A guide to business expansion, by Bross Bagels’ Larah Bross

A guide to business expansion, by Bross Bagels’ Larah Bross

The best business advice comes from the people who are living and learning in their area of expertise. And for insights on business expansion, who best to talk to than Larah Bross, owner and face of Edinburgh institution Bross Bagels.

Larah opened her first site in Portobello back in August 2017, and just two and a half years later there are now six Bross Bagels sites – and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. “Growing so quickly and trying to retain this independent business feel, it’s challenging,” Larah tells us. Getting to grips with business growth may have been a challenge, but she’s been a model student. Check out her secrets below.

“We always have a special, a bagel that is unique to each shop. So, even if you always go to one shop, you’d go to the other, too.”

Keep it personable

There’s not much at Bross Bagels that hasn’t been influenced by Larah, especially the menu, which is inspired by things she has eaten, or wants to eat herself. “I think keeping it personable is how you maintain that independent feel,” says Larah. “Our Chicken Parm is inspired by this tiny little deli in New York where I’d go and get a Chicken Parm,” she explains. “When I was making the menu, I thought, ‘How good would that be on a bagel?’”

Develop branding that ties locations together

Grow your business – but keep it consistent. “Each shop is a bit different in the way it looks,” says Larah. “But the windows look very similar with the yellow awning so you always know, ‘Oh, there’s the Bross Bagel shop.’”

Think outside of the box

“I do a lot of fun social media adverts and things like that,” Larah says. “And in none of them do we showcase a bagel. We never sell bagel products on the adverts. So I think that keeping it fun and interesting, and keeping our marketing niche, gets people talking about us and helps to maintain our identity.”

But reflect your environment, too

“Each shop takes on the vibe of its community. We have consistent branding within, but there’s a different element in the design. The Leith shop is an old train station ticket office, in a nice, historic part of Leith. So we tried to keep it as authentic as possible, with exposed stone walls.”

Be thoughtful about new openings

“We opened the Leith store because we wanted to expose the bakery and make it more of an experience,” says Larah. “In Montreal, you see the baking and the ovens and it allows you to really get the full idea. So we took the risk to open it up, even though the first store hadn’t even been open a year.”

“iZettle has been the best thing to help me grow the business. We’re able to pull things up, see what’s selling the best, how much this is making, how many customers are coming, who’s buying what…”

Give people a reason to explore locations

If you’re thinking about how to expand your business locally, it’s a good idea to make sure each location has a USP that encourages customers to explore every one. “We always have a special, a bagel that is unique to each shop. So, even if you always go to one shop, you’d go to the other, too,” Larah explains. “And we do specials every weekend – people get really excited about having the new creation that we come up with every week: they come in and they’re like, ‘Can I get what I saw on Instagram?’ There’s always something new.”

Get a POS that links it all together

The right POS will make running multiple businesses feel easy. “iZettle has been the best thing to help me grow the business,” shares Larah. “We’re able to pull things up, see what’s selling the best, what’s selling the worst, how much this is making, how many customers are coming, who’s buying what… Each shop has its own identity, so I’m able to reflect numbers against each other. It’s very straightforward.”

Want a POS that can help you grow your business? Make better decisions with our reporting tools, and manage multiple locations in one place with our easy to use app. Find out more at iZettle.com


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