Benefits Of Scratch Cakes And Great Ingredients

Business By nancylee61 Updated 6 Jun 2013 , 2:48am by jason_kraft

nancylee61 Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 9:11pm
post #1 of 14

AI am helping a licensed baker in my area break into the wedding cake market. I am going to help her bake and decorate, but it is all being done out of her shop. There is another very successful bakery in the area, they do about 10 to 15 cakes a weekend. We do not live in a crowded area, so they are getting most of the local wedding cake business. I recently found out that they use Pillsbury mixes for all their cakes. Additionally, they made a cake for my daughter 's 16th birthday a few years ago, and the top,tier fell off in my car. They had stacked them warm, with no supports. To add insult to injury, when I went to let her know what happened a few days later, the owner wouldn't even come out to talk to me. I must say, her cakes are beautiful! But her business practices leave a lot to be,desired. Regardless, everyone loves her cakes.

So,if these people can make it, my friend has a good chance of grabbing some of the market. I think she should distinguish herself with all scratch cakes, using eggs from local farms, and fresh cream from local dairies. I actually made a cake yesterday using a Pillsbury mix, and it tastes like chemicals to me. :( I have gotten used to my scratch cakes!

Any other suggestions to get some business, when this bakery is so well known? I called a few wedding venues, but they won't deal with anyone other than this woman.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Nancy

13 replies
amethystjcm Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 10:30pm
post #2 of 14
  • Since you are baking from scratch, you would be able to accommodate requests for people with food allergies/sensitivities. This can be a great marketing point
  •  

    • contact local wedding planners to let them know about your new business. Or  hold an "industry night/happy hour" for planners, vendors, decorators... provide mini cupcakes and some drinks and have a gallery and cake dummies with your designs on them available for viewing

     

    • are you only going to be doing wedding cakes? If not, schools, moms (and their social clubs), churches, and charities might be good sources of business. 
Stitches Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 10:37pm
post #3 of 14

Personally, I think you take the high road and do not attack the other business in anyway. Instead, focus on your business only and sell your positives! Yes I think advertising scratch baking is a great idea and there is a lot about that you can focus on. People do care about what they eat...........play that up. Help this person build a better portfolio and displays and that will start enticing people to buy.

 

Perhaps figure out how to have tasting parties. Invite people to taste your products for free....prove yours tastes better.

 

If your really daring offer the other baker a 'throw down' bake off. Get a press release make it a grand occasion.......both bakeries can win with this is it's done well.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 10:38pm
post #4 of 14

AHow much is this other bakery charging for products similar to what you plan on making?

nancylee61 Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 11:04pm
post #5 of 14

AHi, I am definitely not going to attack the other bakery, I was just sharing what we plan on doing differently. They start at around 2.50 a slice for the most basic, with extras adding up quickly. My friend is starting at $3.00 a slice for buttercream, most designs, $3.50 for fondant.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 11:15pm
post #6 of 14

AThat's a little on the low side. Since you will be spending more on ingredients be sure you are still paying yourself a decent wage and profit margin.

On the demand side, you should make sure you have enough of a target market in the area willing to pay a premium for scratch cakes. Is the local wedding market big enough to support two bakeries in the first place?

Where is the other bakery advertising? Where do you plan to advertise? What are the demographics of your area, and where does your target market consume media?

nancylee61 Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 12:07am
post #7 of 14

AGood questions, Jason, and those are the things we are looking into. Our area is rural, low population in the winter except for wekends and holidays for skiing, it explodes in the summer! Lots of weddings at hotels on the lake, so advertising in our local media won't be fruitful. Many of these hotels use the other baker and include the cake in their reception costs.

Yes, we are doing all types of cakes. I work in a local school during the the school year, but have to be very careful to not mix my job and this venture. So I need to keep digging. For other ways to get the word out.

Has anyone here used The Knot? It seems pricey, but as a new business, might be worth trying?

Thank you all,

liz at sugar Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 12:32am
post #8 of 14

I would say if you are having a hard time getting into the venues, go directly to the brides.  If brides are asking the venues for your cakes, they will find a way to offer your services.

 

Liz
 

jason_kraft Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 12:34am
post #9 of 14

A

Original message sent by nancylee61

Good questions, Jason, and those are the things we are looking into. Our area is rural, low population in the winter except for wekends and holidays for skiing, it explodes in the summer! Lots of weddings at hotels on the lake, so advertising in our local media won't be fruitful. Many of these hotels use the other baker and include the cake in their reception costs.

Based on this, I would focus on getting that hotel business. If you can deliver a superior product at the same price point (even if it means making a smaller profit) that could be a big win for you. Of course make sure you are still at a reasonable price based on your costs, but keep in mind that the hotel will be doing your advertising for you.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, offering a niche alternative (vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, etc.) to the hotels can also be a foothold for a spot on the preferred vendor list. A trial run where you make one wedding cake for free for each hotel is another possibility.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 12:36am
post #10 of 14

A

Original message sent by liz at sugar

I would say if you are having a hard time getting into the venues, go directly to the brides.  If brides are asking the venues for your cakes, they will find a way to offer your services.

The hard part will be reaching the brides, since most are not local. If they all come from a specific area it won't be so bad, but if you have to go regional that can get pretty expensive.

liz at sugar Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 12:39am
post #11 of 14

That is true Jason  - how about trying to reach them through another local vendor - florists or photographers?

 

Liz
 

nancylee61 Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 1:13am
post #12 of 14

AGreat suggestions, thank you so much! I like the idea of vegan and gluten free. I know no one else is offering these services. Now, how to make an awesome buttercream without butter!?! Nancy

costumeczar Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 2:44am
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by nancylee61 

Great suggestions, thank you so much! I like the idea of vegan and gluten free. I know no one else is offering these services. Now, how to make an awesome buttercream without butter!?!
Nancy

Satinice fondant is vegan, and you can either just do an all-shortening icing with soymilk as the liquid, or use some Blue Bonnet light margarine in it. That's the only widely-available margarine that doesn't have whey in it (at least it was the last time I shopped for margarine.) There are also lots of soy-based butter substitutes that you could use, it's just a matter of finding what's available in your area.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 2:48am
post #14 of 14

AFor vegan recipes I recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1569242739/?tag=cakecentral-20

Our vegan buttercream frosting is made with Sweetex high-ratio shortening and Earth Balance vegan margarine, it consistently tested better than butter-based BC.

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