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Optimum Cake Variety


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I've just been running some numbers on the amounts of cakes we're selling each month and found some surprising info...

There are several cake flavors we simply only sell 1 or 2 of each month. Now some of this data might be skewed as it comes from both the cakes on special orders, and what we have available in the case, which varies day by day depending on mood, how much time we have to make cakes for the case, etc. (I plan on having a better system to track these cakes moving forward)

Firstly, most of our cakes are modular, and simply consist of different combinations of the same basic components, many of which we have on hand regularly. So essentially, it's not too much extra work to have this extra variety.

My question is more of a marketing one. Do you think it would be better to edit our cake menu. We currently have 17 cakes and 11 cupcakes.

I feel like customers might be overwhelmed by too many choices, but I fear that they may be turned away by not enough choices.

Thoughts?

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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Personally, I'd figure out exactly which cakes are slow sellers, then put them on seasonal promotion rather than offering them daily. So, for example, if you've got a cherry cake that doesn't move, try offering it for one month only each year to see whether that will move more of it in an aggregate way than the daily offering did.

Also, you're worried about reducing your choices from 17 to 14-15? That's not so big a reduction that your customers will feel affected by it, and I'd always offer the "edited out of daily offer" cakes on the special orders menu.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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We generally try to have 6-7 variety of cakes per day. About 50% of our cakes are walk-in and the rest are special order. Cakes are about 8% of our business, but it's an area I'd like to grow.

One thing I've observed is the higher quality bakeries offer fewer choices than lower quality bakeries. We'd like to position ourselves as the former, so a goal of 10 cake varieties (maybe even less) feels just more comfy. Simpler. Easier to train.

But it's an interesting risk. Offer less with the hopes to sell more.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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I agree with your settling on 10 kinds of cakes...it sounds like a good number. Put the rest on the Special Order list.

I also like the suggested idea of seasonal cakes...like pumpkin spice, etc. Limited time availability may spur some extra cake sales.

Is there one cake that outsells the rest? What about upping the ante and figuring out how to make that cake even better? Instead of a chocolate ganache, use a dark chocolate ganache. Instead of frosting between cake layers, what about using a raspberry or chocolate mousse? Little changes could make your cakes even more memorable.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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One thing I've observed is the higher quality bakeries offer fewer choices than lower quality bakeries. We'd like to position ourselves as the former, so a goal of 10 cake varieties (maybe even less) feels just more comfy. Simpler. Easier to train.

If you want the extreme? I own a high-end bakery, one of the most exclusive in the country. We offer 5 flavours of cake on a daily basis, and 4 seasonal flavours that are available for one month each, one of which requires 2 months advance notice when ordering (NS black fruitcake, available only in December, requires the time to age properly - I take orders in September and October for December's deliveries.)

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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