Later this week, as we enter Lockdown 2.0, things are likely to be feel a little tricky for all of us, in different ways. In this blog, I hope to help you to when navigating the current climate in your cake business.
So, what can you do when navigating your cake business in the current climate?
The good news is that you are encouraged to work from home if you can. As cake makers, I would imagine most if not all, do work from home. Under the Government Guidelines for Lockdown, cake businesses are able to continue operating as a takeaway and sell cakes and sweet treats for collection, or delivery.
I know that during the original Lockdown, some cake business owners were told by their EHO and Public Liability Insurers that they could not continue to trade. If you are in any doubt, and definitely, if you were told last time that you couldn’t continue to trade, then your first port of call before you do anything further is to speak to them.
How Can You Do It?
You can continue to operate in a Covid secure manner. But what does this mean?
Well, if you haven’t been doing already (and you really should have been) you must be operating contactless collections and deliveries. As far as collections go, there a couple of ways of doing this:
In the summer, and right up until recently, I had a little foldaway table, that I popped outside my front door. Then, when the customer arrived, they just gave me a call, I popped out and put the cake on the table and stepped away. The customer then came and collected the cake. There was no contact whatsoever.
BUT, now that the weather is turning and particularly where I live, we’re quite high up, so it gets really windy up here. So leaving a cake on a table is not the most practical way of doing it. If you have a porch or similar then that would work, as the table could go under it, but for me personally, it would be far too exposed. The way that I have decide I’m going to do contactless collections with my customers is by me putting the cake directly in their boot. SO, they will pull up at my house and they will ring me and let me know that they are here. They will open their boot. Once they are back in the car, I will come out and pop the cake in their boot, on a , little square of non slip matting. I’ll shut the boot and off the customer will go. So again, there’s no contact whatsoever.
What you definitely cannot do, is allow customers to come into the house. If you’re worried about customers not seeing the cake beforehand, then just take photos or take a little video and send it to them prior to collection. If a customer asks to come inside and look at the cake, unfortunately, the answer is no.
Likewise, if you make the decision to deliver cakes to customers, again this needs to be contactless contactless delivery. So I recommend is that when arranging the delivery, you should ask them, where you can put the cake for contactless delivery.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you HAVE to carry out a delivery or collection where there is contact with a customer then you need to keep this as brief as possible and ensure that you are both wearing your masks.
These are all just ideas for you. The main thing when navigating your cake business is the current climate is that you find a way that works for you and your business whilst remaining safe and within the rules.
What About Taking Payments?
I would strongly recommend operating a cashless system.
I advise to take payments by bank transfer, or alternatively by PayPal, just be aware that the PayPal fees can be quite hefty.
Alternatively, if a customer wants to pay by card, you can set up an account with Stripe, and you can send them a payment link for them to pay by card. There are fees associated with taking payments via Stripe. However, the stripe fees are less than the PayPal fees.
How About Your Working Practices?
As cake business owners, we already have it ingrained into us about health and hygiene so a lot of the things that you need to be doing due to the current situation, are things that you should be doing anyway.
The important things are:
The hand sanitiser that you use whilst working must be a hand sanitiser for viruses, not just for bacteria. It must comply with BS EN 14476;
If you or any member of your family test positive, or if you are self isolating, then do not work. I do go as far as to say that if any member of your household is self isolating then don’t work. Just explaining to any affected customers that you are not able to fulfil the order, and either refund, or pass the order on to another trusted cake maker. It’s better to let that customer down, than it is to put them at risk. I always recommend having a good support network of other cake makers around you so that you can help each other out should the need arise.
What Should You Tell Customers?
I would recommend telling your customers that you remain open, and let them know what your COVID safe procedures are. This includes your policy for payments and for contactless delivery and collection. It is also worth asking your customers what kind of cakes and sweet treats they would like to see from you during lockdown.
I really hope that this helps you when navigating your cake business in the current climate, but if you do have any questions, please feel free to dive into my inbox: email@example.com