So I Am Looking To Take Somewhat Of A Unique Approach To My Business, And Unsure Of The Strategy...

Business By TheNerdyBaker Updated 24 Feb 2015 , 9:07am by TheNerdyBaker

melimel00 Posted 12 Apr 2013 , 4:26pm
post #31 of 64

I think an aspiring cake business owner should never be afraid to be different! Here is just my two cents-

 

I feel like now cake decorating has taken off and people are not afraid to do something out of the box. Of course you will have those brides that still want traditional wedding cakes but are maybe looking for something unique and different for maybe a grooms cake. I think if you are able to break down a design and figure it out- 'jack of all trades, master at none' sort of mentality- then I believe you can make your business work.

 

First thoughts when I see your logo- I think of unique flavors, quirky flavor combinations, some sort of 'scientific' research/background when into making some sort of unique flavors. I can see you decorating style being fun, unique, non-traditional style cakes. Now whether or not any of this is accurate- I don't know. But as someone 'looking from the outside' this is what I would think if I saw your business name.

 

I agree with a lot of the information and comments provided by other members- you will win some and lose some- this happens to the most successful decorators out there. If they REALLY want you to make their cake for them, they will come to you no matter what. Its all about what type of image you put out there. Best of luck to you!

ellavanilla Posted 12 Apr 2013 , 5:43pm
post #32 of 64

Hi there, 

another Orange County baker here. I think that here in OC there are customers who are looking for something unique and of high quality. If you can provide that, you will probably have plenty of business. Does your name "the nerdy baker" mean that all your cake subjects have to have a comic book or video game theme? I don't think so. There are plenty of elegant and unusual wedding cakes, which are sans flowers and frills. 

 

Stick with your vision, make the value of that vision clear to your customers, and persevere. 

 

I will chime in with what Jason has offered. Overhead here in the OC is outrageous and the costs of maintaining a food business can be prohibitive. OC has some of the toughest food handling laws in the country. Get some money in the bank by becoming permitted as a cottage food operation and you can test the waters.

 

My sister and I were one signature away from a 5 year lease on a retail location when the market crashed. Thank god we didn't sign it. The economy has been so variable that there is no way we would have made it. Take your time and get your feet wet, is my advice. 

 

JEn

TheNerdyBaker Posted 13 Apr 2013 , 1:03am
post #33 of 64

Still can't believe all the great feedback I am getting, I was expecting this thread to fade in to oblivion o.O...Thanks again, and keep it coming!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy-Gray 

You'll win some customers and you'll lose some to others just like all the other bakeries :-)

I think your concept is excellent and I think you’ll fast receive as many orders as you can handle and will wonder why you worried about losing out on the pink ruffles!

 

It might be fun to hide your wee blue logo somewhere on the more traditional cakes, or offer a pair of bright blue ‘nerdy cupcakes’ (complete with glasses!) with every traditional order; it will grab those people who want a little quirkiness but feel that they have to get something more traditional because it’s what’s expected....

 

One last wee thing, on your logo I felt that the border draws more attention than the actual logo; its very stark… maybe a lighter shade or a slight redesign would help.

 

The very best of luck to you!

Gray

Here's to hoping I get all those orders!  I would love to just dump all of my order slips on my bed and roll around in them..........too far?!

 

And you are definitely thinking along the same lines I was!  I was looking in to the possibility of giving clients a gift for their events (given a big enough cake order that is!), as well as the 'Hidden Mickey' type concept you mentioned.  As it stands now, whenever the bakery I work at does ANYTHING Disney, I foce them to put a hidden mickey on the cake (Hidden Mickey - http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Hidden_Mickey )

 

As for the logo, I was starting to get worried about all the different colors I was using so I tried the finish it all off with black.  I definitely understand where you're coming from though.  I'll toy with it some more!  Thanks for the input =)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus 

Sometimes I wonder why naming a business has to reflect "ME"?

 

The name is your first "marketing" tool to draw in customers, so I think it should reflect what you do well, and what your focus is.... from a business stand point. I am not patronizing your business to "friend" you, I just want a great cake at a fair price. 

 

The concept sounds fun, but if the product is not some "extreme" element cake, I would be disappointed. And I certainly don't think, as I scan bakeries for a wedding cake, that this name/concept would draw me in. But then again, it may totally suck me in for an awesome groom's cake.

 

Really... just trying to help... playing devil's advocate here... and bringing new thoughts to the discussion.

 

Best of luck!!!

 

I understand the marketing aspect, i really do, however I don't feel I would be as dedicated to a business that I wasn't really 'in to' per se.  

 

As far as the extreme elements comment, that is DEFINITELY something I am looking in to incorporating; lights, sounds, laser beams, waterfalls, pyro!  Everything! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enga 

 

 

I really like the concept you are going for and the fact that you are staying true to yourself.  I say break up the monotony of the bakery world and go for it and get yourself established.  You can always go to the wedding expos and showcase traditional styled cakes and ad your signature logo, maybe with a pair of glasses and a bow tie some where in the display that ties into the storefront bakery.

 

When they come to your actual bakery for a consult or tasting, they can see the wide range of cakes you have to offer and It could potentially lead them into ordering a grooms cake too.  Hey, it could happen, Nerds get married too,lol. 

 

I wish you luck with your bakery

 

I love your idea for the wedding shows.  Go in with high class, then make it accessible! 

 

I was most definitely planning on having a good supply of dummies on hand to showcase work!

 

 

 

Let me clear up a few things, after reading all the other posts.  I am not really looking to corner the wedding market in its entirety, I guess I was just worried, like any business owner would be, whether or not I would make any money on this concept, and in my mind, I viewed the wedding market as the big bucks.

 

I want to create a clear, defined niche for myself, including, but not limited  to, wedding cakes.

 

All of your comments are definitely giving me the boost that I need to take the next few steps though!

BakingIrene Posted 13 Apr 2013 , 8:26pm
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker 

Hi guys and gals!

 

Long time lurker, and brand new account holder (it is my new favoritest place EVER!).

 

Over the last year or so, I have been slowly fleshing out what I want out of my business when it is realized (the look, the clientelle, the offerings, the location, the services etc...) and I am starting to have a few reservations about the direction I am heading.

 

A little background info first though:  I live in Orange County CA, and we are completely inundated with super frilly, pink bakeries/cupcakeries.  Now, I am a 23 year old man who is by no means pink and frilly, so I was determined to find a route to break up the bakery monotony that I have experienced my whole life.  I was determined to find something that reflects me as a unique individual.

 

The concept that I came up with was 'The Nerdy Baker.'  In short, this concept was me in a nutshell.  I was a chemistry major in college, an avid video game player, and an all around slave to the internet, so I was hoping to roll all of this up in to my business model, and hope to attract a unique client base with the direction.

 

It would be a full service store front bakery with cupcakes, cakes, brownies, and of course, custom cakes by order.

 

I was hoping to have a somewhat immersive store front (I have described it as a a storefront a Disney Imagineer could have created) including custom displays/furniture, arcade cabinets/video game displays, and a soundboard which trigger lights and sounds based on certain guest interactions (a happy birthday sequence for instance).  I'm not looking to make Chuck-E-Cheese by ANY means, but I want a tasteful way to incorperate fun elements in to a space which I have personally found to be fairly cookie cutter.

 

 

 

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

 

Make sure that you can consistently bake and decorate excellent tasting cakes.  This is a year's worth of learning curve.

 

Make sure that you have excellent customer service skills. 

 

Make sure that you can make a profit with whatever overhead model you choose.

 

You are describing the appearance, you haven'tr discussed the goods.  To tell the truth, what stops me from walking into a store is so much flash in the pan that I can't smell the good baking smells coming out from the kitchen...Good baking smells are what get people in the door.

TheNerdyBaker Posted 13 Apr 2013 , 9:00pm
post #35 of 64

A

Original message sent by BakingIrene

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

Make sure that you can consistently bake and decorate excellent tasting cakes.  This is a year's worth of learning curve.

Make sure that you have excellent customer service skills. 

Make sure that you can make a profit with whatever overhead model you choose.

You are describing the appearance, you haven'tr discussed the goods.  To tell the truth, what stops me from walking into a store is so much flash in the pan that I can't smell the good baking smells coming out from the kitchen...Good baking smells are what get people in the door.

Yea, I am trying to take this as constructive, but I am a little baffled that you would think look would be the last thing I would work on.

I worked inside Disneyland Stores as a lead and new hire trainer for years preaching the value and execution of guest service. My values line up with theirs and my guest service skills are second to none.

I have been baking in a professional setting now for 2 years, with many more years of solo research and execution on my own. I have each and every one of the recipes that are my tried and true all set and ready to go, and as I stated in a previous post, I am capable of really any kind of decorating, however my 3D and sculpting is lacking.

I understand your reservations about all look no substance, but I am not sure you understand the kind of person I am.

All or nothing, no in between...

Evoir Posted 14 Apr 2013 , 1:39am
post #36 of 64

AHi Nerdybaker, and welcome to Cake Central!

I love the 'nerd' angle for your business and can see how you would have no difficulty luring in the gamers and nerds, and building up a reputation as a desirable brand. I'd definitely buy from you, provided there was tasty product behind the name and special effects :-)

I'm not 100% clear on what and how you hope to sell in your business. Based on my business experience, with your business name etc I suspect you will be getting tons of requests for known gaming, sci-fi and other nerdy -themed cakes. Some will be simple, but if you want the big bucks, you are going to be called upon to make extravagant cakes. There are pros and cons to this situation...

Pros: 1. You are familiar with what makes nerds happy, and with the brands and images people will be asking for. 2. You have some familiarity clearly in electrical and mechanical design (based in how you want to set up your shop), which may be useful in animating or lighting up theme cakes. 3. You have commercial bakery experience.

Cons: 1. Copyright - already discussed above, but I see this as what will be your biggest hurdle in developing your business to where you want it to be. Clients will be attracted to your business by the name and the inferred idea of getting 3D and character cakes made in their favourite nerd icon. You will be limited in design (legally) without permission from the IP owner in what you can design. You may be saying you don't want to make a life sized "engineer" from the movie Prometheus, but this is the sort of thing that people will ask you for (I make wedding cakes predominantly, but I get asked to make copyrighted character/3D cakes ALL the time! And while I'd love to do them, I have to say no because I don't want to cross that line). There are only so many primary coloured tiered cakes you will want to be sticking cheap plastic Mario figurines into. Otherwise, what makes you different to every other pink frilly bakery out there? 2. (Related) Ability in making 3D/carved big cakes...without this skill set, you are going to be limited in what you can do. Maybe before you bail out on your current job, see if they can help you pay for some classes in making sculpted and 3D cakes? There are also some good beginners online classes that can give you enough know how to start experimenting at home on your own dollar. 3. Set up cost - at the risk of sounding like a boring drone, you need an evolving business plan, that will help you plan how to make your cottage bakery start into the 'lights and whistles' extravaganza you are envisaging right now. Right now, as you think about maybe starting down the CFL path first, what will be the factor(s) that keep your customers returning? What are you going to sell? How are you going to stand out in a saturated market? The name and angle are a great start, but will this be enough to get a loyal customer base? Remember, you're not going to be needing the pyrotechnics in a home bakery (depending on your local county you may even have strict signage and noise restrictions).

I'd like to know more about what you want to sell...as in are you baking from scratch, will you be using any unique ingredients, and so forth. How will "Nerdybaker" be evident in every item you sell?

As I said, I love the nerdy cake idea, and I see LOTS of interest being generated by the name. With a lot of passion and the right plan, you will go a long way :-)

TheNerdyBaker Posted 14 Apr 2013 , 3:04am
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoir 

Hi Nerdybaker, and welcome to Cake Central!

I love the 'nerd' angle for your business and can see how you would have no difficulty luring in the gamers and nerds, and building up a reputation as a desirable brand. I'd definitely buy from you, provided there was tasty product behind the name and special effects icon_smile.gif

I'm not 100% clear on what and how you hope to sell in your business. Based on my business experience, with your business name etc I suspect you will be getting tons of requests for known gaming, sci-fi and other nerdy -themed cakes. Some will be simple, but if you want the big bucks, you are going to be called upon to make extravagant cakes. There are pros and cons to this situation...

Pros:
1. You are familiar with what makes nerds happy, and with the brands and images people will be asking for.
2. You have some familiarity clearly in electrical and mechanical design (based in how you want to set up your shop), which may be useful in animating or lighting up theme cakes.
3. You have commercial bakery experience.

Cons:
1. Copyright - already discussed above, but I see this as what will be your biggest hurdle in developing your business to where you want it to be. Clients will be attracted to your business by the name and the inferred idea of getting 3D and character cakes made in their favourite nerd icon. You will be limited in design (legally) without permission from the IP owner in what you can design. You may be saying you don't want to make a life sized "engineer" from the movie Prometheus, but this is the sort of thing that people will ask you for (I make wedding cakes predominantly, but I get asked to make copyrighted character/3D cakes ALL the time! And while I'd love to do them, I have to say no because I don't want to cross that line). There are only so many primary coloured tiered cakes you will want to be sticking cheap plastic Mario figurines into. Otherwise, what makes you different to every other pink frilly bakery out there?
2. (Related) Ability in making 3D/carved big cakes...without this skill set, you are going to be limited in what you can do. Maybe before you bail out on your current job, see if they can help you pay for some classes in making sculpted and 3D cakes? There are also some good beginners online classes that can give you enough know how to start experimenting at home on your own dollar.
3. Set up cost - at the risk of sounding like a boring drone, you need an evolving business plan, that will help you plan how to make your cottage bakery start into the 'lights and whistles' extravaganza you are envisaging right now. Right now, as you think about maybe starting down the CFL path first, what will be the factor(s) that keep your customers returning? What are you going to sell? How are you going to stand out in a saturated market? The name and angle are a great start, but will this be enough to get a loyal customer base? Remember, you're not going to be needing the pyrotechnics in a home bakery (depending on your local county you may even have strict signage and noise restrictions).

I'd like to know more about what you want to sell...as in are you baking from scratch, will you be using any unique ingredients, and so forth. How will "Nerdybaker" be evident in every item you sell?

As I said, I love the nerdy cake idea, and I see LOTS of interest being generated by the name. With a lot of passion and the right plan, you will go a long way icon_smile.gif

 

Firstly, thank you SO much for this extremely constructive post =D

 

I currently work at a bakery that bakes absolutely NOTHING from scratch, and it is slowly killing me inside.  I was raised on the ideals of fresh food, and I most definitely plan to carry that over to my bakery.  Everything I offer will be scratch made for sure.  There is no budging in that regard...

 

As far as what exactly I will offer, that is still very much up in the air.  I have spent many a nights laying in bed asking myself "what exactly makes you The Nerdy Baker?  What do you bring to the table?," and to be perfectly honest, aside from witty item names, or some zany flavor combinations, I am not to sure.  For example, I was toying with the idea of the name 'King of Red Velvets' for my RC Cupcake.  This is basically a reference, inside a reference, inside a reference.  In the Legend of Zelda series, there is a boat named the King of Red Lions, and there are items called Heart Containers (basically a large white heart, with a smaller red heart inside it).  It was my plan to decorate my RV with a Heart Container decoration, giving myself a rounded Zelda themed RV, as well as poke fun at more traditional bakeries where I see a heart decoration on EVERY single RV...

 

I also have a pretty great idea for a frequent guest program, but in fear of this post being a monster, I'll hold off on the details.

 

I think look is going to play a key factor in my products as well.  I have already decided that I am going to try and use as few round products as I can to try and keep with a faux pixelated feel.

 

But at the end of the day, you are right.  I need to do a little more searching for what exactly defines my product, and what spin on the traditional I can take.

 

As far as the copyright issues, as I stated before, this is one of my biggest fears as well.  Looking through webpage after webpage of professional bakeries though, I am baffled by just how many people seem to disregard it.  Nerdache Cakes for instance (it was linked to me a few posts back) is pretty much right in line with what I am trying to create, however there are blatant items she has done, which she shouldn't have, and it just makes me wonder how I can be expected to play by the rules, when someone like that, charging 15/serving for wedding cakes doesn't seem to.  It's infuriating =/

 

I am currently looking in to CFL, and hope to have something up and running in the next few months.  I am an extremely proactive person, and you can bet you will see me at events, farmers markets, ads in papers etc.  I will get my name out there, but you are right, I need proper product that reflects the theme.

MsGF Posted 14 Apr 2013 , 9:33pm
post #38 of 64

I stumbled across this today.  Thought you might like it too.

 

http://www.nerdachecakes.com/

costumeczar Posted 14 Apr 2013 , 11:27pm
post #39 of 64

I do mostly wedding cakes, and I think that there would be a market for SOME people for nerdy cakes with the different themes, but not that much. Weddings are weddings, and even though there are more people who are willing to deviate from what a wedding cake "should" be there are more who want to do the groom's cakes in the themes that you're describing and keep the wedding cakes on the traditional side.

 

What you should probably do is (once you get the copyright issues taken care of, which is going to be the biggest hurdle) market toward tiered themed cakes for birthdays and groom's cakes, and have some traditional wedding cakes in your portfolio too. There's no reason you can't have different pages on your website with the different things that you offer. If your focus is nerd cakes then your biggest client is going to be guys who want nerdy groom's cakes as far as weddigns go, but there's a big market for more elaborate birthday cakes these days, too.

 

The only thing I can see would be a major issue is the copyrights, which has been brought up over and over in this thread for a good reason. Disney is hardcore, and now they own Marvel and Star Wars, so the "turn the blind eye" for those characters will probably come to a screeching halt. Nintendo is hard to reach, as are a bunch of the other Japanese companies who do the Anime movies etc.

 

The other type of "man cakes" would be sports teams, and they want their cut too. I have licensing agreements with several major league teams but they only let you do a certain number of cakes a year before you have to pay a fee, and they do NOT want you to put anything with their logos on your website or any other advertising. Football teams tend to be the easiest to deal with, and baseball sucks. Colleges are hot and cold...usually if it's for an alum they say it's okay, but if you start cranking out tons of their logo on things they might not like you so much.

 

And booze...there's a lot of beer cake requests and booze cakes. I just call the company directly for those and see what their policies are.

jason_kraft Posted 14 Apr 2013 , 11:55pm
post #40 of 64

AAnother option could be providing cakes for entertainment companies who hold events related to the launch of TV shows, movies, and video games. You're 30 minutes from Hollywood so there should be plenty of options, but you will need a top-notch portfolio to pull it off.

If you still have contacts within Disneyland that's another way to go, I'm just not sure how much they do in-house on the cake front. Working directly with the IP owners is one way to skirt the copyright issue.

ellavanilla Posted 15 Apr 2013 , 11:38pm
post #41 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker 


Yea, I am trying to take this as constructive, but I am a little baffled that you would think look would be the last thing I would work on.

 

 

 

Because there are many people who come here after watching a few seasons of ace of cakes and think they are ready to go. She was just encouraging you to focus on the most important part, in case you hadn't.

 

Jen

Evoir Posted 15 Apr 2013 , 11:53pm
post #42 of 64

ANerdybaker - you've received some great info so far! I just wanted to wish you all the best with the pursuit of your caking dream. I hope you can keep us all filled in on your progress and become a regular member here on Cake Central :-)

denetteb Posted 15 Apr 2013 , 11:54pm
post #43 of 64

How about steam punk?

Edward32 Posted 16 Apr 2013 , 10:14am
post #44 of 64

if you're wanting the bridal business to be a welcome bonus and not your main focus, then you're good with the direction you're going.
 

enga Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 7:17am
post #45 of 64

Hi Nerdy Baker, just wondering how things were going, cant wait to see what you have been working on.

BakingIrene Posted 25 Apr 2013 , 11:03pm
post #46 of 64


 I am not sure you understand the kind of person I am

 

Understand what kind of person? Eh? When I buy baked goods, I do not even think to inquire into the personality of the baker…I watch the staff's food-handling skills.  I look at the cleanliness of the display dummies and the floor.   I look at and smell the goods.  I look at the "best by" date to get the freshest package of strudel…or I ask the counter help to tell me when the strudel was baked.

 

I'm not  sure that an "immersive experience" bakery is going to make a profit.  Are you planning to design in-store toys which you would then have to protect with buckets of legal fees for  patents and/or trademarks?  Can you afford to risk kids bashing up your custom electronics?  Are you prepared for foot traffic that will try to come in and play and then not even buy a snack?  A mini-mall location with a laundromat will provide plenty of wear and tear on your setup and little income.

 

Me, I don’t believe that you should plan to distract customers from the food.  You want your shop to enhance the baked goods and make people interested to BUY your variety of goodies.  You want to be able to suggest a dozen whenever somebody comes in for a single.  You want people to keep coming back to see what's new and yummy by changing part of your menu every two months.   There are many effective styles of retail design that all focus the attention of the customer on the FOOD. 

 

OP I suggest you work a few months in the front end of FOOD operations.  When food is involved, all sorts of sanitary regulations kick in to actively prevent vermin.  You must design for daily disinfection.  A local shop here closed down because the owner made the mistake of installing domestic display cabinetry with an ideal place for mice to nest undisturbed, instead of having all her custom-built units set clear of the floor on casters. That one stupid detail wasted her year of hard work on her dream as well as her $100,000 investment.

 

One last thing to think about.  You write about planning an operation that markets your personality.  Customers are going to expect to have direct contact with YOU if YOU are supposed to be part of the product…You are not going to be mixing/baking, actively decorating, and  serving/delivering  at the same time.  So you will be paying a salary or two right off the bat. 

 

Baking from scratch demands more direct supervision than you think…I am telling you from my own business experience.  Your week's profit can go down the drain in a heartbeat if a hangover shows up for work.  You should plan baked goods that can be produced by a team, you will need to hire and train that team, and your special recipes will be in their hands.  You will need a hands-on partner that you can trust to carry out YOUR vision in your time off.  Very few business owners acquire or retain such diligent managers for minimum wage. 

 

I think you would greatly benefit from a six-month professional pastry course.  In your spare time, you should visit scratch pastry shops that have been in business for more than 10 years, to learn from their varieties of success.  And please, work in a real scratch bakery for a few years before you commit to any  plan.  You should see the worst cases in action on somebody else's payroll. 

Stitches Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 12:25am
post #47 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker 

 

I currently work at a bakery that bakes absolutely NOTHING from scratch, and it is slowly killing me inside.  I was raised on the ideals of fresh food, and I most definitely plan to carry that over to my bakery.  Everything I offer will be scratch made for sure.  There is no budging in that regard...

I'm very comfortable and confident to say baking is my area of expertise. My mother was a pastry chef and I was raised in a bakery. I've been a working professional pastry chef for over 28 years now. I've taught baking, I've hired bakers, I've been the pastry chef at high class places and large banquet halls The BIGGEST obstacle to bakeries is finding people that can really follow a recipe consistently/always. Baking from scratch is soooo difficult very few schooled chefs bake well. So it becomes economics and the desire to keep your business open, that is why bakeries turn to using mixes and pre-packaged frosting and fillings.

 

It takes a life time to learn how to bake well and you'll never master baking everything (like I don't even try baking breads that's a whole different art taking another life time to learn). I've had apprentices, I've hired culinary school grads and stood next to them and watched them screw up making things as simple as rice crispy treats (with no exaggeration). SO, having a scratch bakery is beyond difficult! You'll have to know about production like you can't learn in books or a pastry school. Then as the business owner realize your the business person, you won't be in the kitchen baking yourself, if your successful.

 

So I'm sorry I don't mean to lecture. I just want to stress to you that two years of professional baking is nothing. You've yet to start learning just how much you don't know yet. If you want to be successful (and I do want you to be successful) you'll need a plan B when you struggle to hire a decent baker that can follow a mix accurately..

jason_kraft Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 3:22am
post #48 of 64

ABased on OP's target market, I'd say providing an immersive experience is exactly the right way to go, to an extent of course. This can even be done without a storefront if OP can stage a meeting area for consults and tastings, with the CA cottage food law there is time to start small and scale up as necessary. There's no need to design custom toys or electronics, as there is already a wealth of licensed products available for decor or even resale. I would almost say the food is secondary to the domain knowledge OP brings to the table for this particular niche (just being "one of us" is a significant advantage already).

While I agree that professional experience and a culinary school program is helpful, it is by no means a requirement. When we decided to launch our business, my wife and I had zero professional baking experience. She had just completed a 6 month culinary school pastry program (mostly because we were focusing on specialty allergen-free products), she spent several months on recipe R&D while I set up the business side, and we were good to go.

The most helpful pieces of knowledge were the chemistry side of baking from culinary school, and my own business background (especially my MBA classes in accounting, marketing, and operations). If you already have this knowledge or are confident you can learn it on your own, you don't really need any additional formal education.

TheNerdyBaker Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 10:21am
post #49 of 64

Why hello there again everyone =D

 

I have been around the forums, but it has been AGES since I actually updated anything about my prospective business ideas.

 

Honestly, not much has changed since I first posted this thread but I have however become completely smitten with the direction I am taking.

 

I have finalized a vast majority of the visuals and style, and a brand new website is up and coming.  I coded the first site myself, but because of my limited amount of coding knowledge it was kind of poopy.

 

Anyhoo...

 

The reason I figured I would post here again is that I came up with an idea for a storefront frequent quest program that has me all giddy, but like I wrote all those years ago, I'm not so sure it would work.

 

For the longest time I have been juggling the idea of a slightly more interactive repeat guest reward system. My idea has basically been you choose a class, and that particular class will give you a certain type of perk or discount. So today in my creative spree, I fleshed out that idea a touchmore.

 

 

 

- The Healer, being the class that ensures that their allies are refreshed and invigorated, helps the guest feel refreshed and invigorated by healing their wallet in the form of a gift card.

 

- The Tank, being the class that takes the brunt of the damage, helps to take some of the brunt of the financial damage for the guest in the form of a percentage off a future purchase, up to, and including custom cakes.

 

- The D.P.S., being the class that is always first to a fight and dealing the most damage, will help guests defeat and conquer enemies in the form of free merchandise.

 

Each will be on their own plastic loyalty card, and guests may choose which class they want to become. They gain rewards by leveling up their class when they earn experience points during check-out.

 

Thoughts?  Comments?  Concerns?

craftybanana Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 3:29pm
post #50 of 64

I think it's very cute, but if I was a customer, I'd have to get all the cards in order to get the discount I would want. Being a gamer, this appeals to me, but when I try to talk gaming things like this with my friends, they don't really have a clue. I had to read the post very carefully to figure out which character goes to which discount, so I'm afraid those who know nothing of gaming would be lost. I think that system would only appeal to hardcore gamers since most people only want to carry around one card (and most have way too many on their key ring anyways).

 

So if I get this right then:

The Healer = Gift card (my fav class to play btw :) )

Tank = Percentage Discount

D.P.S = Free merchandise

 

You would have to design or buy a software to keep track of all the points for each card for each person.

 

Idea: Have one card for discount/free merchandise with 4 designs. You could do something like "This week, Healers get an extra 5 points with each purchase" or something. That way, no one is left out or confused (non gamers will be very confused by the way).

 

I wouldn't do a card where it's applicable for custom cakes unless you build in the max discount into your prices so you aren't taking a huge hit.

 

You also forgot ranged dps..... ;) Now I'm off to go play FF14 :D

-K8memphis Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 4:18pm
post #51 of 64

i think your ideas are very clever and intriguing although not my personal cup of tea -- too many choices --

 

i ran a bookstore gift shop and in my situation i had to make it easy for my customers -- even in the tearoom i had to dumb things down for them come to think of it -- 

 

i mean i hate to get all the questions on the card swiper at the store, do you want to donate to blabla do you want it all on the card do you want cash back do you want paper or plastic is this amount ok do you want to run screaming why yes thank you i think i will --

 

at the bookstore i kept a record in my pos where they got a free something after purchasing so much -- but i kept the records for them -- and i rang a bell when they hit the goal and got a freebie -- it was fun -- then at the tearoom in order to inspire dessert purchases i started cutting the normal size servings in thirds and offering them 'a bite' of dessert -- so i had three different flavors on one plate and they sold great after that -- 

 

so my advice from my experience is keep it simple for good results

MimiFix Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 4:31pm
post #52 of 64

Your target customer is a gamer who shops a storefront bakery?

johnson6ofus Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 8:37pm
post #53 of 64

Simple is the key. I like the marketing of it as it fits your theme, but can I "change" characters at any time? That way, I can choose my "freebie" and really make no commitment to one choice. I can "play" as one character and jump to other options as I see fit. The character theme just ties it together. The reality is, I believe, few people actually "cash it in" but it keeps your card and contact info in their wallet--- which is the true target, right?

 

I frequent a restaurant that has points. At each "level" they email me, and I can choose a free dessert, keep saving for a % off catering (when they email me again) or keep saving for a free meal (another marketing email). So can I be emailed when I reach "healer" and qualify for a free ______, and again when I "level up" to "tank" and qualify for a free _________, and level up the "DPS" and get _________?

 

Much simpler than having to choose up front and plays into your theme and "leveling up" as you "play" (buy stuff). 

TheNerdyBaker Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 9:44pm
post #54 of 64

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

i think your ideas are very clever and intriguing although not my personal cup of tea -- too many choices --

 

i ran a bookstore gift shop and in my situation i had to make it easy for my customers -- even in the tearoom i had to dumb things down for them come to think of it -- 

 

i mean i hate to get all the questions on the card swiper at the store, do you want to donate to blabla do you want it all on the card do you want cash back do you want paper or plastic is this amount ok do you want to run screaming why yes thank you i think i will --

 

at the bookstore i kept a record in my pos where they got a free something after purchasing so much -- but i kept the records for them -- and i rang a bell when they hit the goal and got a freebie -- it was fun -- then at the tearoom in order to inspire dessert purchases i started cutting the normal size servings in thirds and offering them 'a bite' of dessert -- so i had three different flavors on one plate and they sold great after that -- 

 

so my advice from my experience is keep it simple for good results

 

I hear you loud and clear on the simplicity aspect.  I was planning to keep it all POS side as you said you did, in order to keep the records for them as opposed to confusing people on their own.  I am still trying to flesh out the idea, and I don't have a physical POS in front of me to try it out for real, so I don't know how it applies in the real world.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

Your target customer is a gamer who shops a storefront bakery?

 

Not so much strictly gamers, but a somewhat younger crowd where the nostalgia of it, and the theme of it all, really brings them back.  Not only that, but kids would go loopy when they see it all especially with the popularity of games like Minecraft.  I predict a ton of birthdays, groom's cakes, and the occasional out of the box wedding cake.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnson6ofus 
 

Simple is the key. I like the marketing of it as it fits your theme, but can I "change" characters at any time? That way, I can choose my "freebie" and really make no commitment to one choice. I can "play" as one character and jump to other options as I see fit. The character theme just ties it together. The reality is, I believe, few people actually "cash it in" but it keeps your card and contact info in their wallet--- which is the true target, right?

 

I frequent a restaurant that has points. At each "level" they email me, and I can choose a free dessert, keep saving for a % off catering (when they email me again) or keep saving for a free meal (another marketing email). So can I be emailed when I reach "healer" and qualify for a free ______, and again when I "level up" to "tank" and qualify for a free _________, and level up the "DPS" and get _________?

 

Much simpler than having to choose up front and plays into your theme and "leveling up" as you "play" (buy stuff). 

 

I guess I will have to wait and see how I can integrate this system in the storefront and the services I am employing to run it before I can really tell how it is going to be set up.   However, what I do really want is a type of commitment.  I want people to choose their character, grow with it, and identify with it (I have merch planned).  With that said, changing classes is something that I don't want to be a common thing.  I already have a spiel planned out for each of these characters, and how the prospective guest can benefit from it depending on the kind of person they are.  In order to reinforce this, my thought is that the physical card needs to be present at time of redemption, and my team members will know how to interpret the reward point data for each class.

TheNerdyBaker Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 9:55pm
post #55 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by craftybanana 
 

I think it's very cute, but if I was a customer, I'd have to get all the cards in order to get the discount I would want. Being a gamer, this appeals to me, but when I try to talk gaming things like this with my friends, they don't really have a clue. I had to read the post very carefully to figure out which character goes to which discount, so I'm afraid those who know nothing of gaming would be lost. I think that system would only appeal to hardcore gamers since most people only want to carry around one card (and most have way too many on their key ring anyways).

 

So if I get this right then:

The Healer = Gift card (my fav class to play btw :) )

Tank = Percentage Discount

D.P.S = Free merchandise

 

You would have to design or buy a software to keep track of all the points for each card for each person.

 

Idea: Have one card for discount/free merchandise with 4 designs. You could do something like "This week, Healers get an extra 5 points with each purchase" or something. That way, no one is left out or confused (non gamers will be very confused by the way).

 

I wouldn't do a card where it's applicable for custom cakes unless you build in the max discount into your prices so you aren't taking a huge hit.

 

You also forgot ranged dps..... ;) Now I'm off to go play FF14 :D

 

Yup yup, you got it right!

 

My thought with the healer was to distribute small $5 gift cards when the guest is rewarded (like Kohl's cash), not store credit locked away in my computer.  My idea here was to encourage people to not only get a discount for themselves, but also to spread them around to friends and family to get them.

 

With the tank, my thought was to make the daunting a little less daunting, such as the price of a custom cake.  There would of course be a cap on the percentage, and I am pretty amazing with math and excel, so you can bet all of these discounts would be taken in to account with the overall pricing.

 

I think if presented properly, this system should appeal to a majority of people.  Like I said in my last reply, I have spiels already planned out, and I'm a Disney trained spieler XD

 

Also, I may or may not be working n ranged DPS as we type....

Pastrybaglady Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 10:19pm
post #56 of 64

http://www.cakecentral.com/t/767874/preparing-for-a-bench-test-with-the-executive-pastry-chef-at-disneyland-resort-and-kinda-freaking-out/60#post_7564823

 

Are you still working at Disney?  You would have just had your first anniversary there, right?  What have you learned there that would be helpful with your own bakery plans? 

 

The bakery you are imagining sounds like a lot of fun. It sounds like an event spot for parties and gatherings.  It's a good idea to appeal to the "Nerd" population. Nerds are in!  To appeal to the different types of customers you could design icons for each like The Nerdy Bride, The Nerdy Kids, The Nerdy Girl/Woman/Fembot, The Nerdy Guy... and show an array of cakes and pastries that would be applicable to each. 

 

Please keep us updated.  I want to live vicariously through you and all your creative energy!

TheNerdyBaker Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 10:25pm
post #57 of 64

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pastrybaglady 
 

http://www.cakecentral.com/t/767874/preparing-for-a-bench-test-with-the-executive-pastry-chef-at-disneyland-resort-and-kinda-freaking-out/60#post_7564823

 

Are you still working at Disney?  You would have just had your first anniversary there, right?  What have you learned there that would be helpful with your own bakery plans? 

 

The bakery you are imagining sounds like a lot of fun. It sounds like an event spot for parties and gatherings.  It's a good idea to appeal to the "Nerd" population. Nerds are in!  To appeal to the different types of customers you could design icons for each like The Nerdy Bride, The Nerdy Kids, The Nerdy Girl/Woman/Fembot, The Nerdy Guy... and show an array of cakes and pastries that would be applicable to each. 

 

Please keep us updated.  I want to live vicariously through you and all your creative energy!

 

Yup yup =D.  Not only have I now worked in the main bakery of Disneyland, a few years ago I worked in the stores in Fantasyland and Toontown so I have been fully indoctrinated in the Disney way of doing things.  Basically, being over the top isn't a bad thing.  It increases immersion and creates a memory for the guest you are helping.

 

I plan on making him a few more costumes, like what you mentioned, and maybe add a few new characters.  

craftybanana Posted 21 Feb 2015 , 3:02am
post #58 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker 
 

 

I hear you loud and clear on the simplicity aspect.  I was planning to keep it all POS side as you said you did, in order to keep the records for them as opposed to confusing people on their own.  I am still trying to flesh out the idea, and I don't have a physical POS in front of me to try it out for real, so I don't know how it applies in the real world.

 

 

Not so much strictly gamers, but a somewhat younger crowd where the nostalgia of it, and the theme of it all, really brings them back.  Not only that, but kids would go loopy when they see it all especially with the popularity of games like Minecraft.  I predict a ton of birthdays, groom's cakes, and the occasional out of the box wedding cake.

 

 

I guess I will have to wait and see how I can integrate this system in the storefront and the services I am employing to run it before I can really tell how it is going to be set up.   However, what I do really want is a type of commitment.  I want people to choose their character, grow with it, and identify with it (I have merch planned).  With that said, changing classes is something that I don't want to be a common thing.  I already have a spiel planned out for each of these characters, and how the prospective guest can benefit from it depending on the kind of person they are.  In order to reinforce this, my thought is that the physical card needs to be present at time of redemption, and my team members will know how to interpret the reward point data for each class.

Well, if you want them to choose one, then have the same type of reward system for all of the designs otherwise you'll lose out on gamers who are indecisive too. I personally fluctuate between dps and healer and only tank when my guild says I have too.... I also wonder how you will explain dps ("damage per second" for those who don't know) or tank (human meat shield, lols) without getting into a lengthy speel or having a long explanation posted. Although you could have those explanations painted on the walls.

 

With the rewards card, you could start with one of those punch type cards and see if it's worth moving onto plastic. Just had a thought: When they reach the end of their punch card, the customer could choose a character (discount) as a reward.

TheNerdyBaker Posted 21 Feb 2015 , 3:32am
post #59 of 64

Quote:

Originally Posted by craftybanana 
 

Well, if you want them to choose one, then have the same type of reward system for all of the designs otherwise you'll lose out on gamers who are indecisive too. I personally fluctuate between dps and healer and only tank when my guild says I have too.... I also wonder how you will explain dps ("damage per second" for those who don't know) or tank (human meat shield, lols) without getting into a lengthy speel or having a long explanation posted. Although you could have those explanations painted on the walls.

 

With the rewards card, you could start with one of those punch type cards and see if it's worth moving onto plastic. Just had a thought: When they reach the end of their punch card, the customer could choose a character (discount) as a reward.

 

My whole idea circles around letting people choose what kind of reward is most important for them, if everyone gets the same it kind of defeats the whole purpose.  Obviously there will be procedures in place that will allow people to switch characters if they want to, but for the most part, I want people to spend time leveling a single character, and if they want to be something else, start all over.  However who is not to say that some kind kind of coupon or something will allow the one time use of their experience points on another classes ability.

 

And as far as the names go, those were just there for my reference.  I'm sure they will end up something along the lines of "Knight" or "Rogue"

 

Also...

 

craftybanana Posted 21 Feb 2015 , 5:30am
post #60 of 64

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker 
 

 

My whole idea circles around letting people choose what kind of reward is most important for them, if everyone gets the same it kind of defeats the whole purpose.  Obviously there will be procedures in place that will allow people to switch characters if they want to, but for the most part, I want people to spend time leveling a single character, and if they want to be something else, start all over.  However who is not to say that some kind kind of coupon or something will allow the one time use of their experience points on another classes ability.

 

And as far as the names go, those were just there for my reference.  I'm sure they will end up something along the lines of "Knight" or "Rogue"

 

Also...

 

Nerdy mage! ;-D

 

I guess it depends on your area for that. It could work if you're in an area where gaming/manga cafes are normal and such. Might not though if you're the only game-themed thing in the city though. Maybe if you introduce it very slowly to get your  non-gamer regulars used to it. A creative suggestion-type box about it might work to help introduce the concept and you might get good feedback. I don't have a business, but I still think having too many different types of reward cards is not a good idea from a customer's view point. (not to mention how many calls you'll probably get with people just wanting to know their level and such).

Idea: maybe if the get a certain level they would get a cheap figure of the character they chose? or something with that theme? idk

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