I have been officially selling my cakes for 2 years now and my business is growing quite well. I have actually been turning wedding cakes away as I can only take on so much work in my home kitchen. (Storage etc) I'm getting calls for cakes on a weekly basis. I am considering expanding out into my own "sweet shop".
I have no competition around me and my recipes are very popular and unique. I have had so many people tell me I need to open a store front. BUT, as I have done some homework I see start up cost can be enormous. I have experience in running a retail business as my husband has his own business.
We know from experience overhead costs can kill a small business. So I'm looking for advice and any suggestions from those of you that have your own commercial retail cake shop and how you got started without a pile of money. Plus, I am used to baking out of gas or electric ovens. I have 3 in my home kitchen but I would want to go with commercial convection but don't have that experience.
Wondering if I need to take some restaurant college classes, I've worked in restaurants and have taken some food service courses BUT am I thinking of taking on more than I can chew...?Would love your advice!
I too am looking to expand to a store front. My business is really beginning to take off. I have a licensed commercial kitchen on my property in Ca.
I really am beginning to see the need for expanding.
I am going to look for a property that was a previous restaurant. Something that wouldn't be that hard for me to convert with my current kitchen equipment. I have decided to go for it, but take my time since I can still keep working out of my home kitchen.
Hopefully with a little luck the right circumstances will present itself. Keep the faith.
If you do decide to go ahead and expand, make sure you have your business plan together. Making and decorating cakes comes second to the business.
I made the choice to go commercial about a year ago. I have been in business "officially" since January and have been slammed since! Best decision ever...I found a place with really low overhead and converted it to a shop. It is all about the location..it can make or break you!
jsc, you could expand your property for less money and it would be an investment... more sf, higher property value. Renting will not allow you to "keep" your money.
You have to get true costs of a storefront, calculate how much more you need to produce and how much more you will be able to produce per hour.
Remember, in a home kitchen, every order is profitable. In a storefront, many orders will go to paying overhead.
If the law allows, you can hire help now to see how it works for you. The first person you can hire is a maid, allowing you to free up that time for higher priced activity. You can also hire shift work if this is not your home kitchen. Don't forget that if you work eight hours a day, your kitchen is idle sixteen hours. In a storefront, you will need to delegate baking, etc., and this could be a starting point.
Finding a place to retail your baked goods is another option.
I have a very large commercial kitchen and I set it up from the beginning to accomodate multiple work stations. Just saying... I like to keep my money. It will be tough to grow out of my space. Even a building that can be converted into a two car garage could be considered against a rented storefront. And look at all of these people on CC who want a home business. This is an added value at sale time. And don't forget all of the people who cater.
thanks for the advice!!!!....after going over all the start up costs my husband and I decided it's all about OVERHEAD....right now I have NONE! I make a profit at what I do....and I have free time and can turn down business if I want to....sure everyone keeps telling me I need a store front and I'm sure it would be fun for a time but I have realized I'd be married to it...and money isn't everything....I'm a wife and mom first and foremost! With a lot of thought and always prayer I'll keep doing what I'm doing! love having CC members to turn to for great advice!
how did you go about getting a a licensed commercial kitchen on your property? I would really like to look into that
jsc2010 I saw you mentioned you have 3 home oven. Maybe you might consider invest in a commercial convection oven because you will able to cut your baking time which allow you more free time to take more order. You just have to lower the temp you bake in and shorten the time. I saw some post on CC before about baking with convection oven. HTH.
I have been in business now selling my cakes for about 6 months... for the first 4 months i was slammed...now my orders are just trickling in. we dont have a store front, just an at home commercial space downstairs. can i ask if you all advertise your cakes or just word of mouth?