Why You Should Get in On The Cronut Trend

What is a Cronut?

There seems to be a serious buzz around the newest baked good trend, the Cronut. Just in time for cold weather. Who doesn’t love croissants and donuts. This croissant doughnut hybrid is a creation out of the boutique NYC bakery, Dominique Ansel Bakery. After trademarking their hybrid earlier this year we’ve seen the Cronut sprouting up all over the country from retail chains and quick service restaurants.


Getting in on the trend while it’s in demand and before the market becomes saturated is a good strategy. We’ve seen similar booms in bakery and dessert trends last sustainably with cupcake shops, frozen yogurt, and cake pops.

Check out ourCronut recipe with pictures here.






What Does the FDA’s Gluten Free Label Mean for Bakeries

Earlier this year the FDA passed food legislation that began regulating the foods that manufacturers label as gluten-free. This is a big change to health food stores and gluten-free bakeries across the country but first let’s define what gluten and what gluten-free actually means.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a type of protein largely found in wheats and grains. Gluten has been getting some attention lately due to a rise in celiac disease, a disease that prevents you from being able to process gluten, and recent diet and health trends.


So what does “gluten-free” mean?

The U.S Food and Drug Administration now defines gluten free as the following:

  • A food that naturally does not have gluten such as a bag of raw vegetables or bottled water
  • Does not contain an ingredient that is a whole gluten-containing grain such as wheat, barley, rye, or crossbred hybrids of any of the grains.
  • Does not contain an ingredient that is derived from a gluten-containing grain and has not been processed to remove gluten (wheat flour)
  • May contain an ingredient that is derived from a gluten ingredient but has been processed to remove gluten as long as the food product contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
  • And unavoidable gluten in the food due to cross-contact or cross-contamination is less than 20 ppm of gluten. This is widely considered a small enough amount to not be harmful to those with celiac disease.
  • All manufacturers must comply to these standards by August 5th, 2014

This means that you will no longer be able to label food products with the FDA’s gluten-free label unless your product follows these rules.

This is an unverified image of the FDA’s gluten-free label. The official label design has not yet been released.


What it means for your business

This means that gluten free will no longer be loosely regulated and used as simply a way for manufacturers to market their product. Truly gluten-free products will be the only ones that can be certified to protect those that are allergic or intolerant of the ingredient.

This is great information if your health food store carries gluten-free product. You will now be able to confidently sell the FDA certified product to your customers without fear of an allergic reaction.

As a bakery owner if you are looking to be certified as a gluten-free establishment you’ll need to exceed the federal standards. Small business owners that are looking to be certified as gluten-free will look to the Gluten Free Certification Organization for certification and gluten-free listing which goes a step further than federal standards.

GFCO gluten-free label


GFCO Requirements for Bakeries and Restaurants

Tu-lu’s Gluten- Free Bakery out of New York with two more locations in Dallas
  • Once gluten-free application is sent and a price quote is received the GFCO sends an auditor to the establishment to evaluate how the facility shares it’s space, uses and stores it’s ingredients, where ingredients are coming from and what the operations are within the business space.
  • Standards for gluten free baking include: dual-use sections of the kitchen (one for gluten, one without,) thoroughly washed stations, machinery, and equipment along with wiped down surfaces.  According to the GFCO gluten particles can stay floating in the air for up to 24 hours after gluten-containing production which means thorough and strict cleaning measures are observed.
  • Gluten-free testing results must be submitted to the GFCO and all of them must be below 10 ppm.



Sources: celiaccentral.org



How to Market Your Bakery: Doing Your Marketing Research (Part 2 of 10)

Now in this second post we are going to find out how marketing research will help your business. Conducting marketing research is important because it targets your customers specific needs at your location so you can focus your marketing and not waste capital on things that won’t work.


First off, lets separate marketing research into two categories. There’s primary research and secondary research. Primary research is research is research that you conduct yourself while secondary is research you gather from another source that has already been done such as on the internet or from a marketing research company. Since secondary research is widely available online cheaply through related industry blogs, google news, and marketing blogs we are going to focus on doing your own primary research that focuses on your bakery location.


Conducting primary research for your marketing campaign:


There’s a few things you’ll need to utilize this series. I imagine you have all the following, but I’ll just make a little inventory list for you.


1. Your Bakery

2. Customers

3. A Point of Sale System

4. Inventory


Okay, great now that you’ve got these items all arranged, we can begin the exciting trek of strategizing marketing campaigns.


Some examples of research would be: determine your customer average demographic, your nearby competition, and what nearby businesses you may want to partner with or work with.


Research methods for these options:


What should you research? This park takes a little bit of detective work; how about some examples:

1. Make a questionnaire: Ask a few questions you think your customers might answer that could help your sales.


Offer them an incentive to filling it out, for example $5.00 coupon. Give them the questionnaire after they have placed their order. – Congratulations that’s your first campaign, this method builds some loyalty, your customers now have to come back to get their discount.


How to:

So then you have a few questions. How do you make a questionnaire? And who wants to print out all that paper and enter in the results later. Fortunately there’s quite a few sites now that help you make questionnaires, track the information and export it out to useable spreadsheets.


You could even import some of your info back into your point of sale, depending on your data and it’s capabilities. One site we have used is www.surveymonkey.com You could do a quick google search for survey’s to look at other survey help websites.


2. Add a loyalty program: Keep it simple and keep the method simple for it. By keeping track of your customers you can see their habits. If you don’t have a POS System that can handle loyalty, you can try punch cards, or consider getting a POS System, they are invaluable to your operation.


3. Your Credit Card Sales act as a loyalty program. Even though you don’t store all of your credit card numbers, you can group the last four digits and the first four, plus the expiration date and potentially the customers name from the card, to make a report that shows a reasonable view of what returning customers are spending on average, items they are buying, how often they buy and maybe what days of the week they come in. This is where a POS System really comes in handy.


Going back to the previous post, over time you may obtain research that may contradict parts of your current Bakery Marketing Plan if you have already taken a crack at laying one out. Don’t fret! Just go back and make proper adjustments. Gathering more research will only help you fine tune your analysis and marketing strategy and may even alter your ultimate goal. But, that’s a good thing because you are working with a clearer picture, which means you are better on track for success!




How to Market Your Bakery: Simplifying the Plans and Strategies (Part 1 of 10)

Where do I start in Marketing my Bakery?

In order to increase the success of your shop, some attention needs to be paid to your marketing strategy.This can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing but I’m going to try and break it down and demystify the process for you. A marketing strategy is a process or plan that your business can use to concentrate it’s money and divide it among opportunities to increase sales/ achieve an advantage in the marketplace. What this means is that by taking some time to determine and plan what ways you will be attracting customers to your new cafe, you will see increased returns to your profit margin. Here are a few things to consider when figuring out your marketing strategy:

1. Mission Statement: A mission statement defines the goals and values of your business. This clearly illustrates your ultimate goal, for your customers yes, but mostly for you. Referring back to your mission statement frequently insures a clear and concise direction for your business to constantly be working towards and improving upon itself. In writing terms, a mission statement is like your thesis: make sure it’s clear and all of the following business decisions and practices are reflective of the mission statement. Some examples of strong mission statements are:

  • “We want our customers to enjoy the best beignets around, and most fresh cup of organic coffee possible. We make it our job for our customers to leave our bakery feeling like they had an experience, not just a standard transaction.“ -Cafe Tourane http://www.cafetourane.com/
  • ”To maintain a Facebook business page of 5,000 individuals by the end of its third year as a sign of its community and to become profitable in its second year.”

2. Situation Analysis: a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. These consider all of the obstacles and how to overcome them when achieving a business goal.

  • Strengths are characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others. For example: Customer Service, central location, great visibility.
  • Weaknesses are characteristics that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others. For example: No online presence, limited product selection, minimal advertising.
  • Opportunities are elements that the project could exploit to its advantage. For example: social media, advertising, promotional item demos, loyalty programs.
  • Threats are elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project. For example: restrictive licensing laws, local competitors, downward economy.

3. Marketing Strategy: This is the meat of the operation. You take your intended goal (mission statement) consider your obstacles and opportunities (situation analysis) and create a plan in which to achieve said goal.

  • For example: overcome your lack of advertising by creating a vibrant and exciting facebook profile in order to achieve the goal of accruing 5,000 facebook likes by your third year.

4. Budgets: This is a plan for your allocation of money to meet your objectives without breaking the bank. Make decisions on what will help you achieve your goals by within your budget. What will work most effectively with your long-term goals in mind. Some short term solutions may be cheaper but more costly and time consuming in the long run.

  • For example: coming up with a loyalty program and implementing it absent mindedly as you go can 1.) be time consuming 2.) inefficient and 3.) could cost you money rather than add to your customer base. If you consider your loyalty program for your bakery ahead of time and integrate it with your point of sale system you will save yourself and your customers time, money and energy; managing points and rewards. This would also help you achieve your customer service goals as well.

5. Performance Analysis: Evaluating your results. Were you successful? What could you have done better? What strategies worked best? How could you make something work more efficiently/effectively? Consider this analysis when tackling your next objectives.


Marketing plans are flexible and should be suited to fit your unique goals and objectives as a bakery owner. Adjust as needed but be sure to follow your plan to success.


Keep reading in the following weeks for some follow-up blog posts on how to specifically market your bakery:

  • social media
  • defining your target market
  • and, search engine optimization tools.







Celebrating Shark Week in Your Cupcake Shop

On the first week of August every year the Discovery Channel rolls out their week long series of television programs and documentaries dedicated to sharks. This week long network event has become a cult phenomenon and is celebrated with shark week inspired viewing parties and events. Have your bakery or cupcake shop join in on the fun by offering some shark week inspired desserts in the case this week.

Decorating ideas:

*Like I said shark week is a cult phenomenon, just searching through the shark week tag on twitter any given night this week you’ll see viewing parties all around the country. Be the premiere bakery in your area offering shark week cupcakes to feed all of the carnivorous fans. Try adding a strawberry jelly center for a shark attack inspired surprise.


*Shark week cookies are the BEST after school surprise


*Shark cake pops are a fun way to act out the thrashing puppet style. Check out this blog post on why to incorporate cake pops into your bakery http://goo.gl/GJgdG0.

*A fun idea for a summer themed wedding that just so happens to fall on shark week:

*Here are some really amazing ideas to get the ideas flowing on your own shark week cake to add to the portfolio. Swedish Fish make great accents for this theme.





Cake Pops: What Are They and How Do I Get in on the Trend?

What are cake pops?

Cake pops began as an internet trend when baking blog “Bakerella” would decorate these sweet treats with a different theme weekly. Her blog quickly became an internet sensation. From there these sweet balls of baked cake mixed with frosting, dipped in icing, and then decorated got this baking blogger her own baking book deal, Cake Pops, that landed on the New York Times bestseller list. In the past couple of years we have seen this sweet treat become a trend in bakeries, cupcake shops and cafes. Even Starbucks sells cake pops in their bakery display case.

Why are cake pops popular?

It’s no wonder that these little balls of sweetness gained popularity, much like the gourmet cupcake boom a couple years back, cake pops fulfilled a need that consumers sought out: versatility. Cake pops can be as diverse as the customer likes. From filling, to flavor, to decorations, to theme, cake pops are customizable to the exact need of the customer. This is especially desirable in event planning.

Birthday parties now can feature character heads on a stick with quick eating and clean up. Weddings now have an option as opposed to cakes that can reflect the colors of the event and the couples favorite flavors. Even corporate events and conferences now can utilize cake pops as a delicious favor with the logo emblazoned on the dessert itself. The possibilities to cake pops are endless and even sweeter are already super popular which gives your bake shop an opportunity to capitalize on the trend.

How can I get in on the cake pop trend?

    Your bakery, cafe, or cupcake shop can incorporate cake pops as much or as little as it wants or as budget permits.

  1. Create your recipe. One of the perks of cake pops in a business perspective is that they give you an opportunity to utilize the ugly/unused batches of cake that would otherwise be wasted. Find a consistency of crumbled baked cake and frosting you like and would like to market in your bake shop. Create your recipes using a sturdier frosting so that the cake balls hold together when they go into the freezer

  2. Practice Decorating. The sometimes tricky part of making cake pops is that decorating them can be more time than you care to invest. Get started and come up with a range of what you can do with a cake pop. Remember the options of decorating are endless. So go crazy buying candies and a decorator’s pen and get to practicing. If you have the time this could be one of the funnest parts. Remember, you can also go really simple and decorate with different colors of sprinkles reflecting the flavor inside. Price point these at around $1.50-$2.50

Decide how intricate you want the cake pop side of your business to be. Some shops might opt to create a couple flavors and have them alongside the cookies and cupcakes in the display case. Incorporating the trend in this way is a great way to utilize the leftover cake while still keeping your bakeshop trendy and providing a quick delicious bite to your customers along with their cappuccinos. Something to consider would be incorporating cake pops into your catering menu. Price point research puts more intricate designs from $2.50-$5.00 a pop (depending on order amount and detailed designs.) Consider a cake pop package plan.


Need some cake pop ideas to get started?

  • Back to school time is coming up. Make a good impression with apple cake pops to share on the first day of class. Perfect for teachers!

Halloween is all about the spooky treats!

  • Say it with cake: Be a part of life’s special moments with baby shower cake pops or even pop the question with them. (pun intended)

  • Have a unique item your bakery or cupcake shop is known for? turn it into a pop for an unconventional personal touch.


Happy Baking!


Super Bowl Cupcakes

San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Celebrate this year’s Super Bowl XLVII with some fun football themed cupcakes!


You could go generic: Chocolate cake and frosting with some simple white frosting stripes down the center. Or maybe some chocolate egg shaped candies on top of some green grass looking frosting and white frosting stitches.

_MG_1266 Super_Bowl_Cupcakes_3


You could go for the cake pops or maybe have fun decorating with fondant!

49ers3  169025792234486749_4oTlw8WU_b



You can do team jerseys with your favorite players numbers, or find some candy letters to spell out your team name!

6694400349_9f30f3a0d0_b Buffett 2010 009 2


How to start a bakery

The 10 important steps to starting a bakery

Here are the First 5! Stay tuned to get the complete set of steps!


1.  Every business needs a plan in order to have your goals and methods to reach those goals laid out. Your Business plan is also important in order to gain interest for potential lenders and investors. A business plan should include the following:

  • Expected Expenses
  • Potential Income
  • Marketing Plan
  • Products and Services
  • Long Term Goals

2. Financial Evaluation is an important as it influences where you get your funding from. For those who don’t have the start up capital already lined up you will need to have good credit. With good credit you can finance a business in a number of ways such as small business loan and credit card. You can also apply for grants including local and federal government grants. A large majority of small businesses are funded by networks that are already in place such as family and friends. Any way you can swing it you will need some start up capital for costs such as putting cash down for the store lease.

3. You want to go into your business venture well prepared, so be sure to research as much as possible. From your local community to competitors to case studies and market trends. You want to remain in the know at all time when running a business. so research is very important, not just in the beginning but throughout the life of your company, which if you research and do it right can be a very long time.

4. Deciding what type of bakery you want to open would be the next step. You may go in with one idea, but after doing all the research you original vision may change. You may want to specialize in a specific item such as cakes or the recently popularized cupcakes, or special breads. You could also offer a wide variety of baked goods depending on your size of operation. This decision also weighs on what you are good at, for example if you have a cake decorating niche then maybe your shop should open a high end cake shop.

5. Once you decide this you can focus on location. Location is important, if you can get a location with visibility and foot traffic, this can save a lot in marketing expenses. When it comes to leasing or purchasing you will want the service of a real estate lawyer and a commercial real estate broker. Have the local health department run a pre-inspection before remodeling or installing a kitchen. Be sure to find out what all the rules and regulation are in your city and state. Some may require permits, so again research is necessary so you can plan accordingly.

How to Make Your Cupcake Business Successful!

Cupcake Business Advice


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There is a reason why they always say, “location, location, location!” It is the element so nice they repeated it thrice. For the cupcake industry things really took off in 2008 and since then the market has become saturated. That is why when it comes to your cupcake store and it’s success, it is important to have an unsaturated location. The other key factor in having a great location for your business is high foot traffic. If this is not possible, it may be wise to move your storefront online.

Having an online cupcake business has proved successful for many small business owners. With this type of business model you can spend less time worrying about the rent and stresses that come along with the property and spend more time focusing on your marketing strategy.

If you are going online it is a good idea to invest in a good website, preferably made by a web designer with SEO experience. You want your site to be clean, efficient and highly searchable. Be sure to have social media icons and accounts as well, especially facebook and Twitter. In fact weather or not you have an online store and actual store front, having a site for online presence and utilizing social media for promotions and increased awareness is a must in today’s world.


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So what else can you do to make sure your cupcake business is a success? When it comes to marketing it is important to remember the 4 P’s; Price, Product, Place and Promotion.

So let’s see, we have touched on Promotion and Place. As for Price it is best to get an idea of what your competitors prices are so you can compete accordingly.

So now let’s talk Product! When it comes to cupcakes the two best ways to differentiate your product is make them taste great and make ‘em fabulous! Decide what kind of cupcakes you want to make and make them your specialty. they could be gourmet, organic, or wedding cupcakes. Use your imagination and try to do something that hasn’t necessarily been done, or isn’t seen everywhere. Then make that your specialty and platform. I have even seen square cupcakes be a hit!


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