When it comes to our eating habits, we’re more predictable than we think. It’s a good thing too, if you ask Maury Rubin, founder of the City Bakery in Manhattan. Maury makes careful adjustments to both the scope and scale of his business in light of what he’s learnt about his customers’ eating habits, and he shares this in a recent article on The Economist.

Rubin’s approach is one that’s based on common sense and economics. On supply and demand, and on listening and developing an understanding of his customers. He pays attention to his data which interestingly, tells him:

  • People don’t buy rich desserts on Mondays or Tuesdays, so no need to bake brownies or carrot cake on those days
  • When it rains, people are less likely to buy baked goods
  • When children are away on holiday, there’s less demand for baked goods
  • Late-afternoon-coffee-drinking New Yorkers can be enticed by pretty fruit trio pastries.

His attention to data and detail, and the strategies he has taken in response, have helped his business survive and grow. While the relationship between price and demand might be the most reliable, other determinants such as needs, preferences and habits certainly make the equation seem a lot more human…particularly when there are croissants involved! We might like to think we’re unpredictable, but people have a way of leaving clues about themselves. If you watch closely you may find a gem or two that could make a huge difference to the way you do business.

Image attribute/source: Maury Rubin /

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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