Business Lessons from ‘The Great British Bake Off’

One of my guilty pleasures at the moment is catching up with The Great British Bake Off. With everything that’s going on around us this year, it’s a proper slice of comfort telly. Happily, the only tiers you’ll hear talk of are the tiers of the show-stopping gateaux or the tears of the winners and losers. 

I don’t profess to be any sort of baker but I do love watching other people having a go. I love the emotional investment they have in it too, talk about being engaged and passionate about what you do!

It’s also a great example of how effective planning, and having a well thought through process, will deliver a great performance.


For the production team it’s about:

  • making sure they have the right people in the tent, a good mix of contestants with different skills and personalties
  • making sure they have all of the recipes and instructions prepared for 11 weeks ahead
  • having all of the ingredients and equipment to hand
  • everything working as it should, particularly the ovens
  • and of course, having the star presenting team assembled.

The contestants have to plan and prepare too. Their first challenge is always to bake something that they’ve been told about in advance to ease them into the competition. So you know they’ll have been at home perfecting the process, getting their timing just right; practising over and over again until they can do it with their eyes shut.

Just as a business owner tries to anticipate the future when planning, the contestants also anticipate the challenges and the opportunities they might face and practise for those eventualities as well.


I talk a lot about having one right way to do everything, and making sure that your one right way is simple, logical and repeatable. For the Bake-off’ contestants this means understanding what they have to do when, and to what standard, to make sure that everything comes together perfectly at the end. 

So for example if you’re making tea, it’s logical to put the kettle on first so it can be boiling while you get everything else together. If you’re baking a cake you’d get that in the oven before you start on the fillings and decoration. A simple, logical and repeatable process.

Even on ‘Bake-off’ your process has to be right in order to scale – baking one perfect cupcake is straightforward enough (for some!), but making twelve identical cup cakes, or scones or pastries, to the same standard as your one, requires a repeatable process.

And it’s that consistency each week – that consistently excellent performance that leads one contestant to be crowned ‘star baker’, and ultimately winning the whole competition.

Wouldn’t you love that sort of consistency in your business.

Do one thing: Ask your top 10 customers where in your business, they think you could be more consistent.


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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