How this London bakery found new revenue streams during lockdown

Artisan baker Alexandre Bettler relies on Square Dashboard for a live view of his business, helping him stay on top of production and bestselling items

Converted into a mini bakery, Alexandre Bettler’s spare bedroom was full of 25kgs bags of flour, fridges stacked on top of one another, with flour dust everywhere. In 2016, Alexandre Bettler decided to open his very own bakery business.

Bettler, a graphic designer, became interested in breadmaking as a hobby while studying at the Royal College of Art. He saw it as a means of communication (the French word for bread, “pain”, comes from the word “copain” or friend).

He began delivering his handmade sourdough loaves by bike to local friends in Walthamstow, East London. Soon he was delivering to local restaurants. Bettler realised he had outgrown their spare room and he opened the doors of artisan bakery Today Bread back in 2016. Not only was it a bakery but it had a 40-seat café as well. Soon, his bakery was selling up to 300 loaves a day.

Then the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Bettler was forced to close his doors and pivot to an online delivery service and takeaway almost overnight to keep going.

Thankfully, Square enabled him to get up and running as an online business within two days.

>See also: How to optimise cash flow with cashless payments

Amazingly, Today Bread has maintained its sales volume despite having to shut the café overnight.

Bettler says: “That saved us in a way because we could move online quickly and do home deliveries. It really helped us keep our customers. I’m happy to say that Square helped save my business. It’s been crucial.”

Key to Square’s usefulness was the Square Dashboard, which allows Bettler to monitor his stock levels, both in-store and online, and see which products are bestsellers and running low. Because all breads are made fresh each day, Bettler needs to adjust production daily. Any loaf not sold on the day is wasted, he says. Square even allows him to keep an eye on stock from his mobile phone.

And Square Analytics allows him to drill deeper into sales, see trends over time, and help him plan for the future.

As well as stock control, Square offers a complete system, handling both in-person and online payments processing.

Bettler used another payments system before opting for Square four years ago.

Bettler says: “It became obvious that Square offered more. It’s very user friendly. Wearing my graphic designer hat, the interface is clean and clear.

“Square Dashboard gives you an overview of your sales instantly. I use Square Dashboard every day. I can now check my phone and see what bread has sold, quickly – and it’s instant. I can see whether sales have gone up or down since last week. It gives me a quick overview of how the sales are doing. It gives me the five best items or the top five categories, which means I can react quickly and manage production for the next day”

Square’s main attraction for this artisan baker is that he doesn’t have to worry about it. Rather than fretting over whether the technology is glitchy, he can rely on the interface being frictionless.

“I don’t want to think about the technology,” says Bettler. “Square frees me up to think about other things. It’s really smooth.”

>See also: How to sell anywhere with contactless payments

9 reasons why you need Square Dashboard

You probably know who your regulars are, which items sell out fastest and when the morning rush hits its peak. But what about the specifics? Do you know when most of your sales happen, down to the hour, weekday and month? Or how many of your sales come from new versus repeat customers?

Square Dashboard tracks and displays all your transactions to help you see what you’re selling, when you’re selling it, and when you’ll be paid.

You get advanced, real-time performance insights so you can make better business decisions.

Square Dashboard provides quick insights and advanced sales reports. It’s business intelligence software that comes free with your Square account.

And Square Analytics is designed to make those numbers easy to understand. No need to hunt through multiple spreadsheets – Square Analytics breaks it down, so you can add it up quickly.

#1 – Keep tabs on what you’re selling

With Square Analytics, you’ll see real-time charts that show you exactly which items are flying off the shelf, so you can adjust your inventory accordingly. Know when to stay open later or if you need to stock up on certain items.

#2 – Know your customers

Where do your sales come from? Are repeat customers your bread and butter or do most sales come from people popping in for the first time? Square data tells us this varies wildly by industry. With buyer insights, you can deep dive into which group makes up the bulk of your sales and then better target them.

#3 – When are your peak hours?

Square Dashboard tracks which times are popular, the peaks and the troughs. Do you need more serving staff at lunchtime? Square Dashboard informs your decisions

#4 – Identify your top salesperson

Square allows you to keep tabs on each employee’s performance. You can check daily how many units each of your staff sold during their shift – all from the ease of your mobile phone

#5 – Live view of your business

No more hunting through myriad spreadsheets on your PC desktop, no more fiddly pivot tables as you wrestle with data. Square Dashboard gives you clear sales charts in a live view of your business

#6 – Compare your outlets

If you’re operating in multiple premises, you can easily switch between locations to view individual sales, operations, and activities.

#7 – Handle customer feedback

Square Dashboard handles customer feedback, so you can intercept problems quickly before they become damaging online reviews

#8 – Insights straight to your inbox

Get simple daily summaries delivered to your inbox. See that day’s data on sales, items and customers all in one easy-to-understand digest

#9 – Best of all, it’s free

Square Dashboard is business intelligence software that comes free with your Square account

To find out more about how Square Dashboard and Square Analytics can help your business, visit here


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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...