When I first started my business three years ago I was adamant that I was going to only do wedding cakes or other tiered cakes. I have a legal kitchen that I built in a cottage on my property in a small town in CA.
Because there are not to many weddings in my small town I decided to heavily advertise and focus in a large city about an hour away. i have done OK but recently I have been thinking it would be nice to get more business closer to home. There are no bakeries doing cakes in a 40 miles radius.
In order to do that I would have to do more sheet cakes to survive. I don't mind doing the sheet cakes but I would have to have a place to have the customers pick up the cakes. Rents in a larger neighboring town about 10 minutes away are really reasonable right now. I was thinking or renting a small place to use as a showroom and have some refrigerators to hold cakes .I dont know if I will have to have the health department involved again. But because I won't be doing any production at the place I hope it won't be too costly.
So I guess what I am asking is that I know the big money is in the weddings but for the people who do both, do you find the sheet cakes profitable?.
they can be if you charge right! Some people think sheetcake= cheapcake and that shouldn't be the case. When I make sheet cakes, (and I make a LOT) I charge way more than the average grocery store does around here...but their cakes are average and mine are not. People know that they can ask me to put virtually ANYTHING on a cake vs. the grocery store where you have to pick a set design from a book.
You still have to determine if there is a customer base for higher level sheet cakes in your area too. I live in an extremely small town and charge double what the other bakers charge and at least triple what the grocers charge and I have no trouble selling sheet cakes. People realize it's not going to be a "run of the mill" cake and that it is "custom" and that unless someone else likes THEIR cake design, there won't be another like it, and of course the flavor....once they have one, they are willing to pay extra when they know it is good cake!!
Love your new tagline KHalstead!
I actually have considered the same thing as far as a showroom but just the reverse, Have my showroom/Pick-up in the more affluent areas in the 2 closest cities, and keep renting the local comm kitchen by my house until I can build my own separate kitchen on my property.
I"m considering opening a bakery and was wondering what are the ramifications of having the bakery on my property where I reside? Any help would be great. I love inthe state of FLorida.
Thank you Khalstead. I was so happy to see your post. I really want to maintain a reputation for speciality cakes and that includes the sheet cakes I will be making!
I have trouble convincing friends and family that I need to price on the higher end to make it be worth my while. I do intend to remain a place that does custom cakes and will be worth the higher end pricing. They think I need to be competitive with the local grocery store which is the only place around to buy a cake. I know the people around here are not happy with their cakes.
Also, I am tired of hearing they can go to Costco and get a 1/2 sheet for less than $20. Costco is 30 miles away and my cakes are not Costco type of cakes!
Anyway, if I am going to do this, I need to remain true to my craft and do the best cakes I know how and charge accordingly.
let me post a portion of an email I received from someone this morning!
" Hi Tina,
My name is xxx, I was at school substitute teaching and a women had a rose pot
of cupcakes. She said you made them. My son turns 1 on APRIL 3 and was wondering
if you could possibly make the cake. (she went on to describe what she'd like) If you could get back to me and let me know if you are interested and roughly how much. From
looking at your pictures I think you will do a great job. Had an awful
experience with Giant Eagle (our local grocery store) for my other sons birthday wish I would have heard
about you sooner."
THAT is what you want your customers mindframe to be like! They don't WANT a grocery store cake, or they'd continue going to the grocery store!
I also want to be upscale, exclusive, no sheet cakes.....BUT..... right now, I take anything that comes as I try to build my business. I try to make my sheet cakes as special as filled cakes with fondant accents, bows, and other special touches. I recently learned how to do a whole cake fbct and I love that technique. My cakes cost more than than the grocery store cakes and I plan it that way. They get more for their money also. Doing sheet cake are money coming in, it doesn't take long and I am still building my reputation. I put very few sheet cake pictures on my website because that is not what I want to focus on.