Many home bakery owners dream about growing their clientele to include coffee shops and restaurants. However, expanding a business takes time and may involve reaching out to many potential businesses. Remember to know your local cottage food laws, so you understand what you are legally permitted to do.
You want to start selling to coffee shops, here’s what to do:
- Determine how much each menu item costs in ingredients, time, and packaging
- Produce a consistent, quality product
- Reach out to coffee shops in your area and introduce yourself with a convincing sales pitch
- Provide samples of your menu items with a wholesale price list
- Use your marketing channels as leverage to get coffee shops to take on your product
- Take advantage of busy holiday seasons with specially designed menus
Tips for Selling Baked Goods to a Coffee Shop
By selling to a coffee shop, you sell your items at wholesale, a lower price than retail. It is critical to purchase ingredients and packaging at the lowest possible price and know how much it costs you to produce baked goods – not only monetarily but also in time. You need to evaluate if it makes financial sense to sell your products wholesale. To be profitable, you might need to offer a limited version of your menu for wholesale.
Be sure to do the math upfront, so you are not losing money down the line. Determine a minimum amount for orders, especially since you will be delivering. All orders have to be worth your while.
In addition to a popular coffee shop, I also had a weekly commitment from a tea shop with a minimum order for cookies, scones, and cupcakes. The delivery day was Friday, and while it was nice to have a steady order, it was hectic to deliver on a busy day.
Research Shops in Your Area
The first step is to identify the coffee shops in your area that may want to buy your goods. Find out which coffee shops sell products that are similar to yours. Is there an opportunity for your product to complement the current offerings? A coffee shop known for its donuts may find it difficult to sell your cookies or cupcakes. However, there is no harm in trying. That might mean there is an opening for a different type of product.
Do you have a specialty item that you are known for? Do you intend to sell vegan treats or gluten-free products? Research helps you to determine the type of baked goods you can sell to specific coffee shops. Also, find out what other home bakeries in your area are offering.
Find out the legal requirements for selling your baked goods to coffee shops. This information prevents you from running into trouble with the law.
Make sure you obtain necessary permits and licenses for your business. The licenses will ensure your business complies with state laws. Also, it can help you gain the trust of coffee shops in your area.
Make sure your products stand out for their taste. Excellent quality will give your home bakery a competitive edge.
Make sure your pastries look professional before you supply them to coffee shops. Presentation is a crucial factor when it comes to baked goods. Remember, people eat with their eyes first.
The quality and price of your baked goods determine whether coffee shops will be willing to sell them on their premises. Quality products can help you close the deal with coffee shops faster.
Consider the effects of scaling up on the quality of your product. Find ways of maintaining the quality and taste of your baked goods as you expand your business.
When you take on coffee shops as clients, it’s critical that you consistently deliver the same product week after week. Take your recipe and write down how you make it each time. Measure your ingredients by weight.
Each week your items need to look just like they did the week before. Once you drop off that first order, you are setting expectations, and you need systems in place to meet those each week.
Reach Out to Coffee Shops
Design an introductory template that you will email to coffee shops in your area. How you introduce yourself to potential clients will determine if they take up your offer or not.
Introduce yourself to the owners or managers of the coffee shops and inform them about your products. Be sure to sell your business well by mentioning facts like your business compliance with state regulations and hygiene standards. Include any press mentions or a customer testimonial.
Express your desire to collaborate with the coffee shops. Outline how your business complements theirs and your willingness to establish a longterm working relationship with them.
Design a catalog of all the baked goods you offer wholesale and use them in your sales pitch. Customize the menu with photos and price list to suit the needs of the specific coffee shops you approach. Add a call to action at the end of your email. Request for a meeting with the coffee shop and include your contacts in the mail.
Bring samples with you to the meeting. Your pitch will be more convincing once they see and taste the quality of your baked goods. Be patient as you reach out to various coffee shops. The first coffee shops you sell to may refer others to your business.
Determine Delivery Frequency
Establish a schedule for the delivery of your products to ensure timely and consistent deliveries. Discuss a suitable delivery schedule with the managers and owners of the coffee shops.
The supply and delivery schedules of the coffee shops may vary. Some coffee shops will want you to deliver on certain days and times. Others will prefer deliveries on demand. Be flexible to accommodate their requirements.
Use the first few weeks as a dry run for making deliveries. Even with an established schedule, try to leave room for flexibility to deliver goods on demand.
Take Advantage of Holidays and Special Celebrations
Take note of upcoming holidays and special celebrations such as graduations, Mother’s Day, etc. Shops may want to order more baked goods during Christmas and Thanksgiving season. If you create holiday menus, be sure to share it with the coffee shop in advance with details about ordering.
Come Up With Suitable Branding
Creating a brand for your home bakery increases business awareness. Consider coming up with unique packaging and logo for your baked goods.
Some coffee shops will not mind stocking your unbranded products. However, reputable will prefer to sell baked goods with recognizable brand names. Branding also helps to market your baked goods to new customers. The coffee shops could become a marketing platform to reach new consumers.
Nicely packaged baked goods may attract potential clients, and you may start receiving new orders from individual customers. Soon new coffee shops and restaurants may start ordering your baked goods.
Promote the Shops That Offer Your Product
Use your marketing channels to promote your products being available at other locations. Whether on special media, your website, or in emails, share where your customers can find your baked goods. Tag the business on social media whenever possible. As a local business yourself, connecting with and promoting other owners in your area is a good idea.
Do Not Charge For Delivery Yet
Do not charge for delivery to the coffee shops. Free delivery helps to establish trust and a long working relationship with the coffee shops.
You may review the terms of your agreement with the coffee shops as demand for your baked goods increases. You may even increase the price of your baked goods with time to cover the delivery costs.
Building Long-term Relationships
As long as you know your costs (ingredients, time, and packaging), selling your baked goods to coffee shops increases profits and provides a steady income. You will also gain overall exposure for your business and be introduced to potential customers.
Perhaps the owner/manager will let you leave your business cards for anyone who inquires. Or maybe after you have a stable relationship, you could have your customers pick up their orders from the coffee shop. Establishing relationships with other complementary businesses makes sense for the longterm survival of your home bakery.
One last word, be sure you are operating a legal home bakery and you are very clear about your costs. It’s an easy trap to fall into when you make assumptions and don’t charge enough.
Have you gotten my Essential 5 P’s for Perfect Product Pricing pdf yet? I created this freebie to take the guesswork out of determining how much to charge for baked goods. Sign up for my email list and your very first email has the pdf.
Check out my blog archive for more helpful articles. Follow me on Instagram at @whiskwarrior where I post weekly tips, resources, and personal experiences operating a home bakery and retail bakeshop.