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Pastries 1/2 price after 4pm


sugarseattle
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We've been considering offering our pastries for 1/2 price after 4pm to minimize waste. Right now, we give our spares to a charity, but it's kind of a pain to have to drop them off all the time and we want to avoid that job. We're actually pretty good at predicting and maybe waste about 12 pastries or so per day, but it would be great to reduce that. It's mostly the breakfast pastries we're concerned with. Cookies are ok for 24-36 hours.

Anybody do this?

Edited by sugarseattle (log)

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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I am screaming NO! There's a bakery in town that did that, and guess what? All the cheapskates waited for the discount to buy them. That bakery in no longer in business. We take them home, donate them to the food bank or recycle them. But we never, ever, never discount them. Never.

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What time do you close? In my area (of Japan), most stores only give 10-20% off for the last half-hour before closing. I think if you're going to give a discount, give less than 50% (no more than 25%), and do it for as little time as possible to maximize regular-price sales. People will be more willing to buy at full price if there is greater danger their favourites will be gone so late in the day.

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If you can continue doing it, I would give them to the charity. Good karma and all that.

Plus if you do it and word gets around you will have a surprisingly large pick up after they go half price.

Perhaps to make it easier you could attempt to freeze them and only make a charity run every couple days?

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How about cutting them up and giving out small samples toward the end of the day? Your regular customers will appreciate it, and it might give them something to look forward to when they come in toward the end of store hours (presumably hungry before dinner).

You could look at it as building loyalty and introducing them to products they might not have tried.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I don't do discounting. I'd rather do almost anything else with it. The reason being exactly as Rob mentioned. People learn they're half price after 4pm, they'll wait until after 4pm to buy them. Suddenly, instead of having 12 left you'll have 50 left. All of which will sell out after 4pm. So now, even though there are none left, you've effectively sold 25 of the 50 since they're half price versus selling 38 of the 50 when you had 12 left.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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If you can continue doing it, I would give them to the charity.  Good karma and all that.

Perhaps to make it easier you could attempt to freeze them and only make a charity run every couple days?

And, in addition to good karma, a tax deduction!

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I just wish it was easier to give to charity...that's why I'm considering other options. we've tried having charities pick up, but they flake out on us. other charities that want drop offs only have specific times they accept drop offs. a lot of times we're busy at that time so we can't make the drop off and then our bag of pastries in the freezer continues to grow. i just hate throwing pastries away.

How I was planning on doing the discount was something like having my baristas decide...let's say at 4pm we have more than 12 pastries, then they just put a sign out at that time about the discount. so it would be more sporadic and unpredictable.

Edited by sugarseattle (log)

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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make bread pudding out of them....actually I only know how to make bread pudding out of stale pastries :rolleyes:

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It's too bad you can't just leave them at Freeway Park or somewhere close where there are poor hungry people, but that is probably illegal dumping or something. Do schizophrenic alcoholics even like pastry? Not meaning to be offensive to people merely down on their luck who need assistance, but the Seattle street population has a lot more problems than just $$. What's sort of a dilemma too, is giving cake to people who need food. They need better nutrition than most muffins, but maybe a treat every now and then will really help lift some spirits?

The discounting thing is difficult and everyone else here is probably right, either wait until the very last hour or don't do it. With the idea of sporadic and unpredictable discounts and just with the way people are, I could see some people getting angry if yesterday they got a discount at 4:15 when there were 4 muffins left but today there are 10 muffins so no discount at 5:00. Waste is just part of cooking, I know it is heartbreaking to throw things away, but if charity doesn't work out, at some point you just have to accept a certain amount of waste. Throwing stuff away gets easier after a while, you just have to be emotionally unattached.

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I am not sure about consuming laws in your country and region but most bakery business are highy regulated and some businesses cannot sell produce at discount the next day anyway because of health regulations.

I do not think you business can go bankrupt because of the excess twelve pastries that remark only makes me laugh.

the fact that cahrities refuse to pick up such a small load tells you something Doesn't it?

Perhaps use or bring the twelve pastries forward to early in the morning and use them as free sampling to your early bird customers or even as a bakers' dozen excuse type of thing.

You know here past day bread or pastry recycling is quite expensive business and bread or pastry bags are not separated for recycling purposes but just extruded.

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I know nothing about the biz, but I like the suggestions to reuse stuff the next day if you can. Wendy's used to use the left over burger patties for the next day's chili. Don't know if they still use that method, but it worked in the 70's. The alternative of discounting it the next day as "day old" might really fly in these troubled times. Normally most people would not schedule their trip to the bakery around the time the discount at 4 pm came down, but they just might nowadays.

Good luck.

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Beggars actually are choosy...I never carry cash, mostly because I don't have any...I'm a bakery owner in our first year you know! ANyway, I often bring a couple of cookies home for me and my hubby, and sometimes when I see a begger, I offer him the cookies instead and get a flat NO! I tell them I"m hardly making a salary and that at least I get cookies and I really don't need the extra calories and they still say no.

We do put them in the freezer and try to get them to a charity once a week, but still it's this pain. The charity we usually try to give them too is like 4 blocks away and they won't pick them up, and only accept the pastries at 1pm. we have 2 baristas until 12:30pm so that leaves me or my baker to drop them off...so it's like this minor pain in the butt.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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That's why I don't give to people. I give to charities, not individuals though. The charities have the time and manpower to turn the money into what such folks need.

Far to many will simply take the ten bucks and go buy booze with it. I've even had an honest one once or twice that told me thats what they wanted the money for.

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No one has mentioned this idea: take the spares, bag them in two's or three's, and sell them the next day as "Day-Old Pastries" at a discounted price. Perhaps that's a variation of the 4:00 p.m. discount idea.

This is exactly was most bakeries I've ever been to do. They usually have a separate rack or table for this.

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I like the bread pudding idea. You could make it into a special "breakfast" item.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I have to agree that the 50% off idea (or even "day old" discount pastries) will only lead you down a path of darkness.

Firstly, it doesn't sound like your store fits the description of a neighborhood bakery/coffee shop where I typically see 50%/day old baked goods. I just don't expect to get a discount from a high-end bakery or pastry shop. Secondly, as a customer, I would be tempted to time my purchases to get 50% off, thereby cannibalizing your existing sales.

OTOH, giving out free samples/tastings would still build customer loyalty, without cannibalizing your existing sales.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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  • 2 weeks later...

Many local charities are run by well meaning people who are not well compensated and they aren't necessarily businesses savvy. Many local small businesses are run the same way. You have something they want and in this economy getting donations are harder to come by. You would think they would be motivated to make your donation as easy as possible for you.

Try talking to the charity and explaining the situation. Tell them you can no longer deliver the pastries and that they'll have to pick them up themselves between certain hours. It's surprising how often people agree to something they previously said they couldn't do.

Also, speak with other businesses in your general area that contribute food to charities or may be inclined to. If the charity is making a pickup for several places at one time that's a great incentive for them.

Worst case scenario may be that you and other local businesses that agree to donate can share or rotate deliveries to the charity.

Good luck to you. We need more people like you!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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How's about 'gifting' them to customers who are there at closing who are already purchasing something else. I mean going forward you run the risk of packing the place out at closing. But if that gets to be a problem, reset your closing time one hour earlier to the customer and keep the same closing time for the employees and you have the wiggle room you need.

I would love to get sucha 'gift'..

Ok wait. I'm visualizing a coffee shop type place that serves meals. But this won't work for a pure retail set up.

Well hey then that leads to another idea. Is there a restaurant you would want to bless with the goodies to hand out to their patrons? Is there any place you already work with?? Next door maybe? A coffee house or sweet little cafe you go by on the way home?

But I mean you loose control of your stuff that way too. If the folks wait two days to eat it it's gonna reflect poorly. So maybe make a special label that states must be consumed within 12 hours or something.

Just some random leftover ideas.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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Many local charities are run by well meaning people who are not well compensated and they aren't necessarily businesses savvy...

...You would think they would be motivated to make your donation as easy as possible for you.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. We used to donate extra soups and such to the local "out of the cold" and women's shelters. I would chill them down in an ice water bath, seal them in sanitized pails and keep them in the cooler until pickup time (despite not really having the extra space for it). Then it degraded to "please keep them hot so we don't have to heat them" which soon collapsed to "yeah, is there any chance you could deliver the stuff... nobody wants to go around collecting". End of donations. I'm all for helping people but if they're seriously too lazy to come get it or heat it then I'll just toss it. When they called at the beginning of this winter to ask about donations, I told them to understand up front that the donations would be held in a food safe manner so they would have to heat it and they will be required to pick it up. They said they'd get back to me, they still haven't.

It kinda reminds me of a place where I used to live. A local church (that I wasn't a member of but a close friend was) grew a huge garden every year. They would tend it, harvest it, distribute it to those that needed it, can what needed to be canned for distribution to avoid waste, etc.. There was always the same group signing up to receive every year but they never showed up when there was work to do. Basically "we're gonna sit here on our collective ass while you do the work then we'll be glad to accept the donations thank you very much". I suggested to my friend that they implement a "no work, no receive" policy. She said they tried that once and it didn't budge them at all. That would have been the end of the charity garden work for me.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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