How Should I Distribute My Cakes?

Business By sha1col Updated 22 Jun 2014 , 3:44am by Inga1

sha1col Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 3:20pm
post #1 of 13

AFirst and foremost, I apologize if this was a discussion from a previous thread. I've looked through so many (and there's a ton), but can't find what I'm looking for.

I'm new at cake decorating but I've gotten much better considering where I started from...lol. I want to get my name out there but I'm not sure how. I know all about advertising, but that's not going to cut it. People need to be confident in my product, and know that it taste and look great.

Other than building a portfolio which I'm working on, I've been thinking about baking cakes (I do everything from scratch) and distributing them to local neighborhood restaurants in my area for free (if they'll accept them), but for them to sell with hopes that all goes well and they'll eventually want to purchase on a regular basis. OR, place ads doing cakes for free BUT with limitations. I don't have many request from family or friends because they generally don't have a need for cakes, but they will refer me if the opportunity presents itself.

Any advice is welcome...BTW, I have my food service sanitation manager certification (not sure if that matters) and I'm doing my brothers wedding cake this August.

12 replies
cakebaby2 Posted 13 Jun 2014 , 3:20pm
post #2 of 13

No no and no again. If you're licensed to sell your cakes from home you could do a wonderful creation for a children's hospital as a donation on a special holiday, I think that would be acceptable but if you give anything away for free you look desperate, not a good look.

The only way to sell anything for what its worth is word of mouth and advertising.

 Beautiful work speaks for itself, and business acumen of course.

 

Every question you want to ask about cakes and business is available here if you type the specifics into the search bar top left hand side of the page.

Good luck.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jun 2014 , 3:38pm
post #3 of 13

good stuff, cakebaby2  --

 

and for marketing -- focus on like minded vendors, florists, venues including churches, dress shops, caterers, photographers, even djs--

 

an idea to introduce yourself to the 'neighborhood' is to give them a free pretty cookie in the shape of a wedding cake and a little stack of business cards--make nice with the other vendors at your upcoming wedding--pay especial attention to pleasing venue operators--make their life easier--provide boxes for leftovers--make the cake easy to disassemble and serve--make sure your cakes serve perfectly--minimal to zero crumbling--plated cake doesn't crust over at room temp --

 

i dissolved into some minutiae there--important but even more important is marketing yourself--

 

best to you hope you are wildly successful

sha1col Posted 13 Jun 2014 , 7:05pm
post #4 of 13

Acakebaby2 and -K8Memphis, thank you both! I will definitely utilize both of your suggestions! :D

cakegrandma Posted 13 Jun 2014 , 8:31pm
post #5 of 13

All advise given is great and I agree with the not giving cakes for free. Believe me I have done that to get people to hopefully purchase my products.  Doesn't work, you will find that when you go into the establishment, after taking a free cake or 2, they will say "Oh, did you bring us a cake?"  They look for those free cakes and there is rarely a sale.

 

My only qualm with your question is " Do you have a license if you are wanting to sell to retail? I believe Illinois has a Cottage Food Act that was signed into law recently, and if so you really need to read everything completely. Here in Fl we can not sell retail and I know other states do not allow items to be sold to retain businesses.  In order to sell retail, you need a kitchen that has been inspected and licenses of all types, depending on the state and county. In fact, most restaurants are part of a chain and have to abide by what corporate dictates.

 

I too have a Food Handlers Manager Certificate, great for you that you took that step. I also have insurance and you will find that it is an inexpensive necessary business expense and I suggest that you get and LLC. If someone gets sick off of your merchandise and sues you, even though they may have been gotten sick on other tainted food, you won't lose your home.

TheItalianBaker Posted 14 Jun 2014 , 1:02am
post #6 of 13

what about donate cake to sick kids? there is a no profit organization called "Icing Smiles", check their website/fb page

Apti Posted 14 Jun 2014 , 2:41am
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sha1col 

First and foremost, I apologize if this was a discussion from a previous thread. I've looked through so many (and there's a ton), but can't find what I'm looking for.

I'm new at cake decorating but I've gotten much better considering where I started from...lol. I want to get my name out there but I'm not sure how. I know all about advertising, but that's not going to cut it. People need to be confident in my product, and know that it taste and look great.

Other than building a portfolio which I'm working on, I've been thinking about baking cakes (I do everything from scratch) and distributing them to local neighborhood restaurants in my area for free (if they'll accept them), but for them to sell with hopes that all goes well and they'll eventually want to purchase on a regular basis. OR, place ads doing cakes for free BUT with limitations. I don't have many request from family or friends because they generally don't have a need for cakes, but they will refer me if the opportunity presents itself.

Any advice is welcome...BTW, I have my food service sanitation manager certification (not sure if that matters) and I'm doing my brothers wedding cake this August.


Restaurants probably will not sell something they did not prepare--there are huge liability issues.

 

CakeCentral has MANY threads about starting a cake business.  I suggest you spend 3 or 4 days reading and taking notes before you do anything else.   Using the terms "business from home", I was able to retrieve 152,429 threads.   Most of them will offer the same advice.

 

http://cakecentral.com/newsearch?search=business+from+home&type=35

AZCouture Posted 14 Jun 2014 , 2:54am
post #8 of 13

A

Original message sent by TheItalianBaker

what about donate cake to sick kids? there is a no profit organization called "Icing Smiles", check their website/fb page

I have a possibly minority opinion about this suggestion. I think those cakes should definitely be left to professionals to provide. People who are (or should be), well versed in food safety, and can put together a really awesome cake. I don't think those sick children deserve a cake that someone is most likely practicing on.

I know their requirements at one time were that the baker be a licensed business, not sure now though. I remember awhile back, there was a bit of controversy when a baker took decorations off of an old dust covered dummy and stuck them into a cake for a child undergoing treatment for cancer. Not cool.

MimiFix Posted 14 Jun 2014 , 11:51am
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sha1col 

I'm new at cake decorating but I've gotten much better considering where I started from... 


Restaurants probably will not sell something they did not prepare--there are huge liability issues.

 

The liability issue is when a restaurant purchases from an unauthorized source. If your license allows you to sell wholesale, then soliciting restaurant business is feasible. In NY, wholesale is permitted under the CFL and several of my students are currently supplying local restaurants, delis, and coffeeshops. However, if your skill level is not at the point where your cakes are restaurant quality, it may benefit you to practice before heading out the door. Best of luck with your new business!

TheItalianBaker Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 12:21am
post #10 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I know their requirements at one time were that the baker be a licensed business, not sure now though. I remember awhile back, there was a bit of controversy when a baker took decorations off of an old dust covered dummy and stuck them into a cake for a child undergoing treatment for cancer. Not cool.

 

This is so wrong.. If you don't have time to make the cake just say no..

cai0311 Posted 19 Jun 2014 , 3:34pm
post #11 of 13

AYou may want to participate in an upcoming bridal show. I have had excellent success with bridal shows.

Do you have a website? Business cards? Both are necessary.

customcakesbysa Posted 21 Jun 2014 , 10:39pm
post #12 of 13

If I understand correctly, Ohio has different rules for cottage foods and for home bakeries.  Home bakeries may sell their goods for distribution in retail or food service.  They must be inspected & licensed.  You need to know what the laws are in your state.

 

I've never tried the strategy, but if you want restaraunts to pick up your cakes, I might start with a couple of cupcakes for the people who make the purchasing decisions.  They would get a sample of taste and appearance.  You can also show them pics of other cakes you've done.

 

Do you have a Facebook page?  Post pics of all the cakes you do & ask your satisfied customers to post comments about how much they loved the cakes.  Bridal showers are a good idea.  How about a contest for a free give-away?  Something like, once your FB page gets so many likes you'll draw randomly for a free dozen cupcakes.

Inga1 Posted 22 Jun 2014 , 3:44am
post #13 of 13

Here is a copy of the bill which passed last week in Illinois

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=098-0643

I live in downstate Illinois, next to the town where the little girl who made cupcakes lives. Homebakers will be allowed to sell from their homes only up to $1000. per month. Your kitchen will not be inspected by the health dept unless there is a complaint. You must give your customers written notice that the product was prepared in a home kitchen. My sons work in a local restaurant which is not a chain operation. They are not allowed to sell my cakes since they are not from a licensed kitchen.

I too have my food sanitation license and am looking forward to being able to bake from home. This is truly a victory!

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