consumers' spending power, causing them to limit their expenditure on eating out. To combat this, businesses must balance their offerings with both budget and premium options.

Budget-friendly items can attract a wider audience, while premium products add value to your business and can help maintain profitability. Furthermore, effective cost management, efficient resource utilization, and leveraging technology for operations can aid in mitigating the impact of inflation.

Additionally, exploring alternative revenue streams, such as online ordering and delivery services, can open new opportunities for businesses to thrive in these challenging times. This shift in business model is not only necessary for survival but also paves the way for future growth in the evolving food service landscape.

4. Differenciation

As the economic environment is getting tougher, competition is growing increasingly fierce. In order both to win customers’ loyalty and attract new ones, it is crucial to stand out from the crowd. Your customers expect more and more. By providing an experience, not just a meal, refreshing your menu, and featuring unique products unavailable elsewhere you can really create a point of difference.

 A unique selling proposition can set your bakery apart and attract customers, making it vital to identify and highlight what makes your products or services special.

Remember, differentiation is not just about being different; it's about being better in a way that customers value. Therefore, continuously monitor market trends, customer preferences and feedback to ensure your differentiation strategy remains relevant and effective.

How to overcome the foodservice challenges ? Solutions for the Food Service Industry

Facilitate the work of unskilled kitchen staff

Being understaffed or having unskilled staff can greatly hinder the smooth operation of a kitchen. However, there are effective ways to facilitate the work of unskilled kitchen staff:

  • Provide Training: Offering comprehensive training programs can equip unskilled staff with the necessary knowledge and skills. This can include basic kitchen operations, food safety, and sanitation courses.
  • Simplify recipes: Streamline kitchen operations wherever possible. This can involve introducing pre-prepared or easy-to-prepare food items, using kitchen utensils that simplify tasks, or implementing efficient workflows.
  • Choose service products: you can facilitate your kitchen work with pre-grilled, pre-sliced, pre-baked or fully baked products, but also with simple recipe/usage suggestions that even unexperienced chefs can execute, ensuring your customers have a great experience every time.
  • Teamwork Encouragement: Promote a team-oriented environment. Skilled workers can mentor the less experienced, fostering growth and improving overall kitchen performance.

Remember, every staff member is crucial for the successful operation of a foodservice establishment.

Offer tasty plant-based options, and fight against food waste!

Tasty vegan products, suggestions for easy ways to up-cycle bread and viennoiserie leftovers
into delicious new products, responsibly sourced ingredients.
You’ll be delighted to see how what you saw as constraints become a great opportunity to
amaze your customers and boost your margins!

Introducing plant-based options and combating food waste are two key strategies for addressing these challenges.

Plant-based options are increasingly popular as consumers become more health-conscious and environmentally aware. Offer a variety of delicious plant-based alternatives that cater to these preferences. From veggie meals to dairy-free viennoiseries, there's a wide array of options that can satisfy diverse taste buds while also aligning with sustainable practices. 

Fighting against food waste is another crucial aspect. This can be achieved through careful inventory management, portion control, and innovative solutions like turning leftovers into new dishes. Consider partnering with food rescue organizations to donate unused food, or implement composting programs for organic waste. This not only reduces your environmental impact but also can lead to cost savings and positive brand image.

Here are some tips to help you in these areas:

  • Regularly update your menu with new plant-based dishes to keep customers interested
  • Train your staff on proper food storage and waste reduction techniques
  • Promote your efforts to reduce food waste and offer plant-based options through social media and other marketing channels.

These steps will not only help you stay competitive but also contribute to a more sustainable food industry.

Stand out from competition

In the highly competitive food service industry, differentiation is critical. You need to offer an experience that goes beyond just providing a something to eat. Strive to refresh your menu frequently and introduce unique products or recipes that aren't available elsewhere. Leverage your unique selling points (USPs), whether that's your bakery's special recipe, a unique dining environment, or extraordinary customer service. 

  • Product Innovation: Keep your menu interesting by regularly adding new items. Showcase your creativity through seasonal specials or limited-time-only dishes.
  • Original or seasonal recipes: Consumers are increasingly choosing seasonal produce. Follow the seasonal calendar for fruit and vegetables, and use them in your recipes for added flavor and satisfaction.
  • Hybridation and new ways to use a top seller: Ensure your service is top-notch. Train your staff to provide excellent customer service, making every customer feel valued and special.
  • Leverage display: Use technology to enhance the customer experience. This could include online ordering, table-side ordering, or even a customer loyalty program.

Remember, standing out doesn't mean being the best at everything. It means being unique and true to your brand while meeting your customers' expectations.

Do you want more tips for your business ?

Discover all our advices and inspirations:

  • Increase you average ticket
  • Entertain your customers
  • Rationalize your menu and maximize uses
  • Good value for money
  • Decrease your food waste 

Optimize your business model

In the evolving foodservice industry, optimizing your business model involves adopting innovative practices and leveraging new opportunities with both accessible and premium products to drive traffic, enhance your image and optimize your margins. Format, shifting towards more take-out options, or introducing new distribution channels.

Remember, the goal is to align your business model with your brand's values and the changing landscape of the foodservice industry.

In conclusion, despite the challenges faced in the bakery and food service sector in 2024, there are promising solutions to ensure businesses' growth and sustainability. By addressing recruitment issues, embracing social responsibility practices, adapting business models, and standing out through innovation and customer experience, companies can successfully navigate through an ever-evolving landscape.

With these strategies in place, the food industry can not only overcome current hurdles but also thrive and meet changing consumer expectations while contributing to a more sustainable future.

What is foodservice industry meaning?

Definition of foodservice industry 

The Food Service Industry refers to businesses dedicated to preparing and delivering food to consumers outside of a home setting.

What are the 6 types of food service?

The food service industry is diverse, offering various types of services to cater to different customer needs. Here are the six main types:

  1. Fine Dining: This is a full-service restaurant experience with quality food, upscale decor, and professional waitstaff.
  2. Casual Dining: These establishments offer moderately-priced meals in a relaxed environment.
  3. Fast Casual: Combining elements of fast food and casual restaurant, these places offer high-quality food, typically in a self-service format.
  4. Fast Food / Food chains: Known for their quick service, these establishments offer food that's prepared and served rapidly.
  5. Café or Bistro: A small, casual restaurant, offering simple, moderately-priced meals and refreshments.
  6. Food Trucks and Street Food: These mobile establishments offer an assortment of food, often specializing in a specific cuisine or dish.