WATCH: Sponge Cakes offering sweet deals to regular and corporate customers
A bakery which supplies cakes to the royal palaces is hoping to present a sweet offering to its regular customers with a new rewards club.
Sponge Cakes in Holt, which was founded in 2009, is known for its weird and wonderful cake flavours which are stocked by the likes of Holkham Hall, Banham Zoo, P&O Ferries and Alton Towers.
But with a core range of 15 flavours established, the company is aiming to broaden its appeal – and encourage more customers back for another slice.
The Sponge Club, borne of feedback about delivery charges, has developed into a rewards club with plenty of extra treats.
For £20 a year members receive free delivery on up to 52 orders, advance ordering on seasonal specials and regular “flash” deals.
Richard Fowler, sales manager at Sponge, said following a pilot scheme emails about Sponge Club are being sent to the company’s database of 70,000 customers.
“The idea is exclusivity. It will cost us money but it is worth taking a hit financially to encourage people to buy.”
Mr Fowler said the company’s current focus is to make itself accessible to more people, reinforced by two new contracts with national food wholesalers Bidfood and Elite Food Services.
Sponge is also looking to grow and stabilise its corporate sales, which at the moment are centred around Christmas with sporadic orders through the rest of the year.
Mr Fowler said: “We have been guilty of not really pursuing it yet but corporate sales and gifting is a massive business, and because ours is such a different business it is getting popular – a cake landing on someone’s desk is going to make the company sending it be more well thought of.”
Established by Mark Joll and Byfords owner Iain Wilson, Sponge now has a factory staff of 20 and turned over around £1.3m in the last financial year.
Around 50% of its orders come from online customers and 50% from trade customers.
Its latest products, cake cards – which contain slices of loaf cake with a personalised message – are on the rise, with orders rising from around 100 a week a year ago to up to 300 a week.
Mr Fowler said: “The cake card has had great traction, especially with corporate customers. Sales are going up week on week.
“This has been a cake summer and the bakery has been very busy,” he added.
Despite being firmly rooted in rural Norfolk Sponge has made a name for itself around the UK.
Its clients range from Africa Alive, Cromer Pier and Pensthorpe nature reserve to the Merlin Entertainment Group (which owns Alton Towers) and Moonpig.
Director and co-founder Mark Joll said Sponge does “not make any great play” of being a Norfolk company, in order to make itself more appealing on a national level.
“The Norfolk message does not ring as true as being a wacky company that makes really good cakes,” he said.
Here are a few facts about the Sponge bakery:
One factory worker can slice and ice up to 2,500 baby sponges a day.
The bakery gets through around 10,000 eggs a week.
Its ovens can cook up to 700 baby sponges or up to 64 10” cake layers at a time.
On average the factory bakes 12 batches a day – enough to make 384 10” cakes.