Well, I've been thinking about the cake business for a long time now, but funds are short and it just hasn't happened yet, even with trying to get loans and such. So yesterday, I was e-mailing with a family member, talking about our plans and dreams, and I mentioned a business idea that my cousin (an event planner) and I (a cake decorator and ordained minister) had. Well, the family member loved the idea. He has a very good head for business, and after doing a bit of research online, said that he thinks it would be a good plan and that there's not much like it in the area we're looking at. So he's thinking he might be able to help us get started! Wasn't expecting that!!!!
My question for the folks out there who have their own facilities... How much do you do? Do you just run the site, and allow other vendors in? Do you do any all-inclusive packages (meaning, everything but the clothes)? And what would you suggest having on hand to begin with. My relative would like to have some numbers to crunch, and while I've been playing around with the idea, I haven't actually done the hard research for this part. I've been looking mainly at either a home bakery (outside of the home, but on our land), or a storefront, but not this big 'dream'. So I never really crunched numbers for tables, chairs, linens, tableware, candelabras, etc.
Any advice welcome! I'm not even sure where to start!!! And I never imagined that it might be a possibility this soon. Eeeep!
As you write your business plan (and you WILL need a biz plan!), contemplate buying tables and chairs vs renting them from a rental company. You might be able to get a deal with the rental company with a great rate if you have consistent busienss with them. At the very least, you are not spending money on inventory .... you rent the tables for $12 and charge the bride $20. Rental company comes in and delivers/sets-up (set up usually has an add'l fee).
If you do cakes but also allow outside vendors, allow me to suggest a marketing strategy. Some places have a preferred caterer(s) list. If you use someone outside of this list, the place charges you and extra (i.e.) $500. So if you use preferred caterer, it's $1000 to rent the room, but if you bring in your own caterer, it's $1500. I say, charge $1500 and if you use a preferred caterer, it's $1000. The 2nd way makes the client feel like they've gotten a discount while the first way makes them feel like they are getting surcharged.
Part of the biz plan writing is, of course, checking out the competition. What other facilities are available for wedding receptions and other events? How many do they seat? What is the avg wedding size in your area (if the avg is 150 and your place only seats 75, then you've got a problem). What do they offer that you don't and how will you combat that? How will you utilize the space during the week for extra income (Kiwanis lunches, business training seminars, etc). What will you do for income during the famine part of the wedding feast-famine season?
Feel free to PM me .... I recently went thru this process when we looked at buying such a facilty in another market area.
Thank you so much, and I probably will PM you when things come up, if you don't mind! I really like your business attitude and the advice you give other folks concerning how to deal with customers is spot on with my own customer service standards.
I have looked at the buying vs. renting... I've got the numbers crunched on that. It might come down to how much we're able to get from a grant/loan, and where we need to concentrate our money for the site. My hubby suggested that, if nothing else, we could always start by renting elsewhere, and when profits allow, buy the tables and chairs. Though that would mean additional storage space, since we'd need enough of several shapes and sizes to accommodate the size crowd we'd like to attract.
We did think about the 'lean' times... figured that we'd offer seminar or luncheon space, birthdays, anniversaries, and any other gathering that folks need space for. I have a lot of ideas, and am writing them all down as they occur to me, so that when my 'team' and I sit down and hash all of it out, we can come up with a solid plan.
My best friend has worked for several companies where she did a lot of grant proposals and business plans, so she's going to be doing the bulk of that. Which is good... I don't have a head for that kind of thing. Never have! I'd do most of the cooking, and her sister (my other best friend) would help with the larger parties. She's done a number of weddings and a ton of 'feasts' in our medieval group, at an average seating of 300.
So we've got two backers (both uncles to me), and possibly a third, since my best friends' family has access to ready cash and enjoys helping family get started in businesses.
My head's just jam-packed full of ideas and concerns, questions and logistics! LOL
It's a LOT to think about, isn't it??
Thank you sooo much! I will probably bug the heck out of you, before it's all over. Just tell me when you're done! LOL