Anyone That Does Retail(Or Has Experience)-- Help Please

Business By Lenette Updated 29 Jul 2011 , 12:54am by bakingpw

Lenette Posted 28 Jul 2011 , 5:33pm
post #1 of 6

I've got to make some decisions here and would appreciate your wisdom.

I am opening my shop and I will sell cupcakes, cookies, cake pops - mostly smaller carry out type items. Cakes will be made to order like I do now.

First, packaging - what is typical for you as far as bags/boxes, sizes etc?

I need to order my counters. I am not doing traditional display cases but counters with pedestals. I was planning to order one 6ft counter but I am beginning to think it's not enough. So now I am thinking of going with a 6 ft and a 4ft. Does anyone have insight/thoughts on this?

I am researching POS systems. What are you using? Does it work well for you or do you think another option may be better?


If there is anything else you want to chime in on feel free. TIA!

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5 replies
cakenovice2010 Posted 28 Jul 2011 , 6:22pm
post #2 of 6

Just a suggestion in terms of the display case. I would be leery of purchasing food items on pedestals that are in the open air. People cough, sneeze, shuffle dirt in - covered cases might be the better way to go.

POS is a must, not sure what to recommend for a food business. But I have to say after working without one and then with one, definitely easy with one. icon_smile.gif

Hire an accountant, most people don't until they have to and it's easier to start fresh from the beginning and stay organized. icon_smile.gif

Lenette Posted 28 Jul 2011 , 6:31pm
post #3 of 6

Oh, the food will be covered! I am picky about that myself. I think the HD requires a sneeze guard but I want the dome covers anyway. I always think about the things sneeze guards miss or if a fly gets in or something.
My other idea is to get acrylic cases to go on the counter tops. I just wanted something different.

I would love to hire a bookkeeper (accounting is not my gift) but don't think I can afford it. Costs are adding up everyday. I just found out yesterday that the flooring will have to be replaced. Of course, it may be one of those things where you pay now or pay more later. icon_smile.gif

Thank you for your reply!

Dayti Posted 28 Jul 2011 , 10:07pm
post #4 of 6

Some things might be different since I am not in the US, but I opened my bakery 9 months ago. I use specific cupcake boxes (like the ones you guys can get at brpboxshop) and small bakery boxes for other stuff like brownies, cookies etc. Paper bags are also good for cookies but that will depend on your location if people are used to getting things in paper bags icon_biggrin.gif The cupcakes are sold in 2's, 4's, 6's and 12's. Of course if someone wants 8 they get two boxes of 4. If they just want one, usually I hand it over with a napkin or it goes in a paper bag (I used to put them in the individual cupcake boxes but they work out really expensive).

I have an L shaped counter and think it is about the size you are saying - 6ft by 4ft. The 4ft bit is sometimes empty - depends how many flavours I have on the day. Since cupcakes are new here I always do 6 flavours at least, then I have brownies, blondies, cookies, cake pops. I have a domed pedestal with carrot cake and banana bread in it which sits on top of the counter. I display all the other goods on trays and plates under the glass top counter.

I would suggest you go for the bigger size now, since adding at a later date will be complicated. Also, the under counter storage will soon fill up with boxes and stuff (in my case I also do coffee etc and people can eat in, so I also have cups, plates etc under there).

POS I considered it but it was a few thousand bucks for the cheapest system and to be honest I thought it would be overkill for the 10 or 12 items I sell. I also work alone. In future I would be interested esp if I hire staff or have more products, but right now I use a Casio cash register (about $100) into which I programmed all the PLU's, so I can see how many cupcakes I sold vs. brownies if I want to. At the end of the day, it takes me 2 mins to plug all the numbers in an excel spreadsheet, which is fine for me at the moment.

Get a credit card machine and negotiate the % the bank keeps. I ummed and aahed about getting one but am so glad I did. About 50% of my biz is now paid through plastic so for me it is essential. The bank in my case keeps 1% of it. Better that than no sale at all because you don't take cards!

I have an accountant/lawyer whom I pay on a monthly basis, pretty cheap considering I have no clue about how taxes work in Spain (I am English and although I have been here for 15 years I just never had to deal with this stuff in previous jobs etc!). He would also handle payroll if I hire people.

Good luck in your exciting adventure! You will have a blast, it is REALLY hard work, but sooooo worth it. I work more now than I ever have but I work for ME. If you have any other questions fire away icon_biggrin.gif Sorry for babbling on so long...

Lenette Posted 28 Jul 2011 , 10:38pm
post #5 of 6

Wow, thank you for that! I think I am going to end up going the cash register route as well. Perhaps I can upgrade next year.

I hope you continue to have success with your bakery. icon_smile.gif

bakingpw Posted 29 Jul 2011 , 12:54am
post #6 of 6

In regards to the counter: Remember to account for the space the cash register will take up, and then, visualize someone (hopefully more than one at a time) standing at the counter, and if it's a woman, she always puts her purse on the counter. So now, you need room to place the cake. A 6' counter might not be enough.

One thing we did is have a worktable behind the counter too, it had long, shallow drawers where we kept boxes, the front of the drawer labeled for each size box.

We would show the cake to the customer at the counter, then turn around and place the cake on the table, fold the box and pack the cake, and place our label on top of box and hand it to the customer. This way, we did not have to fold the box, place the cake in it, all with people standing over. We found people can be very distracting while you are trying to concentrate.

I would suggest nice, double-sided, coated white boxes because they are a nice presentation and they clean up very well if you should get a fingerprint or icing on them, just wipe off. They are more expensive, though. (from my experience): the plain boxes inside and white outside with no coating: if you have icing on your finger (accidentally) and it touches the box, it gets grease stains on. Soon, if you go through several boxes for one cake, they're not that cheap anymore.

If you do cupcakes, the best plastic containers are from plasticcontainercity.com and they have single, double, 4, 6 and dozen - they are inexpensive and (BEST OF ALL!) there is no minimum order! We used small wax bags for cookies and different size boxes for larger orders and bar cookies/brownies. We also had frosted plastic bags for large orders (especially at holidays). Make sure you have a label, so every cake box, bag of cookies, etc. has you name, logo, address, telephone number on. INHO, business cards get seen by the one person you hand it to, a label gets seen by many more people. Good quality, beautiful labels can be purchased on a roll and kept in handy places, to get the word out.

We did not use POS, just cash register. Did our own bookkeeping, but had quarterly taxes and annual taxes done by accountant.

Hope this helps! Best wishes!!

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