The recent popularity of cupcake bakeries, cupcake wedding "cakes" and all things cupcake, demand for these confections appears to be skyrocketing. If you like to bake, it might not be too far-fetched to consider starting your own cupcake business. Whether this is feasible will depend on several factors, including demand in your area. It's fairly easy to test the waters and see if a cupcake business might work for you.
- Skill level:
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Practice your cupcake skills. If you're not an expert baker, keep trying until you're able to get consistently delicious results. While you might be able to sell cupcakes made from cake mixes, you may be able to interest more customers in baked goods that are made from scratch from good quality ingredients. Even if you are a seasoned baker, try out some new varieties and decide which flavours of cupcakes you want to advertise.
Think about presentation. While cupcakes don't have to be fancy, the nicer they look, the more likely they are to sell. Decide how you will frost and decorate your product and make sure you have the required skills and supplies to achieve the results you want.
Decide whether you will make any cupcakes for special diets. Depending on your potential clientele, you may get a lot of business by providing vegan, organic, naturally sweetened or gluten-free cupcakes.
Figure out costs. When you go shopping, make a note of how much all your supplies cost so you can figure out how much you need to charge for cupcakes. Do the math and figure out, based on the amounts of ingredients you use, how much the ingredients for each batch cost. Add to that the wage you want to make for the time it takes you to make each batch (considering also that you may spend some time delivering them). The number you get is the price you need to make per batch. If you sell your cupcakes through restaurants or other businesses, they will expect to make money on sales. Divide your batch price by the number of cupcakes per batch, then imagine a markup of 25 per cent to 50 per cent and think about whether the number you come up with seems like a reasonable price for a cupcake.
Make batch of each of your favourite flavours, and make a number of sample plates with one or two cupcakes of each flavour.
Take the sample plates around to local businesses you think might be interested in selling them. Do this within 24 hours of baking the cupcakes. Try to talk to a manager while you are there and leave your contact information.
Make follow-up calls if you don't hear back within a few days.
Attend events, such as bake sales, craft fairs and farmers markets, with cupcakes to sell. Consider giving out free samples and business cards as a promotion.
Tips and warnings
- Research the food-service laws in your area, especially if your business starts to take off. You may be classified as a caterer, which will mean that the laws applying to you are probably less strict than the laws for restaurants, but there are some basic guidelines.
- You may need to cook in a certified commercial kitchen. If you don't have access to one, you may be able to make a deal with a restaurant that carries your products or possibly with a church or other organisation.