The Elegant Farmer
In Mukwonago, Wisconsin, The Elegant Farmer transcends typical categories of bakeries, markets, or farms. They began in 1947 as a family dairy farm that sold surplus produce but expanded and developed over the years to become an entity far greater than a roadside fruit stand. Keith Schmidt, one of the current owners of Elegant Farmer, explains that while people can and do still visit for produce, they often come for much more.
“When fall comes, we open up pick-your-own orchard, and people come to pick pumpkins,” Keith says. “We have a corn maize, hay rides, and apple cider donuts in the donut shack. We serve lunches here at the farm. People can eat , shop at the market, and spend the whole day here.” Elegant Farmer is a destination – feeding and entertaining people from all over Wisconsin and Illinois.
Adding a Bakery
Elegant Farmer’s initial focus had been produce, but Keith says that the bakery has become a much more prominent force in the Elegant Farmer business.
They were already locally famous for their “Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag,” but in 2008, Bobby Flay did a Throw Down with that pie, garnering Elegant Farmer national attention. From their pies to the jumbo fruit-filled muffins and breads to their homemade salads and award-winning cheeses in the deli, Elegant Farmer keeps busy in the kitchen. Keith explains the shift, “People are working, but they still want to enjoy good quality. We listen to what they wanted, and that’s how our bakery has taken off.”
TwinPeaks Point of Sale
In peak season, the Elegant Farmer is a busy place. The number of employees nearly doubles, and up to six cash registers are used at the same time. With such crowds of customers, Keith says using the right POS system is an intrinsic part of their success. Rather than getting caught up in clerical errors or waiting for credit card purchases to go through, Elegant Farmer uses TwinPeaks Software’s POS system, which makes the transactions easy and efficient. “When we’re busy,” he says, “we get the customers through here a lot faster. Everything’s incorporated… We have touch screens. It’s even easier to learn on them.”
Elegant Farmer already used TwinPeaks software “Payables and Receivables,” but in 1999, they also implemented Z-Bake and the POS system, which has eliminated problems and improved customer interaction. “The other system was getting outdated,” Keith explains. “You couldn’t change prices immediately in it. You had to wait until it was communicated overnight. It was old-style cash register. It did not have credit card scanners built into them, so you had to physically enter the dollar amount in the volt. It just opens up the doors for more errors. [TwinPeaks POS system] speeds things up tremendously. I can go in and change the price of tomatoes, and it’s immediately changed at the registers.”
While many bakeries and markets are going more digital, Keith says that Elegant Farmer has resisted this in a certain respect. He admitted that he sees the value in MyOnlineBakery and will probably end up using it one day but wants to keep the face-to-face and voice-to-voice interaction for as long as possible. After all, Elegant Farmer is not simply a market; it often functions as an all-day family affair. And because they encompass more than a typical bakery or market would, they have particular needs that Keith says are met with TwinPeaks.
“[TwinPeaks] customizes for us,” Keith says. “Everything we want to do, they’re able to do on the technical side. We don’t want to use a stand-alone gift card system in addition to our POS. If cashiers run [the purchase] in gift cards, they’d have to swipe it in an external machine. With that, there’s room for errors, cashiers wouldn’t know how to activate, and we’d be charged monthly.” With the TwinPeaks customization, Elegant Farmer is saving itself that trouble. Everything is in one system, and the need for a stand-alone machine is eliminated. “It helped smooth things out, simplify, streamline,” Keith says. With gift cards taken care of, Elegant Farmer also wants to implement a loyalty rewards program, and TwinPeaks is actualizing it for them. “We want to reward our loyal customers,” Keith says, but he doesn’t want any hassle accompanying the process. “And TwinPeaks is taking care of that,” he says.
Elegant Farmer is a unique business, and to be competitive and successful, they need software that can meet their specific needs. TwinPeaks is committed to working with them to ease the places where they find problems and to help them grow in the areas where they desire growth.