A love of baking is not the only requirement to opening a cake shop, but it is certainly the most necessary one. If you have a love of baking, superior decorating skills and a head for business, you have the ingredients necessary for opening a profitable cake shop in your community. Cake shops are a great alternative to standard grocery store fare, and with the advent of cake decorating shows on television, interesting and out-of-the-box cake decor is more popular than ever.
Research and write a business plan that encompasses your demographic, expenses, anticipated income, financing, experience and education in baking, and marketing plan. A business plan helps you solidify your goals for the shop and puts you on track for financing and eventual expansion.
Practice your cake baking and decorating skills. Take additional classes if you feel you need them. Throw a party or two and have friends and family taste test your work. This will help you develop a menu of your best cake and frosting recipes. It will also create word-of-mouth publicity throughout your community about your new shop as people get excited about your tasty offerings.
Gather or purchase the supplies you will need. If you need to purchase large, commercial equipment look to online auction sites or local classified ads. Look for bakeries or restaurants that are going out of business. You will need a commercial oven and a large mixer in addition to your bakeware and supplies. You may be able to make a deal for much of the equipment you will need. Develop a relationship with a cake supply company for items like fondant, pastry bags, airbrushing equipment, fondant cutters and moulds, and bakeware.
Acquire cake boxes and other packaging materials from online suppliers. Design a logo that goes with the name of your business and create labels. Be sure to include your phone number and web address on the labels.
Develop a menu and price list of your cakes as well as a list of customised decorations you can do. If you are unsure how to price your cakes, call cake shops located in your community, or in nearby towns or cities and find out what their prices are and how they come up with them. ThePartyWorks.com suggests calculating your actual cost per cake. This will take some division on your part, but is the best way to find out how much it costs you to make a cake. If you use 4 cups of flour, calculate how many cups are in the bag of flour you buy and then divide accordingly. Follow this step for all the ingredients you use. Then make sure you add on for your time and effort, and price your cake so that you make a profit.
Rent or purchase a location for your shop. You'll want a location that is near other businesses and gets a lot of foot traffic. Consult with your county's department of health to make sure your shop complies with all health codes for a bakery. They will do a pre-inspection for you if you are unsure of what you need to do.
Make sure your location is welcoming to visitors and is decorated accordingly. Put pictures of your cakes in the window to show what you have done. Offer tastings occasionally to give people an idea of what they can get at your shop.
Promote your business by placing your logo and contact information on everything that goes out of your shop, from the cake boxes to the envelopes. Get your logo painted on your car, or use a magnet to let people know what you do. Visit florists, event planners and the Chamber of Commerce bearing cake or cupcakes and let them know about your business. Whenever there is a charity event, offer to make a cake for it as your contribution and be listed as an event sponsor.
Open your doors with a grand opening party. Invite everyone you can, including local media. Provide cake and champagne for the grown-ups and cupcakes for little kids to decorate themselves. If your shop is too small for a party, have the party elsewhere but offer tours of the new place.