Business Sense


By June 13, 2016No Comments


Dessert is standing up for itself now and that single scoop of ice-cream or pudding to close the meal has now become more than an after thought. It is considered par t of our eating culture and we’ll say “let’s go for cake”in the same vein as we do dinner. This shift towards dessert business could also be spurred by the changing face of restaurant operations. Todd Kliman wrote “Why DC Restaurants No Longer Care About Desserts”, saying operators are simplifying desserts or not offering them at all. One of the reasons to do so according to an owner Kliman interviewed was “To have a good pastry program, you need a designated area of the kitchen, you need a place to store the ingredients. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant has become the 7,000-square-foot restaurant. Everything’s smaller now. There isn’t the space”.


Physical space aside, there is also the cost of a pastry chef’s expertise. You might be a mid-range restaurant and can offer a three-course meal but if you are catering to the mass audience with a budget cap they would not be expecting a Tiramisu or macaron to end the meal. However, to stay to the big picture, restaurateurs still provide dessert but many have opted for pre-mixes as they are easy to prepare. Or outsource from independent suppliers who tend to offer more unique products hence enabling the restaurant to capture more audience at better prices without the cost of operating a pastry / dessert kitchen.

Both reasons, from a consumer perspective and also the business landscape have been compelling enough to motivate entrepreneurs to take the bold step of star ting desserts-only businesses. One of the promising factors in this segment is the ability to scale according to the capacity you have and depending on what you sell, you don’t have to need much to star t off. Among the possible avenues for business include:

A feasible way to star t in a shopping mall as kiosks are compact, easy-to-manage and will not be confined to the building’s construction requirements. If you’re just starting out, a kiosk will be a considerable investment as you will be able to keep overheads lower. However, product offerings might be limited to items that can be prepared in advance and stored without complex equipment. Good for to-go products like ice-cream, tarts (displayed in a glass warmer) or food that can be eaten at room temperature.

This is a flexible option as you can set up stall anywhere for a short term or also known as flash retailing (of course checking with the proper ty owner or local council). Maybe you only want to sell your special dessert on a leisurely basis or adopt this approach as an extension of your brickand-mor tar shop and reach a greater audience. Challenges in this area would be licenses as some countries do not have clear guidelines. If you need to cook to a certain extent, consider space limitations or weather conditions. Bazaars, festivals and events are ideal places for you to showcase your creations via this vehicle.

For entrepreneurs with a wide array of ideas; having a shop allows you space for equipment and workspace as well as offering an environment suitable for customers to spend time sharing a plate of well-crafted dessert. Cafes tend to exude a casual vibe thus the menu is usually along similar lines and popular examples are pancakes, crepes, waffles that are homey and offer the fun element of customisation. Bright, cheer y and a convivial atmosphere is what cafes like these go for. Perhaps consider a location within the vicinity of a commercial hub frequented by young working adults or students. They are the customers attracted to places like these because why not chill out and share a dessert after a day of work, studies or even shopping?

A great option for specialised food items that do not require any cooking and where investments and overheads are kept low with a basic hot or cold storage vessel. Think of the ice-cream man riding his bicycle / motorcycle ringing the ice- cream bell on the streets or by the beach. Simple joys! This evokes nostalgia in the hear ts of many and with the help of social media, savvy entrepreneurs can update fans on their daily whereabouts.

Some may call it a dessert bar where sweets take centre stage; every piece on the plate carefully thought out. Think of it almost like fine dining on cakes. Establishments of this nature price their items a little higher due to the effort in sourcing unique ingredients, out-of-the-box ideas and technique in preparation together with high level of service to complete the experience. According to Chef Janice Wong of 2amdessertbar, to run a dessert bar of this level requires education in terms of helping customers understand the big picture; from the origins of the ingredient all the way to the tableware (if possible!). Read on for more of Chef Janice’s experience in running her dessert business. Some fine dining restaurants may also offer a dessert degustation menu paired with wine or propose an experience that will excite all your senses such as ATUM Desserant’s offering.

Perhaps one of the best things about the dessert segment is turning your hobby into business by being a supplier to other independent outfits who choose to focus on other areas but would still like to allocate a small dessert menu to customers. This allows you to learn how to manage consistency, expectations of customers, balance the time you have and the capacity of your production line. However, some shops who take supplies from home businesses might prefer not to tell their customers they didn’t make them therefore you should state your terms and conditions beforehand.As you can see, this segment is vast in possibilities and whichever under taking you select will come with its own set of requirements. Therefore, we have inter viewed some businesses that would come closest to these descriptions so that you can glean some insights to the world of desserts.