The Croissant Theory: Using Scarcity to Tempt and Thrive


In the world of delectable pastries and baked goods, there’s a new strategy that has taken the industry by storm: the Croissant Theory. This theory revolves around the idea that the most mouthwatering treats are those that are elusive, the ones that customers must work to obtain.

Bakeries, both big and small, are discovering that creating scarcity can not only entice customers but also reduce wastage, making this strategy a win-win for both businesses and their patrons.

The Croissant Theory: Using Scarcity to Tempt and Thrive

What’s The Croissant Theory

Smaller independent bakeries are using a scarcity strategy to attract customers and enhance their brand image. By offering limited runs of baked goods, such as croissants, and promoting them on social media, bakeries create a sense of exclusivity and quality. This strategy allows them to connect directly with customers and drive demand.

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The Croissant Theory: Strategies

Scarcity Sells

Smaller independent bakeries are pioneering the scarcity strategy, which involves offering limited runs of baked goods, such as croissants, and promoting them on social media.

By making these items hard to find, bakeries create an aura of exclusivity and quality around their products.

Quality Perception

The scarcity strategy isn’t just about limiting availability; it also contributes to enhancing the perceived quality of the products.

Customers perceive hard-to-obtain items as more valuable and desirable, attributing a higher level of craftsmanship and care to them.

Direct Customer Connection

The scarcity approach allows bakeries to directly engage with their customers. By announcing when items are sold out for the day on social media, bakeries generate excitement and anticipation among their clientele.

This connection reinforces customer loyalty and encourages them to return for the next special treat.

Pressure to Perform

Bakeries face the challenge of selling items like croissants quickly, as these delicate pastries lose their freshness and value within hours. This time-sensitive nature of baked goods has contributed to the evolution of the Croissant Theory.

The Business Behind the Theory

The Croissant Theory has gained traction due to several pressures on bakeries.

These businesses are grappling with labor shortages, rising ingredient costs, and unpredictable demand throughout the week. To address these challenges and attract more customers, bakeries have capitalized on the scarcity strategy, fostering a culture of patrons seeking freshly baked, high-quality goods.

Mindy Segal, the founder of Mindy’s Bakery in Chicago, emphasizes the importance of the strategy: “If it doesn’t sell out, we don’t make it anymore.” This approach not only reduces wastage but also builds excitement around standard products, leading to a surge in demand.

The Rise of Standalone Bakeries

Data from Sundale Research shows that standalone bakery sales have witnessed remarkable growth.

In 2022, sales exceeded $7.7 billion, compared to $6.1 billion in 2018. This increase is attributed, in part, to the adoption of the Croissant Theory and the heightened demand it generates.

Nick Heavican, co-owner of Brooklyn bakery Nick & Sons, attests to this trend. After facing a decline in wholesale business during the pandemic, he observed a surge in consumer demand for his baked goods. Operating with shorter hours since the pandemic, Nick & Sons thrives on scarcity, regularly selling out of almond croissants and other specialty pastries.


The Croissant Theory has revolutionized the way bakeries attract customers, enhance their brand image, and reduce wastage. By embracing limited runs and scarcity, these establishments have managed to create a culture of anticipation and excitement. They also foster stronger connections with their clientele.

This approach has proven to be a game-changer for both consumers and businesses alike, making the search for the perfect pastry an adventure worth savoring.

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