When Buddy Valastro’s famed Hoboken New Jersey shop, Carlo’s Bakery, opened their doors over a hundred years ago, they tracked each of their orders on a single piece of paper, and back in 1910, that worked pretty well. The only problem was, when Carlo’s hit the big time in 2009 with a hit reality show, Cake Boss, they were still taking orders the very same old-fashioned way.
Here are five takeaways from Buddy about the difference between doing business using the old-school version, verses his new online platform.
1. You can have your cake and eat it too“The one thing I always wanted to do when I grew my business was to be able to maintain quality,” says Buddy. By creating an online platform for operating his business and taking orders using iPads, he’s actually been able to increase efficiency in terms of all the processes in the creation of cakes to deliver a more consistent product.
2. You need a back end engine for your cake to riseWhen the business was still small, I was talking to Leo Minervini (now his CIO) and Leo said, “You’re getting so many hits on your website every week,” says Buddy. “I said, ‘I know, but how are we going to make the cakes?’ We needed an infrastructure to support a larger business.”
Carlo’s Bakery implemented a back engine in the cloud, what they dubbed “Cakeforce” to track every aspect of the bakery from production to delivery, so that they could scale their operations to a larger size, and improve communication between various people involved in the operation. Now, the business can support operations, such that they’ve been able to increase efficiency by 60% and begin national delivery of their products.
3. Turn hungry fans into satisfied customersWith 366,000 Facebook fans, Buddy needed to find a way to capture those fans and turn them into customers. Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Carlo’s bakery staff can now interact with those same fans online through social, and when customer’s share their positive experiences about Carlo’s famous cakes, thousands of fans are able to hear about how much other people love their products.
4. Cooking reactively to proactivelyIn less than eight weeks, Carlo’s was able to turn what was a chaotic work environment into a proactive work environment, where instead of operating in a fog of confusion, there is now more visibility about what’s selling best this month, cannoli’s or fudge, and where the best profits are really coming from.
5. Delivering better customer experienceWith 20 million dollars in sales annually today, Carlo’s bakery has been able to grow and at the same time deliver better customer experiences. Making cakes is a lot more complicated than it looks on the show, explains Buddy. “It’s the person who takes the order; it’s the person who makes the sponge, the person who fills it. The person who decorates it. The person who delivers it. It’s a lot of people who have to interact with this cake.” And that means a lot of room for error.
When Carlo’s used a paper system, they used to make mistakes, because every change had to be tracked manually, now by using a digital platform, not only are they getting orders out the door correctly, but the bakery has been able to enhance customer experience, and increase customer loyalty.