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Selling prepared desserts to restaurants?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 jrshaul

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:49 PM

After a major life change (I'm not a computer science undergraduate anymore! Hooray!), I now have a job in marketing for sales for a resurgent  local bakery. After the patriarch sold off the old facility to developers for enough cash to retire in Monaco, the 3rd and 4th generations made use of generous city loans to rebuild in a less affluent location.

The new facility is shiny, new, and HACCP-friendly, but not quite the retail bonanza they used to own. The family has done some business with one or two local restaurants providing semi-finished desserts, and they'd like to expand further in this respect. Anything from fine dining to coffeeshops are all valid sales opportunities. 

Can anyone describe what the purchasing patterns, requirements, and markup on various types of dessert would be? The dudes in question can do anything from carrot cake to homemade mascarpone without batting an eyelash, though they're more oriented to volume than precision. A few examples we've discussed include tiramisu, key lime pie, carrot cake, chess pie, flourless chocolate cake, and various types of cheesecake. 



#2 HungryC

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 01:35 PM

I have no answers for any of the questions you posed, but do have a marketing suggestion: look for small to medium sized caterers as potential customers. Often, they don't have the prep space to do pastry and thus may be interested in your bakery's services. See if your state restaurant association has an annual food show or expo.

#3 Twyst

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 07:32 PM

I have no answers for any of the questions you posed, but do have a marketing suggestion: look for small to medium sized caterers as potential customers. Often, they don't have the prep space to do pastry and thus may be interested in your bakery's services. See if your state restaurant association has an annual food show or expo.

This is an excellent suggestion.

 

On a side note, in the OP Fine Dining was mentioned as a target marketing demographic.   I would not waste any time or money pursuing this for two reasons, most fine dining restaurants do not use prefab food and you stated your crew specializes in volume over precision.   Your best targets are going to be non corporate fast/casual restaurants and catering, as HungryC suggested. .


Edited by Twyst, 07 June 2013 - 07:33 PM.


#4 pastrygirl

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 06:14 PM

Agreed on the catering, especially if they can do minis and wedding cakes. Or how about a partnership with a coffee shop or wine bar?

In general, you want to consider shelf life, portability, and ease of use. Do you want to deliver to your accounts every day? Twice a week? Does the product need refrigeration? Would you offer other components like sauces, or what do you mean by semi-finished?

#5 JeanneCake

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:06 PM

Everything everyone has said so far, and you want to identify where your potential customers are currently buying products.  If they're getting frozen stuff from a Sysco or other place, you need to know how to compete on price and product variety.



#6 Edward J

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 03:32 PM

Uhhh...Not only Sysco, but meat purveyors (mine tries to sell me 12 vareities of cheesecake and 8 of fruit pies. Hey! it's all going on a refrigerated food truck, right?) and especially bakery suppliers.  Just looking through the frozen section of my bakery supplier's product list, I've got puff pastry, in sheets, in heads, pre cut, croissants in every shape and size and filling available, lord knows how many cheesecakes, cakes, tarts, mini tarts, same for cookie doughs, frozen and fresh muffin batters, fillings, sauces, choc. garnishes, icings, creams, you name it.

 

Caterers use a lot of bread (sandwiches), and what ever pastries/desserts they order usually comes from the bakery that supplies them bread.  This is usually augumented with bake-off stuff (see above) and maybe one or two "home made" desserts. The mega bakery in my area has a caterer's price list where they offer a dessert buffet for 50 ppl starting at $75 and going all the way up.

 

 

For me, the "target audience" to sell pastries and desserts are coffee shops that don't have a convection oven or the space to put one in.  I have several such customers, two of which I am pleased to say I've been supplying them for 5 years straight and one of them has had a change of ownership twice now.  I focus on pastries that are "dry"--don't need refrigeration, and have a shelf life of 10-14 days, and with at least a 100% mark up. Once a place gets a convection oven though... even a half size one.. I and the regular bakeries are out, and frozen bake-off stuff is in. 

 

You have to realize how practical frozen bake-off is.  In order for a fresh bakery pastry delivery, you need to order a certain amount, say $100, or have it combined with a daily bread delivery.  O.t.o.h., if you have a freezer stuffed full of rtb (ready to bake) apple tarts, or cookies, or whatever, you pull out what you need, bake it off and sell it, and not have the remnents of a "minimum delivery" of fresh-baked goods stare you in the face next day.

 

Plated desserts........ Yes you can deliver indv. tirimisu or creme brulle or mousse or whatever. BUT the cafe/restaurant needs someone to accept the goods, put them away, see to it that there are sauces or garnishes to accompany the dessert, dress the plates, and order more when par levels are low.  That same person can make a pyrex dish of tirimisu (@ 9 ports) with supermarket lady fingers and marscapone, can make choc mousse with supermarket bulk chocolate and whipping cream.  You just need a kitchen aid and a fridge.  Why pay double labour costs? 



#7 Edward J

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:25 PM

So JR.,  have you put together a marketing plan yet?