3 Tips for Launching a Successful Dessert Cafe

Ever wanted to get dessert in the same spot Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan did in the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail? According to DNA Info, your chance might be closing: the dessert bar known as Cafe Lalo may be closing soon if things don’t turn around.

Although the owner did not respond to a request for comments, the online NY-based paper reports that Community Board 7 was informed that the business is not doing too well, and the shop may need to close. Adding to the issue is the late night hours and European-style windows that encourage sound to travel; local neighbors have been complaining about music and loud customers as of late.

If you’re planning on opening a dessert cafe, keep in mind that it takes more than a dream and a love of frosting to make things happen. Successful cafes have sound business plans, good locations, custom dessert supplies, and an ability to innovate depending on consumer demand. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Understand the Basics of Business
There’s more to running a bakery than sticking a price tag on a cupcake based on what sounds right. You need to know the cost of overhead -- everything from running the oven to the price of flour. You need to know how to pay appropriate taxes for your small business in order to avoid an audit, and you need to keep track of local health laws so that your bakery stays in compliance. You’re also going to need marketing funds. You can’t rely on just a Facebook page to propel you forward when every other local business is doing the same. About 50% of small businesses don’t survive past their first year, and in many cases, this is because people did not enter their trade conscious of the elements of business.

2. Have a Wide Variety of Treats
While the U.S. will consume about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream each year, it’s safe to say that this product is most popular in the summer time (and in fact, more ice cream is produced in June than in any other month). It’s a good idea to sell a variety of desserts, so that you aren’t stuck with lull periods. It’s good to sell ice cream and frozen yogurt, because they're both simple to serve and do well for many months of the year (90% of people eat one or the other regularly!). It’s also good to familiarize yourself with catering, as many local businesses will order cakes and cupcakes, which can help fill in the gaps if your storefront business is slow.

3. Make it a Custom Dessert Supplies Experience
Have you ever been walking down a hot street on a summer day, seen someone eating ice cream, and wondered, “Where did they get that?” Custom printed ice cream cups and other custom dessert supplies can serve as a quick advertisement for your company, and also helps customers feel like they are getting a quality product. Custom printing can be used for frozen yogurt and gelato cups as well.

Cafe Lalo may not see it to 2017, but on the bright side, many famous local bakeries and dessert cafes are still going strong. If you want your bakery to climb the ranks, keep these tips in mind for a successful business experience.

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