how to start a cake shop
by Otilia Dobos

Taking advantage of people’s sweet tooth can be a great business idea, for who can resist a delicious piece of cake? But running a successful cake shop requires a lot more than an interest in all things sweet.

Are you a talented baker? Have you impressed your friends and family with your sugary creations and are thinking about taking the next step and turning your passion into a business?

Then you must learn how to start a cake shop that will survive the test of time, make countless clients happy, and fill your pockets. We’ll show you how.

How to Start a Cake Shop 101

1. Research the competition

Before you start developing your cake shop business plan, you must familiarize yourself with your competitors. Analyze how they run their business and draw inspiration from their work to ensure your cake shop will be a success.

Here is what you should look out for when you check cake shops in your area:

  • What are their menu items and what type of products do they promote?
  • What is their target audience and what are they ordering?
  • Where are they located? Do they have a physical location or an online business?
  • What are their prices?
  • How do they promote their business? Do they have a website? Are they active on social media?
  • What do their online reviews say?

Gather all the information you can and use it to build a better business that will attract a variety of clients.

2. Find your cake shop niche

There are many other people that are wondering how to start a cake shop and many happy cake business owners out there. If you want to stand out from your competitors, you need to find out what makes you special.

More specifically, find your niche. Every cake shop sells sweet products, but why would potential clients choose yours? Here are a couple of cake business ideas you can draw inspiration from:

  • Choose a specific type of pastry: this is a trend that is working for a variety of cake shops because it allows them to use a limited number of ingredients, prevent food waste and explore their creativity. For example, you can choose choux, cookies, or cakes and play with the flavors;
  • Focus on specific diets: if you want more loyal customers, finding a niche is your best bet. Countless people choose or must follow specific diets you could target with your menu items, for example vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, or vegetarian;
  • Use alternative sweeteners: the new generation is becoming more health-conscious and while they still want to enjoy sweet products, they will likely opt for the healthier option. You can build your niche around only baking your products with alternative sweeteners such as dates, apple juice, stevia, grape juice, etc.
  • Use unusual ingredients: people are attracted by things that are out of the ordinary. Get more clients by baking with out-of-the-box ingredients such as vegetables, spices, exotic fruits, etc.

3. Create a cake shop business plan

How much does it cost to start a cake business? To determine that, you need to create a cake shop business plan that will not only help you account for all your spending but also get organized and know what steps you must follow to get your business started.

If you want to know how to start a cake shop, here is a rough business plan you can adapt to your business’s needs:

  • Choose the products you will be selling and develop a menu pricing strategy;
  • Find a location or, alternatively, start an online cake business using a ghost kitchen to reduce initial costs;
  • Make your cake shop legal: research your local laws to register your business, get permits, create a bank account, and invest in accounting software or hire an accountant. If you have a physical location, you may be interested in insuring to prevent unexpected losses;
  • Get all the equipment needed to bake, package and sell your menu items. You can make use of an industrial packaging equipment source that sells used machinery of this type if you want to keep your costs low without sacrificing quality or performance;
  • Hire staff if you plan on running a bigger establishment;
  • Set up your short and long-term goals: what you plan to achieve, how, and by when;
  • Market your business to ensure you get the word out.

4. Build a recognizable brand through packaging

Packaging is a very important part of a cake shop because cakes in general tend to be very fragile and you don’t want to disappoint clients by delivering them a smushed, inedible dessert. Moreover, food delivery packaging is the first and last thing a client sees and should be used as a marketing tactic.

Here is what you should do:

  • Get sturdy boxes: no marketing will help you if the dessert doesn’t reach your client in the same state it left your cake shop. It is better to invest more in packaging than receive negative reviews;
  • Brand your packaging: be it the box, napkins, or other objects, make sure your name and logo are clearly visible on them. Clients tend to keep the packaging for a while, so this is your chance to get your name out to them and their family and friends who will potentially see it.
  • Explore your creativity: you can hire a graphic designer to create a design for your boxes that will impress future clients and tempt them to take a picture and post it on their social media;
  • Go for the earthconscious option: conquer the audience that is passionate about climate change, by using biodegradable packaging. Don’t forget to let everyone know about it on your website and social media.
eco friendly packaging

Image Source: Shutterstock

5. Implement food safety measures

If you’ve only cooked at home until now, you may not be aware of how many health risks occur in a bigger kitchen that is meant to serve countless clients a day.

Food safety should be at the top of your list when you search for how to start a cake shop because you only need a single client to complain they got food poisoning from your place to bury your business. Negative reviews can seriously affect your cake shop’s profitability and should be avoided.

Therefore, before you open up your kitchen, do the following:

  • Get familiar with food safety regulations in your area: you may get inspections, so it is best to ensure your cake shop is up to code to prevent fines or, even, involuntary closing;
  • Take a food safety course: either online or in person, you can learn how to ensure a kitchen is never contaminated and how to do it in a simple, efficient way;
  • Have proper storage: ensure every ingredient is separated in the storage area, is kept at the right temperature, and is also labeled with sell-by-dates to prevent food spillage;
  • Implement a cleaning schedule: the easiest way to get accustomed to cleaning is to make it a habit; Take half an hour at opening and closing to make sure everything is sanitized.

6. Enable customers to order your products online

How to start a cake shop without breaking the bank? In the beginning, we recommend you focus on online sales because you don’t have to risk a big investment such as spending money on a location, staff members, and other maintenance costs.

And even if you do choose to have a physical location, cake shops are famously small, with just a few chairs. If you want to ensure your business is profitable, you need to increase your sales by selling your products online.

The easiest way to do so is to use an in-house online ordering system like the free one from GloriaFood that won’t eat into your budget. All you need is 10 free minutes to install the system to your website and get ready to accept online orders:

After you sign up and complete your cake shop’s basic information such as address, working hours, and contact information, you will get to the fun part: creating an attractive menu for your cake shop.

how to grow cake business

The menu builder is intuitive. It will allow you to create a cake shop menu that will persuade potential clients to order. It is extremely easy to use, organized in categories for fast browsing, and leads customers through all the necessary steps for finishing an order.

Launch your cake shop business online in a couple of minutes Install an online ordering system to your website for free

Check out this video to see how to create the best menu for your cake shop business, like the one on this demo website:

The best way to take online orders is directly on your website because you give clients the gift of convenience. No unnecessary phone calls or complicated systems.

If you don’t have a cake shop website yet or have one that doesn’t bring you the results you had hoped for, we can help you. The secret to ranking high in Google searches related to sweets is having a website that has been SEO optimized.

Get your cake shop noticed online with an SEO-optimized website Generate a sales optimized website for your cake business in minutes

If you don’t want to put in a lot of effort and money, we have a great solution for you. Our online ordering system can help you generate a sales-optimized website in under 10 minutes. Check out this video to see how easy it is:

7. Attract your first clients with first-order promos

When you are a new business, your main concern is getting your first orders. How will you get people to order? No need to worry, our online ordering system has an integrated feature dedicated to attracting new customers, called the Kickstarter module.

For example, you can create a first-time promo and offer clients a 15% discount when they place their first order. The offer will only be available to new customers. You can pair it with a minimum order amount of $50 to increase order value.

how to open a cake shop

But the fun doesn’t stop here. You can convince more people to order with online ordering flyers and email invitations. Check out this video to learn how to do it in no time:

8. Boost customer loyalty with regular promotions

If you want to build a profitable business, you need to constantly attract new clients and encourage them to order more. Do you know what the easiest way to do this is? Offering promotions!

With this online ordering system, you can use a variety of tried and tested promotion templates to persuade people to click the order button to take advantage of the offers. It will only take you seconds to do so, just like this video illustrates:

Free delivery? 5% off for the first order? A meal combo with a variety of desserts? Experiment with all the deals to see what works for your customers.

Another great idea for a bakery promotion that will help you prevent food waste is to offer your perishable products at a reduced price at the end of the day. Do you have some cakes that will go bad by the next day? Add them to a special category and reduce the price by 50% so you can still make a profit.

how to start a cake shop

Moreover, if you want to boost client loyalty, you must become familiar with the Autopilot module integrated into this online ordering system. This smart feature delivers targeted email campaigns to previous customers, segmented according to their purchasing history, to persuade them to order again.

Set up the campaigns once, and then take a step back and enjoy the results. The campaigns will run, just as the name suggests, on autopilot. Find out more about this useful feature:

9. Be active on social media

As nowadays people spend most of their time online, it makes sense that that’s where you need to market your cake shop. You must make your business easy to find for all people who are searching for desserts in your area.

Start by creating a complete profile on social media platforms with your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), contact info, working hours, and a link to your website and menu. This way, when people are tempted by a delicious-looking photo, they are only a click away from ordering.

Get people interested in your cake shop menu items by showing them a variety of posts ranging from mouth-watering photos of your desserts to videos on how they are made. Moreover, make it a habit to interact with your followers. Replying to comments and messages helps your business grow.

10. Encourage online reviews

Make an account on all review platforms in your area, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. Then, encourage people to leave you positive reviews. The more good reviews you get, the more trust potential customers have in your business. You can even give people an incentive for a review, such as a discount or a small dessert.

Furthermore, don’t forget about claiming your Google Business Profile. Give the most used search engine all the relevant information about your business, so it can increase your ranking.

Therefore, ensure you add updated working hours, address, link to your website and menu, and many, many, pictures of your sweets to get people craving your menu items. With a complete profile, you can invite people to leave you a positive review on Google.

Final Words

There you have it, a simple, yet detailed guide on how to start a cake shop. The trick is to start by sketching out your business plan and determining your niche and goals. Then, focus on more concrete measures such as using the best technology, like our online ordering system, to launch your cake shop online.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Otilia Dobos
Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos prides herself on well-documented, easy to understand and SEO-optimized content, both short and long form.