For many full-service bakeries, wedding cakes are the pinnacle of what they have to offer in terms of design and decoration. But, while wedding cakes are high-margin items, retailers need to analyze the demographics served by their stores before committing to offering these types of services.
“On average, wedding cakes make up 1.8% of in-store cake sales, which means they make up about 0.5% of total in-store bakery sales,” noted Alan Hiebert, education information specialist at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association. Hiebert added that if a program is implemented, it needs to be done well in order to maintain the retailer's image and loyal customers.
“That means that each chain must look at its customer base and think about its image before investing in a large wedding cake program. It doesn't mean that they should necessarily dismiss it out of hand. Wedding cakes are tremendously important to the people shopping for them. So stores that can deliver stellar cakes have the opportunity to earn customers for life.”
Chains with established wedding cake programs include Publix Super Marketes, Lakeland, Fla., which offers planning and selection tools on its Web site; United Supermarkets, Lubbock, Texas, which offers customers at its upscale Market Street stores a concierge service to assist with event and party planning; and Brookshire Grocery Co., Tyler, Texas, which also offers customers an extensive set of planning tools on its website.
“With a major event such as a wedding or other special occasion, customers want quality, value and again, personalized service,” said John Rose, bakery category manager for Brookshire's. “Customers especially want to know that a special occasion cake will meet and preferably exceed their expectations. Our cake decorators meet that expectation each and every day by offering a high-quality, well-crafted cake — consistently — oh, and on time.”