Q&A with Liv Breads on Holiday E-Commerce Success
How they sold $20k through their restaurant website
Liv Breads, an acclaimed artisan bakery and cafe, is located in downtown Millburn, New Jersey—a small commuter town outside of New York City. The smell of baking sourdough bread and pastries fills the air, reminiscent of a corridor more likely to be found somewhere in Europe. When co-owners Elana and Yaniv Livneh looked to open their bakery, it made sense to bring on their friend, Bary Yogev, as head baker and partner. Yogev is renowned abroad, developing the programs at some of Isreal’s top bakeries over the span of his 20-year career. We sat down with Elana to talk about their thriving business, how technology has streamlined their operations and how they sold $20k in challah preorders through their restaurant website for the Jewish High Holidays.
The interior of Liv Breads. Photos courtesy of Liv Breads.
Tell us a little more about Liv Breads and how you got started.
We opened in 2018 in our current location, a 3,000 sq foot space and quickly made a name for ourselves in the neighborhood. I come from a software background and my husband, Yaniv, is an entrepreneur. It’s common to find Italian or even American-style bakeries, however, we found that there was a lack of European-style bakeries in the area. Together, we partnered with Bary and Rony to create Liv Breads and offer something new to the community.
Liv Breads sourdough loaf. Photos courtesy of Liv Breads.
Can you talk more about the space, the neighborhood and what you offer?
Millburn is a commuter town, about 40 minutes outside of the city (New York City) and is rich with restaurants and cafes. We wanted to create an open feel, where our guests could see the bread-making process. It’s an open kitchen completely visible to everyone who comes in. If guests come early enough, they can see the sourdough bread coming out of the oven. Aesthetically, it’s a modern feel with an industrial influence. We offer everything from coffee, espresso, croissants and pastries to lunchtime sandwiches and soups, all of which is reflective of the current season. And around the Jewish holidays, challah has been particularly popular.
Yeah, you sold almost $20k in various baked goods through your website in September. How did you do it?
We were surprised by the amount of business we did. We looked at selling preorders of challah, cakes and quiches online prior to the High Holidays. We wanted to anticipate how much to make in preparation for it so that all of our guests had access to it. Taking pre-orders helped us prep, provided us with cashflow and gave our guests peace of mind knowing that their order was reserved ahead of time for pickup.
Preorders prior to opening their doors for pickup. Photo courtesy of Liv Breads.
How were you taking preorders previously before BentoBox?
Guests would come in and fill out paper forms and we would then take payment at the register. But we knew we needed to streamline the process. The old process had a tendency to back up our lines, take up a lot of our team’s time and ultimately made it difficult to manage the paper trail for each order. Through the website, guests could place orders 24/7 and pay ahead of time. It also allowed us to manage all of the orders in the backend of the website, to have names and numbers for each order. It saved us an incredible amount of time and effort.
Bary Yogev, co-owner and head baker in the kitchen. Photo courtesy of Liv Breads.
How did you market your holiday pre-order offerings?
We have about 4,000 guests who receive our monthly newsletters. I made sure to announce what was available, as I do with any new product we offer. Bary taught for years at Danon Culinary School in Tel Aviv so we hold breadmaking workshops, which I’ll also announce. What worked well was ensuring the opening and closing dates were apparent so that people wouldn’t miss their opportunity for preorders as well as for our workshops. We’re working on our Thanksgiving preorders now which will include all of our bread as well as pumpkin pies and more. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.
Fresh dough ready for the oven. Photo courtesy of Liv Breads.
How else are you looking to use technology to grow your business?
We’re looking at growing the business beyond the physical. We just partnered with Whole Foods, as a local vendor for nearby stores. Our near-future goal is implementing a shipping program for a few of our items. By nature of some of our offerings, they have a relatively short shelf-life. To eliminate waste, we support and donate to local food shelters and food insecure organizations on a weekly basis when there are unsold items.
A basket of bread. Photo courtesy of Liv Breads.
Be sure to keep up with Liv Breads as they grow their offerings online. If you’re interested in learning more about ways to take preorders for the holidays or sell products through your restaurant website, get in touch with us.