When starting a cake business you will be responsible for designing, baking and decorating delicious cakes for clients. People often want cakes to celebrate special occasions or events such as birthdays, weddings and corporate gatherings. Your business will be responsible for not only creating appealing cakes but also complying with food handling standards to ensure it is safe to eat. You must be aware and comply with local health codes. Your business can have standard cakes for clients to pick from which can be personalized with the person’s name or you can customize each cake to your client’s specifications.
Where will you Work?
You can decide to start your cake business at home if zoning laws allow or find a commercial kitchen to work in. Since commercial kitchens are often expensive you can consider renting.
Your business will need a location with a reliable oven and refrigerator. You will also need cooking tools such as baking pans and a heavy duty mixer. You will need cake decorating tools and cake ingredients such as milk, flour, eggs, sugar, frosting, fillings ect. You can decide to include decor on your cakes. You will need cake plates to place your cakes on and boxes for delivery. Also consider purchasing a camera to take pictures of your cakes to show future potential clients.
Tips for Starting a Cake Business
- Practice makes perfect. Test your cake baking skills on family members before starting your business. Learn new techniques by taking classes, researching the Internet, magazines, and cook books.
- Find out about local zoning laws. Zoning laws govern the area and can pose restrictions on how local businesses operate. Check your local zoning laws to ensure you are not breaking any rules. Zoning laws may not allow home based businesses in your area. If you run a cake business from your home it is also important that you do not form a disturbance to your neighbors. Neighbors may complain about you to the local zoning board if they feel your home business is bringing too much traffic to your street, being too noisy or causing other disturbances.
- Find out the requirements to legally operate your cake business. Contact your local Board of Health or government offices/ secretary of state to discover what licenses or permits you need. Some states are stricter than others when dealing with home businesses. When handling food for the public you need to follow health codes to ensure it is safe to eat.
- Keep your work space clean. When running a business that handles food it is important to keep your work area clean not just because of health codes but also because you make an impression on clients. Clients want to see that you are running a sanitary business. Tie long hair back, wear gloves and don’t lick your fingers!
- Set your cake business apart from the competition. What can you offer to customers that local bakeries can not? It could be more personalized and creative cakes.
New cake decorating techniques has allowed cake makers to produce incredible cakes like never before. Image cakes are an example of this. Recent technology enables cake makers to make edible print outs of digital photos and place them on cakes. No artistic skill necessary. Another alternative is using a projector that projects a picture onto the cake and allows you to trace out the image instead of doing it freehand. Airbrush equipment is also used to spray food coloring on the cake. You can research the Internet and cake decorating magazines for the latest technology and techniques for cake decorating. Themed cakes are popular especially for kid birthday parties. A child may request a baseball themed birthday cake or a princess themed cake to go along with their themed party.
- Word-of-Mouth– One sure way to get people talking about your cake business is by creating incredible looking and tasting cakes. Give people something to talk about.
- Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, party supply stores, restaurants and community centers. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byers on the street.
- Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears.
- Local Events– Donate one of your cakes to church functions, fund raisers and local events where you can gain publicity.
- Website– A website will allow you to post pictures of your cakes for potential clients to see.
- Form a Partnership– Form a partnership with local party planners and wedding planners. You can offer them a discounted rate or commision for using your service.
- Newspaper classified ads– Newspaper ads in your local newspaper can be used in advertising your cake business.
- Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your cake business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service in your area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
- Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.