Hello pastry friends,
I've opened a very small bakery in a very small town recently, and am doing quite well with it. I've been doing business under the same brand name out of outside kitchens over two years, and already had a bit of a following so things are going well.
I'm baking for wholesale accounts & special orders and prepping for special events and bakery stock all week, and then I'm open to the public on the weekends, Friday through Sunday. We're a tourist town and there's a university literally a few feet away, so the model is working well for me thus far. The other bakery in town has taken to essentially copying part of my formula and presenting it exclusively during my days of business and promising that everything is handcrafted from scratch using old world recipes. Most everything comes in on Sysco trucks and they don't actually make anything from scratch aside from cheesecake. basically, their advertising isn't carefully worded, as in, "baked fresh on site"-- they're just blatantly lying.
I'm getting a lot of feedback from both industry contemporaries and casual friends and other business owners that I should take an active stand and make an effort to contradict their advertising.
Am I naive to think that the best course of action is to simply focus on my product and customer service and not worry about what the other bakery does? My plan of action, if you could even consider it one, was simply to keep my head down, keep plugging away, and worry about my integrity-- not that of the other bakery.
In your experiences in the field, when competition swoops in to purposefully mislead people in order effectively compete, do you actively engage? or simply monitor what they're advertising and carry on with your own work?
In the past, I've taken the "oh, just work hard and be honest" road, and at times, it's blown up in my face. How do you handle something like this? Do you start advertising the uniqueness of your product more heavily to discern it from competitors? Do people actually have success with subtle, passive aggressive challenges to competing business?
I don't really want to engage in battle that will inevitably turn into a war I don't want to fight. I just want to keep doing what I'm doing, and as long as customers continue to come in and are happy, I don't see any use in worrying TOO much about what the other guys do unless it were to reach a point where they actually point the finger at me/my business/my product in the public sphere and criticize it.
Am I right? Take the high road? Just work hard and trust in the quality of my product?
What do you think? What are your experiences with this?
Thanks, everyone, in advance for your feedback.