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Cheap customers & how to make it work?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My family has a small business (with a a kitchen/restaurant) that we're going to be opening up again. When we had it in the past, I did the desserts (cakes, pies cobblers and stuff). I enjoy being able to bake and (legally) being able to get rid of what I've made. The problem is our customers were, well, cheap. Prices were along the lines of $1.50 - $1.75 for a piece of cake, $1.50 for two (smallish) cupcakes, $1.95 for cobblers, puddings, pies or a slice of cheesecake. And to be honest, they still complained about those prices sometimes. It sucked the joy out of me.  I got to where I would slap a box mix sheet cake together and throw some canned frosting on it and call it dessert.

 

This was all before I found cakecentral.

 

I would like to be able to use the business to get my goods out there and(possibly) sell more cakes. Realistically, I don't think there's a possibility of getting these people to understand the cost of cake, but I still want to bake and decorate.  I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions? Do I try layered cakes and up the price, hoping they'll see that they're getting more for their money? Do lower prices and thinner slices? A local restaurant gets about $4.50 with tax for a three layered slice that's about an inch or so thick. Maybe do half the size for half the price? Just do homemade sheet cakes and sell them by the square?

 

I really just want to bake and get the experience/practice, without letting their cheapness ruin it again!

post #2 of 9
Don't try changing the cheap ones, change who you are marketing to.
Plank.
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Plank.
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post #3 of 9
I completely agree. These customers are not who you should be baking for.
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by es329 View Post
 

My family has a small business (with a a kitchen/restaurant) that we're going to be opening up again. When we had it in the past, I did the desserts (cakes, pies cobblers and stuff). I enjoy being able to bake and (legally) being able to get rid of what I've made. The problem is our customers were, well, cheap. Prices were along the lines of $1.50 - $1.75 for a piece of cake, $1.50 for two (smallish) cupcakes, $1.95 for cobblers, puddings, pies or a slice of cheesecake. And to be honest, they still complained about those prices sometimes. It sucked the joy out of me.  I got to where I would slap a box mix sheet cake together and throw some canned frosting on it and call it dessert.

 

If the business is not yet opened, do some advertising BEFORE opening day.  Prepare your potential customers for higher priced bakery products.  IF there is a market for higher priced bakery goods, customers will pay the price.  IF there is NOT a market (in your family business), they won't.  If they won't pay higher prices, then they are NOT your target customers.

 

Just because you "want to bake and decorate", doesn't mean that THEY will want to pay break-even or profitable prices for these goods.  If the customers like  an inexpensive dessert made of  "sheet cake with some canned frosting", then make the most profitable sheet cake with canned frosting that you can whip out in minimum time, cut, freeze, defrost and serve. 

 

Make a separate, small, premium, dessert display with your fancy baked goods and ask a premium price.    Make some dummy cakes and be ready with your premium prices when they ask, "how much is that?".

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti View Post

If the business is not yet opened, do some advertising BEFORE opening day.  Prepare your potential customers for higher priced bakery products.  IF there is a market for higher priced bakery goods, customers will pay the price.  IF there is NOT a market (in your family business), they won't.  If they won't pay higher prices, then they are NOT your target customers.

Just because you "want to bake and decorate", doesn't mean that THEY will want to pay break-even or profitable prices for these goods.  If the customers like  an inexpensive dessert made of  "sheet cake with some canned frosting", then make the most profitable sheet cake with canned frosting that you can whip out in minimum time, cut, freeze, defrost and serve. 

Make a separate, small, premium, dessert display with your fancy baked goods and ask a premium price.    Make some dummy cakes and be ready with your premium prices when they ask, "how much is that?".

It's basically already opened with customers that have been coming for years, we're just taking it back. It's like a restaurant/concession stand attached to another business that brings people in two nights a week.

I've already got people that will buy some of my cakes and pay bakery type prices since this will give me a legal way to sell them. I was just thinking that I could get my practice in and hopefully make some profit off of it.some way.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
It's possible that this is a bad idea and I just got too excited about being able to sell my stuff, though.
post #7 of 9
If the existing business draws customers who are more concerned about price than quality, being attached to/associated with this business may be a liability. You may be better off with a distinct brand that markets directly to a different customer base, utilizing the restaurant as just a commercial kitchen and pickup location.
post #8 of 9
You could work half as hard and make twice as much profit if you just sit down and work out how to reach the customers that appreciate custom cake and will pay for it. Wouldn't you rather spend half the week on one spectacular cake, and make as much as you did making 10 really low end boring cakes?
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #9 of 9

es329~~the description of the business and the explanation of  "customers that have been coming for years", makes it sound very much as if this is not the opportunity for you to sell high-end priced products.    I agree with Jasoncraft and kikyandkyle above.  Keep on being excited about baking, though, and work with your other customers that will pay higher prices!

 

All the best to you from another crazy baker.  (I do it for free...... sheesh.....!)

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