Originally hailing from Mexico City, La Panaderia owners, David and Jose Caceres embarked on a journey to San Antonio in 2013, in hopes of bringing their dream of owning their own business to life.
Prior to that, David and Jose – bakers by trade – made delicious treats and sold them at nearby farmer’s markets. When they realized that it was quickly picking up traction, and that the treats were becoming a local favorite, they decided to try their hand in brick and mortar retail.
Getting Off The Ground
Having previously owned bread factories in Mexico, David and Jose had experience with big factories and wholesale, but this was their first time with a bakery café in the United States. Bakeries and food establishments need to pay careful attention to their perishable inventory and how that’s flowing through to sales. “We make everything from scratch here – we only purchase the raw ingredients. So we have to know how much to make of specific foods to cut down on our waste each day”, says David. “ShopKeep allows us to plan production of each item by tracking best sellers, and even understanding what tends to sell at specific times of the day. I also like to separate the sales reports of bakery items from food items to truly understand where we make our money.”
“We make everything from scratch here – we only purchase the raw ingredients. So we have to know how much to make of specific foods to cut down on our waste each day. ShopKeep allows us to plan production of each item by tracking best sellers, and even understanding what tends to sell at specific times of the day.”
Building a Social Following
Before speaking with David, I casually perused La Panaderia’s website, Facebook page, and even some of their reviews on local business sites such as Yelp, and one thing was certain: their following is big across all social channels. Just the mere fact that they currently have over 15,000 ‘likes’ on their Facebook page as a one-location small business speaks volumes. One of the things that they’ve done really well on their social media pages is share great content. They’ve excelled at keeping their followers engaged with beautiful images of their food and pastries, which has definitely helped expand their following.
The common themes of all of La Panaderia’s online reviews are their impeccable presentation and service. Several Yelp reviews even referenced the owner standing at the entrance, welcoming customers and explaining the different options. David credits this social success to his focus on creating the freshest and most delicious treats, as well as ensuring a great experience for every customer. “We’ve become very popular on social media and word of mouth by focusing on the experience in the store. You attract customers by making quality goods and making the experience enjoyable for your guests. Our business has really grown because of it and the community has supported us. This will become more important as we expand and open more locations this year, which is our goal.”
Words of Wisdom
In closing our conversation, I asked David for his top tidbits of advice for other small business owners and he had some great things to add. “The first thing is to know your industry well. Starting a business requires a lot of time and energy, and most people have no idea what to expect. I worked in the bakery business in Mexico for over 20 years and I’m still learning things here everyday”, says Caceres. “Secondly, don’t just wing it. Understand what’s selling and produce your goods based on those numbers. Lastly, keep it simple by focusing on what your customers want and improve the experience for them.”