- 1.Think about the format of the business
- 2.Put together a business plan
- 3.Choose the name and location
- 4.Apply for all necessary permits and licenses
- 5.Work on branding
- 6.Create a website and choose an online ordering system
- 7.Design your menu and publish it on the website
- 8.Start promoting your business on social media
- 9.Offer attractive opening promotions and discounts
- 10.Organize events and get involved in the community
Is opening a cupcake bakery your lifelong dream? Don’t wait for a second longer, and start the process ASAP. In the article below, you’ll learn how to start a cupcake business from the ground up and promote your delicious cupcakes to as many people as possible.
How to Start a Cupcake Business in 10 Easy Steps
1. Think about the format of the business
A cupcake business doesn’t have to follow the same format, especially in an age where technology has allowed food businesses to sell their goodies in a variety of ways. Here’s what your cupcake business could look like:
- Bakery & café with sit-down service: In this instance, you need a brick-and-mortar location where you serve customers your delicious baked goods. To appeal to more customers and boost profits, it’s advisable to also sell soft drinks and coffee products and make a cupcake-café hybrid. If the space isn’t that big and you want to increase table turnover, convert your paper menu into a QR code ordering menu.
- Pickup and delivery only: If you don’t have the money to rent a bigger location, you can settle for a counter where customers can come pick up their orders, or your delivery people can collect the orders for delivery. To avoid orders piling up, enable scheduled orders so customers can order in advance.
- Cupcake food truck: Another option is to open a cupcake business in a food truck. This will give you the advantage of traveling and selling your baked goods to as many people as possible. You can participate in festivals and carnivals or park your food truck in high-density areas to attract more people.
2. Put together a business plan
Once you know what you want your cupcake business to be, it’s time to start working on your business plan. These are the must-have sections you need to include in your cupcake business plan:
- Company overview and executive summary. That includes your purpose, goals, finances, and your vision for the future.
- Industry and market analysis. Research your target audience and competition to find out what you’re up against.
- Team and organization. Who will make up your team, and how will you distribute the tasks?
- Menu and services outline. Delve deeper into the products you’ll be selling and the services you plan on offering.
- Marketing strategy. A step-by-step description of how you plan to promote your cupcake business to your target audience.
- Financial analysis. From the finances you have available to your financial projections for the future.
- Business operations. What are your company policies? What are the systems you need? Who will be your suppliers?
3. Choose the name and location
The second you thought about opening a cupcake business, you probably thought of a name too. If you haven’t, this is the time to do that. Here are some potential cupcake business names to jumpstart your creativity:
- The Cupcake Club
- Cupcake Cravings
- The Cupcake Factory
- Sweetest Things
- Cupcake Wonderland
- Love at First Bite
- Bite Me
- Cupcake Republic
- Baking a Difference
Cupcakes inspire whimsy, so don’t be afraid to play with puns and cutesy names.
Next, choose the right location by analyzing its accessibility and visibility, the competition in the area, the demographics, neighborhood safety, space necessities, and, of course, affordability.
4. Apply for all necessary permits and licenses
Learning how to start a cupcake business will always involve paperwork. This may not be the most pleasant task, but it is necessary. However, depending on the type of business you plan to open, you might have less paperwork to deal with.
This also applies to the business structure you choose for your business. If you opt for an LLC, you will have to take state requirements and fees into account, while opting for a sole proprietorship doesn’t require registration within your state. All structures have pros and cons and you have to pick the best for your business.
For example, a brick-and-mortar location involves much more permits and licenses than a food truck or a takeaway-only business. Not only that, but certain business entities require more paperwork than others, such as an LLC, compared to a sole proprietorship. Here are the essential permits and licenses you may need if you decide to open a full-blown cupcake business:
- Business license
- Certificate of occupancy
- Building health permit
- Seller’s permit
- Resale permit
- Food handler’s license
- Employee Identification Number (EIN)
- Employee health permit
- Sign permit
- Music license
- Liquor license
- Dumpster placement permit
Depending on the space and what you plan on organizing at the location, you might also need other permits and licenses, such as a valet parking permit or live entertainment license. The permits and licenses you need also vary according to the area, so check your local government’s requirements.
5. Work on branding
Branding tells the story of your cupcake business. From designing a perfect bakery logo to the color scheme, product names, social media identity, packaging, and more, every single way in which you choose to represent your business is part of your brand identity.
This will influence how potential customers see your business. Remember that when it comes to branding, consistency is key. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create a recognizable brand and encourage customer loyalty.
6. Create a website and choose an online ordering system
Whether you want to also sell your cupcakes online or not, you need a website for your business. This is how potential customers will find you online and learn information about you, like your address, opening hours, menu, and contact information. If you decide to make a website from scratch but don’t know where to start, you have to first learn more about web development cost.
If you already have a website, it would be a waste of resources not to also sell your cupcakes online. Especially when you can install an online ordering system for free in just a few minutes.
Adding an order button to your website will allow you to sell more of your cupcakes with minimal effort on your part. Plus, customers will love the convenience of being able to order on your website and enjoy your delicious cupcakes in the comfort of their own homes.
7. Design your menu and publish it on the website
Menu design doesn’t have to be complicated to work. What customers want to see is clear information on the ingredients and an appealing photo to get their appetite going. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the menu descriptions and include mouthwatering adjectives and backstory elements.
One of the most daunting tasks for a restaurateur is updating the menu, creating a new PDF to post on the website, and reprinting physical menus. Using our online menu maker, you can make changes to your menu and publish them instantly on your website.
You can also use add-ons and toppings to allow customers to make their own cupcakes using different types of frosting and sprinkles.
8. Start promoting your business on social media
A big part of starting a cupcake business is online promotion. The easiest way to promote your cupcakes online is on social media. Try to be active at least on the three major platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Post regularly and consistently to build a loyal following and turn followers into customers. Show behind-the-scenes images and clips to seem more approachable, ask your followers questions like what’s their favorite cupcake topping to encourage engagement, and organize contests and giveaways.
When it comes to customer support, include a local phone service, email, social media chatbot, and other means of quick communication.
If you have a bigger social media budget, consider collaborating with influencers to grow your accounts faster.
9. Offer attractive opening promotions and discounts
Do you want all eyes on you when you finally open your cupcake business? Then kick everything off with some irresistible offers and promotions that will have customers swarming around your bakery.
25% on all cupcakes on your first day, buy two cupcakes and get the third for free, or free delivery for customers who want to order are just a few of the promotions you can try.
Using our promotions module, you can easily set up different types of promos that will show up at the beginning of your online menu for customers to see.
10. Organize events and get involved in the community
If you’re looking to create more than just a bakery but a space where people in the neighborhood like to gather to enjoy live music, poetry slams, and all sorts of creative activities while also devouring your cupcakes, consider organizing events that will get people talking.
The choices are endless, from a karaoke evening to a costume party, cupcake-making class, or trivia night. Distribute flyers in the neighborhood to invite people to the event. You can also include a small discount for people who come with the flyer.
Use our Delivery Heatmaps to determine the highest order density areas and distribute flyers there to maximize conversions and reward your loyal customers.
Now that you have learned the basics of how to start a cupcake business, it’s time to put them into practice. Start by brainstorming ideas about what you want your business and brand to be, and follow this structure to make sure you don’t miss any steps.