I've recently been trying to make a long term plan for my business. I currently operate out of my home, after turning the basement into my studio. I have enough space to maintain a solid part time kind of career, but I do not think that I have the space to do as much as I would like to with my business.
My husband and I have discussed a store in the past, and got to talking about it again yesterday. Where we can not agree is in the benefits/detriments of the different kinds of bakeries. I love to bake, and can bake most anything, but what I really love (and what I have invested most of my time and $$ into) is cake decorating.
In my mind there are 2 options:
1)There's the walk in, have a cup of coffee and slice of cheesecake type of cafe bakery.
2) Then there is the one where all we do is make and decorate cakes. Not to say you couldn't order one as a walk in customer, but the main source of revenue is in pre-ordered cakes for events.
I can honestly see myself be happy in either, and simply don't know how to decide.
Since many of you already have your very own stores- was this a choice you had to make? As each choice has obvious ups and downs, was there a factor that maybe clinched it for you? I need some outside advice, and maybe some new points that I haven't yet thought of
I didn't have the "coffee shop" type of storefront but I will share there were add'l expenses involved (in my location ... laws may differ in yoru area, so check them out). For example, if I sold one cup of coffee and provided a place for them to sit and drink it, then I had to provide a customer-access restroom, handicap accessible, at the front of the store. This would not only eat up some of my square footage, but would cost me an extra $9000 in the build out. I would pretty much have to have a full time person to work the front area as i did the "management" stuff, which included a number of off-site committments. I also factored in the cost of my square footage and "how many cookies and cupcakes would I have to sell per day to "pay off" the square footage that table and chairs were taking up? Not only is "time is money" a mantra, but "space is money".
Just some things to consider and factor in, no matter which direction you do.
I'll try not to be long winded . . . I started out in my home and looked for a separate place simply for space but ended up opening up to the public. After a year I closed to the public and became appointment only. It was almost impossible to answer the phone, wait on a customer, decorate and bake. If you're a one man or woman show, think about it. Customers came in and nursed a cup of coffee for a couple of hours and wanted me to keep them company. Well, I'm a gabber to start with so you can imagine I got next nothing done until after closing. It wore me out. I would consider reopening once I am financially able to hire three of me. lol
Even though the idea of customers strolling in for a coffee and a treat is appealing, I chose not to go that route either. Like indydebi, the accessibilty requirements add major bucks to your expenses as well as the payroll costs of having a person there whenever your open.
I really enjoy having my commercial, by appointment only space where I can work uninterrupted for the most part. When I finish for the day, I lock up and leave. No hours to keep!
There are pros and cons to both sides and one of the main issues is the amount of customer traffic you would have to make it worthwhile to hire help.
all of the money paid to have a full time+ more 'counter person" and the thought of having product left at the end of the day to throw away brought me to the decision to have an appt. only salon. I do not do walk-ins. If anyone does stop by, I explain nicely that I can give them the personalized attention if they make an appt.
I only make cake to order, nothing left hanging around in the freezer.
I still get interrupted enough with phone calls and answering emails BUT, if I didn't do that, I wouldn't have the business!
I have a walk-in bakery, but no seating. People can stop in and buy cupcakes, brownies, cookies, etc. and take them home, work or just eat them while heading to wherever. I like it because it gives the public a chance to taste my yummy cupcakes and then want to order custom cakes from me. We get lots of calls during the day for orders and if i'm gonna be there anyway I might as well make some extra money .
It's nice having the extra cash flow of anywhere between $50 and $150 a day just in those small sales. Add that to all the extra orders from people trying your stuff and ordering cakes and I think it's worth it.
By the way, we don't have a public restroom and it's not required because no seating
I have a small sit down bakery. I do have an accesible restroom. The benefit is the extra income from what is sold from my case. The downside is if I am busy in the kitchen I have to stop what I am doing and come out to the front. Yes, most people want to talk, I politely tell them if I am to busy and they understand. My shop is small enough that it is just myself and I have a window from my kitchen to the front. The extra income is worth having the sit down service in my opinion. (getting busy enough lately that I have started thinking about part time help for Monday mornings and Friday afternoons).