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Although they often fly under the radar, grocery store decorators are a sought after and highly specialized group of people whose work goes on to be a significant part of innumerable birthdays and special events. Hiring managers seek out individuals with a cross between high productivity, technique, and friendly demeanor to maintain their bakery departments. Unfortunately like many grocery departments, the bakery burnout can be a downer on morale and productivity. Fear not! There are a few highly effective ways to keep your employees excited and empowered when coming to work.

Present a “Choose Your Own Cakeventure” Worksheet
This is an incredibly helpful tool and will make your staff feel like they are in control of their daily toils (many say that’s the key to happiness!) By making a sheet where the staff can choose from a curated list of options, they are able to feel as though they are creating their own cake.
Example:

  • Bottom Border
    • Straight
    • Ruffle
    • Standard Shell
  • Top Border
    • Straight with Shell Top
    • Swirl
    • Ruffle
  • Flower
    • Rose
    • Rosettes and Buds
    • Mums and Heavy Leaves

Create Seasonal Color Palettes
This is fun for you and your team! Create several different color palettes that allow them to choose what type of theme or niche that they’d like their cake to fall into. Specify limits by saying only a certain number of each style can be in the case at a time. Otherwise, let their creativity flow.
Example:

  • Holiday Fun
    • Green
    • Red
    • White
  • Traditional Holiday
    • White
    • Red
    • Silver/Gold
  • Snow/White Holiday
    • Crystal Blue
    • White
    • Silver

Ask for Seasonal Design Ideas and Inspiration
Creating a shared Pinterest board or encouraging idea sharing among your cake decorators are fantastic ways of bouncing ideas off of one another and creating a creative and inspired environment. Encourage them to feel inspired by trends and designs from all over the world. With their newfound inspiration watch their skills and excitement grow.

Offer Weekly Team Training on Little Things
Manager and employees alike get a little jumpy when training is involved, but this doesn’t have to be taken too seriously. In this instance, the more casual the better! Call your employees over to show them a cool new flower or border technique that you came across and wanted to share. Without feeling pressured to perform, your employees will have fun with a change to routine and an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t feel discouraged if they quit early on, the goal is to engage them, encourage them, and boost employee camaraderie. Any new skills they learn in the process is all icing on top!

Engage Employees in Taste Tests and Brainstorming Sessions
The best part about working in food service is getting to dip in on the samples. Unfortunately, in Cakeland that often doesn’t happen! Once in awhile pull a few cookies from a sheet tray, cut open a cake, or dip into a bowl of icing. Ask your employees their thoughts, how it could be improved, or if they see any new or innovative uses for the product. You may find yourself seeing tired products in new ways, and your employees will feel heard and valued.