After being open for several months and doing a variety of cakes of different sizes, themes and budgets we've discovered where we would like to focus our business. We are also making some other business decisions that potentially will limit the amount of cake orders we can take so with that being said we want to focus on the ones we find most profitable and what we do best. Starting out we didn't take orders until we were licensed and inspected so we had to learn as we grew and I'm grateful for that. My question is for those of you who've over time changed what you offer and the price point you will accommodate how did you do it and is there anything you would have done differently. A part of me wants to just make the change quick and fast but the other part says slow and gradual. I want to retain the customers we have and not offend those whose budget won't allow for our cakes. Hope that makes sense and thanks in advance :)
I'd do it over a few months. Just drop some things right away and add others in over time. Are there people who buy specifically one things from you that you won't be making any ore? If there's someone who's a regular customer for one thing you might want to tell them that you won't be making it anymore, but other than that just do it.
I think the main thing is will be dropping lower priced cakes off the menu. Doing less simple and plain cakes and gearing more towards more detailed cakes with sculpted fondant and gum paste elements. I'm thinking sheet cakes have to go and most decopac cakes as well. However for example we have a great customer who always buys a 10" round speciality flavor cakes with decopacs and I don't want to lose her business by saying no more decopac cakes. I'm totally fine with orders that have small cakes with additional cupcakes but I would like to have the total amount exceeding a certain price. I would like to no longer take cake orders for $75 or less. While a bulk of our orders exceed that amount I want to sort of just set the minimum price at that so orders for less don't come in as often or at all. But again I don't want to do it in a way that is negative either. it's not push people away but make the most of our business and there is only so much we can offer for lower budget sheet cakes without them being plain. Another thing is we really don't decorate with buttercream either ( not really our style) so do we just say we only offer decorations made from fondant gum paste or modeling chocolate which will be priced per order? I already say that but I'm certain people don't read all of it (bc I have a habit of skimming things too lol) so my ultimate goal is to: reduce our menu to more profitable and decorated cakes, take out the guess work in what we offer and simplify our descriptions.
This is all part of the growing process and I'm happy to say we are doing well but I want to fine tune our business to what we specialize in and not just continue to do the minimal if that makes sense.
When I used to work in bakeries they used to raise their prices and make major changes at the beginning of the year. People seemed to be more receptive to change at that time and we could always blame inflation on the price raises.
Ok, so I'm working on the opposite side of things. I only do custom cakes, but, I've had a lot of inquiries for less pricey buttercream cakes, cupcakes, cookies and even pies.
I've been thinking of adding some buttercream cakes that are less expensive and only customizable as far as flavor, color, basic stuff. No custom cake board or fondant blah blahs. Now you have me double guessing, haha! What to do...what to do...
Are you thinking that the time is not worth the money? Or, are you forced to pass up custom work for the basic stuff?
Well we are looking into expanding our business to be a dessert supplier for local restaurants it's already in the works as we speak so for us we are going to have to pick and choose are cakes more carefully and take fewer orders. Since it's just my husband and I we can only take so many now. He's the primary cake decorator. I bake and make the icing he takes over from there and then I do the finishing touches so with him working full time as well we have a limited amount of spots available and being honest I don't want to be booked with a less expensive order and miss a more profitable one that is more in line with what we want to do. I've also found the less expensive orders come with high expectations and more back and forth so they take more time. I figured by the time all is said and done I've made no money bc of time spent on trying to take high expectations and conforming them to their actual budget. Plus most ones we take end up being more plain bc we won't do more than what were paid for and so I find myself unsatisfied with the end result.
Our clients that order more expensive cakes seem to come with all their details in order and have a price point in mind. It seems to be a simplified process and my interactions with them are minimal. I find myself being in constant contact with the smaller order clients about everything multiple times from when the deposit is due to the flavor of icing. It's my job to handle all the details no complaints about that but it takes my time to repeat myself over and over. And I always do a detailed quote and when they make the deposit I have a printed copy available to them. I have a 3 part system as well. When they inquire about ordering I get all the details and towards the end of the conversation I discuss our deposit and payment requirements and payment options. I reiterate it in the quote and then again in the email that I attach the quote to. So it's not from me being unclear. I guess for us it's more about hitting our target market which is more customized cakes. It's maximizing our time and making the most of it. Hope that makes sense and if you are getting inquiries about smaller cakes and people don't want a detailed cake for that basic price go for it might be a change of pace and that's not a bad thing. As one fellow baker put its our first year and we are paying our dues :) it's going to be a learning curve for us and I'm on board!!
I started out as a dessert supplier. It was steady income, but hard to ever get a break. I'd have to do double work to get a week off. And i was selling at discounted wholesale price. Now i just do custom cakes. I don't think I'd ever go back. I hope you find success with your venture.
When I had my business I just had an $80 minimum order, it was on my website and I advised when people enquired so the expectation was set up front. I was working fulltime at my day job at the time so it just wasn't worth doing anything smaller/cheaper. If people wanted to order a cake for 4 people they were more than welcome to but it would still cost them $80. I don't think it hurt my business at all (i stopped my business for family reasons not because of my minimum order policy lol) but I guess it would depend on your area and the spending money people have in that area.