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You can open a cupcake cafe with a smart business plan and some top quality recipes. Of course you'll also need equipment, suppliers, staff and an excellent location. Location is key, because if you'll have a cupcake cafe and not a restaurant, you'll have to be sure to make enough sales. Selling boxes of cupcakes for children's birthday parties, weddings and office meetings may help you increase your sales and provide appealing, in-demand products to customers.
A location near a bus stop, theater, apartment buildings and a high school would be ideal for your cupcake cafe since you'll need to target customers who aren't looking for a whole meal. Your business plan should involve a careful study of bakeries, coffee shops and other potential competition in your area. Your cupcake products should be delicious and of top quality and items that customers can't find elsewhere in the neighborhood. You should spend time developing products and cupcake package specials that can't be easily copied by your competitors.
You'll also need to consider what beverages to offer in your cupcake cafe. Again, consider the needs and desires of your potential clientele as well as what the competition has to offer. Creating efficient "cupcake to go" service plus some comfortable eat-in space is probably the best approach for your cafe.
If you hope to attract the early morning school and work commuters, developing cupcakes suitable for early in the day is a good idea. You could advertise morning cupcake and coffee specials, for instance. Cupcake flavors such as apple cinnamon and blueberry lemon should be popular as morning options and will help you compete with local donut, coffee and fast-food places for breakfast traffic.
Six pack specials of your assorted cupcakes may be a good marketing strategy. When people come in for a single cupcake, you can encourage them to take home your six pack special of their favorite cupcakes. If your products are reasonably priced and absolutely delicious, it shouldn't take long for word of mouth to spread through your business area. Of course, you should never rely on reputation alone, but rather always be implementing your marketing and advertising plans.
Creating an interesting, comfortable environment adds a welcoming touch to your cupcake cafe that can help keep your tables filled with customers. Consider painting the walls in pretty cupcake frosting colors without going overboard. Rather than using plain utilitarian white restaurant dishes, consider rounding up a supply of mismatched floral cups and saucers from thrift stores. A saucer is the perfect size plate for a cupcake and the many floral patterns can give your cafe a unique and pretty look that goes well with the cupcakes.
I've seen all those cupcake competition shows and I agree with Pippinwhite -- they all look like the cupcakes are all icing and no substance. I wouldn't want to pay hard-earned money for a dry cake, no matter how incredible the icing looks.
I made a batch of lemon cupcakes for a benefit bake sale. I filled them with homemade lemon curd and just did a simple swirl frosting with a big star tip. I put a lemon drop on top of each cupcake. They sold well. Everyone talked about how moist the cake was and how they liked the lemon curd. So I think a quality product starts with good cake, too. I'd have been ashamed to put out a bunch of dry cupcakes and expect people to pay for them!
I'd definitely say make sure your recipes are as good as they can be. Test them and perfect them. Also, keep in mind you may be competing against some chain places, so you need to make sure you're doing what you do as well as you can.
A local chain place has these cupcakes that look spectacular, but they're all frosting. The cupcakes themselves are small and dry. I've said for a long time someone needs to give them some competition.
A local bakery outsells the chain's goods because the cake part of their products is so good. They have great cupcakes that stand up to having no frosting at all. A lot of people order them with no frosting or just a glaze, just because they're so good.
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