I'm wondering if anyone has ever had any success generating new business by selling product to somewhere like Starbucks (or any other coffee chain places)? My business is primarily cakes, but I recently had an order for some goodies to fill a gift box with and they were so quick, easy, and cost-effective to churn out that it made me wonder if this was a line I could add to the business. Do big chains like that buy from "the little guys"? I know they sell baked goods in their shops and I know they don't make it themselves so they're getting it from somewhere.
My worst talent is the ability to sell. I'm the queen of "think about it and let me know" which is probably the worst thing to say but it's out of my mouth before I can stop myself. How do I approach coffee shops (and other small shops) and actually make a pitch that will entice them to buy? I know that I will have to bring them samples, and that's fine-I'm more interested in the selling side of things. Also, any other suggestions of good types of places to try would be helpful!
As always, thank you everyone for all of your help and support!
Just a couple of thoughts --You would probably do better with a local company. I think S/bucks mass produces their stuff for distribution. Be sure to have a copy of your license in your materials when you visit. Select some of what you do that can be individually packaged, and things that have shelf-life or can be retained frozen. Then take a few samples and some kind of order form.
i have generated business by passing my business cards to local day cares and preschools. this has helped get the word out about me and my cake business. Good luck!
do you have a small, non-chain, coffee shop? maybe somewhere like that.
I have had success with advertising for free locally on Craigslist....
What a great idea! I've often been underwhelmed by the dessert and treats offered at coffee shops and restaurants. You'd be doing a great service to everyone by offering tasty homemade creations!
I think the best strategy would be to get a face to face meeting with the Owner or Manager of your local coffee shops and restaurants. Be up front about why you want to meet with them, and of course bring samples of your work (to taste and to see). Definitely bring your liscense (or any other important paperwork) and make sure you have a legal kitchen that you work from. Be prepared with pricing information and how quickly you can turn around their orders (i.e. - if they run out of Cranberry Orange muffins at 3 pm on Friday, can you get them a whole order by 6 am on Saturday?).
Also, if it's possible try to know something about their business. Does it appear that their afternoon and evening snack sales are lower then their morning coffee snack sales? Tell them how using your product will increase those sales! Do they always offer the same things? Maybe you should suggest that you'll offer a new dessert each month in addition to their standard orders. It's hard to resist a sales call if you can offer a tangible value to their business.
But more importantly - Go for it!!! And be completely confident in your abilities. Try to not end the meeting with a passive statement. Even if you do, follow up in a week with a phone call and see what they've decided.
Let us know how it goes!
I wish you the absolute best of luck!!
I actually just recently was contacted by a local coffee shop that just opened a couple of weeks ago. She ordered a chocoalte cake, a couple dozen cookies and a pie to try my stuff. Well, she called back on Saturday to order a cheescake, banana bread, zuchinni bread, lemon bars and blondies for tomorrow! I actually sell mostly baked goods and just got into selling decorated cakes as well. But this is the first time that I have ever sold to a coffee shop like this. I was actually thinking of going around to other shops as well. If she is interested others probably would be as well. It seems that her orders are an as need basis, so she is not ordering a steady supply of one thing, but a variety of stuff cycled through. So you will probably want to provide a list of what you can make and maybe a few samples. Good luck and let us know how it goes!