I have an opportunity to make dessert cakes for a restaurant. No fondant or fancy decorating, just simple buttercream decorating or specialty cakes. I am in VA, so can get licensed as a home kitchen. I think I would really like to do this; I really enjoy making really good cakes, and I do it well. I am trying to figure out if the pricing would make it worth it. In my area simple two-layer cakes or specialty cakes seem to go for between 30 and 40 dollars. The restaurant would need to make about a two-thirds profit on the cake, and they sell pieces for about $6.50 a slice. I think that works out to them spending about $35 a cake -- is that right?? Do you think that's underpricing my time? I don't have a sense of how long it would eventually take me, as I've never done it on a larger scale before. I'm sure I would get in a rhythm, and perhaps do baking ahead of time and assembling/frosting the day before. I'd shoot for providing them several cakes on the weekends. I wouldn't be their sole provider, they'd just offer my cakes as the special for the night.
Do any of you do this? Can you give me any advice or thoughts?
What size cakes would you be making...and would they be served as dessert or coffee portions?
Price your cakes to what your needs are. Let the restaurant deal with their markups.
Yes, how many servings do they want per cake? The bakery I worked for was approached by several restaurants to provide cakes for them, but the time involved plus the cost was not worth it. A home baker such as yourself might work. Just make sure you're getting paid what it's worth and doesn't end up being all you do...unless that's all you want to do!
If you aren't doing any "decorating" and you have simple bc on your cakes, then you won't have to put quite as much time into each cake but you still need to factor in your time and ingredients. Once you decide on this price for you, then you can determine if it is worth it. You decide your price, not the restaurant. If it is more than the restaurant is willing to pay, then don't do it. If they can pay you what you need/deserve, then by all means, GO FOR IT!
I don't know how it is in your state, but I own a licensed shop and I'm not allowed to sell to other retailers without yet another license in my hand. (Processing License) Check things carefully--I was so disgusted when I was told about the array of fees the state (Kansas) wanted me to pay I just quit making some things.
"They" certainly don't make it easy....
Thank you, everybody! Really good thoughts and points.
I'd be making 8 or 9 inch layer cakes/specialty cakes, cheesecakes, and perhaps key lime pie.
I don't know the difference between coffee and dessert servings -- enlighten me?
I was thinking between 12-16 servings per cake, depending on what it was/how rich it was, etc. I really like the point about pricing it how I need to price it and letting them worry about the markup, although I guess the unknown for me is how long it will take me, so how to price my time. I am thinking I would get pretty fast, but perhaps be slower in the beginning. I am thinking that if other folks around here charge 36 or 38 dollars for a 8 or 9 inch cake, that it must be worth their time, right? But I am thinking those folks also do weddings, etc. I wonder if doing only those cakes would not make it a big enough profit margin. Maybe it's something I am just going to have to try and see.
I am interested in making wedding cakes, although that feels nerve-wracking to me right now. I guess I would just learn by doing, hm? I have my eye on some wedding cake books...
I did some cakes and pies for a small diner in a local college town a few years ago. I didn't charge what I would have for a birthday or celebration cake because I needed the money at the time. He didn't like my prices, as he didn't charge over $3 per slice -they cut bigger slices for a diner, so he didn't get as many servings out of each cake. This is when I realized I was selling wholesale, not retail. BIG difference.
He was really slow during the winter and let the cakes sit out on the counter until it was sold so he could get his money's worth, no matter how long it took! I asked him about refrigeration, and he said he did only at night -EEKKK! Every time I made a delivery I asked about this, and he would give me the same answer. I didn't like the "no control" aspect of it -not knowing how they cut it or presented it, how or if the wait staff described the flavors, how they stored it after I left, if they gave my name out, etc.
One day I went over to see what he wanted for the next week and there was a "for lease" sign on the door and the place was dark!! I never even got a phone call! It was a relief for me, actually. I only supplied his desserts for about 6 weeks, but I wouldn't do it again unless I had a high production bakery, and there was extra frosting and cake batter left after orders so it would be "using up" what I already had on hand.