Logistics of starting "healthy" dessert delivery business?

Discussion in 'Starting a Business' started by BurgessBaking, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. BurgessBaking

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    Mar 12, 2014
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    It has been my mother's life-long dream to open her own bakery. I have a Business Management/Entrepreneurship degree and I am a new mom so looking for another option besides the 9-5 grind. I know that being a business owner is often a lot more hours than 40/wk, but I would like to partially work from home instead of 40 hours out of the home. She is a cancer survivor and we are both interested in healthy eating but have a lot of love for desserts. Mom works 40+ hours/wk plus 10 hours of commuting and makes a very small salary. She has been looking to leave her job but needs to have a "purpose" and something she can contribute to. Her husband is the main bread winner of their household, and she has insurance options through him. I have my insurance through the Military.

    I am fortunate to live in a town surrounded by VERY affluent neighborhoods ($1-4 million dollar homes); health food, specialty and high-end food stores thrive here. Also, there is a local commercial kitchen that rents out space for about $20/hr. I did a detailed search and can't find any local delivery options for healthy, "homemade" desserts. I would have been interested in running the business from my home, but I wouldn't be allowed to sell to the public. Our home kitchen isn't equipped to pass an inspection by the Health Department. [We live in a suburb of Chicago (within 5 miles of city limits)]

    Besides my degree, I also have a background in advertising and graphic design, so I could cover the bases as far as web design and media for the business.

    ***Please fill in the blanks of things I may be missing. I need to try to realize all risks and requirements to decide if this is a feasible business idea or not***

    Required to use commercial kitchen: business license, insurance, recipes, ingredients (what type of business should it be...?)

    Required to start taking orders: menu/website, pictures of desserts, printed ingredient lists, business paypal account, quikbooks software?

    Required to start making deliveries: vehicle (have), packaging

    If I can convince my husband that this is a worthwhile endeavor, I will most likely have up to $1500 of start up cash to use. I plan to use a social media approach to advertising, as well as advertisement in local businesses and print media. The short-term goal of the business since there are barely any $ heavy investments I need to make would be $1000 profit per employee per month, and then to expand from there. The goal of the business is to supply "homemade" gluten-free, low-sugar, fat-free as well as low-calorie options for local delivery. I initially plan to offer delivery once per week, which means that we would most likely need to rent a kitchen for about 8 hours overnight and then deliver the next day.

    The plan would be to offer a subscription service; I worked for an organic grocer and they had a wonderful one. I would charge the customers once a month, at the rate of $15/wk delivery included for weekly deliveries of 12 servings of desserts (for example). I know there is a demand for these types of desserts; I had someone say to me that "people who eat dessert don't care how many calories it has." I disagree, because it might be that they don't know there are healthier options. For example, I make awesome Black Bean Brownies that are less than half the calories of other brownies and really fudgey and delicious. Also, many people are starting to avoid gluten and processed sugars, and if you can even find these baked good in grocery stores they are expensive and you don't have the luxury of delivery.

    Lastly, the popularity of delivery boxes in the mail has exploded recently (i.e. BarkBox, Graze, NatureBox). The benefit of my service would be delicious bakery-quality, fresh items. They could choose their favorites, get a variety pack, etc. These fresh items you can't get in a box in the mail without paying sky-high prices....like really sky high for refrigerated and over night shipping. I am hoping to keep delivery costs low by sticking to a 10 mile radius or something. Also, can I claim those miles on my taxes...?

    Any information you could add/share as well as possible pitfalls would be greatly appreciated!!
  2. Changed Creation

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    Sep 3, 2013
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    Hi BurgressBaking
    My mentor would advice you to do a small little trial run so that you can test the waters to gauge what the real interest would be for what you are planning to offer. Many times we go about starting a business offering something we think people would like, without first making real effort, before you spend a dime, to determine what exactly people would want. Is there a real market for what you want to do, what will they be willing to pay for it, will what it generates, be worth your time, effort and money... You already have though about quite a bit of the logistics, so how about writing a small little advert on just one of two maybe 3 options and ask your neighbors (not direct friends or family-they want to please you and you'll get wrong feedback!) and other people close by. Tell them that you are contemplating xxx and if they would be interested in buying xxx and what they would pay for xxx. And if you added xxx and if it was the best xxx around what would they be willing to pay? Get them on a list and keep refining your questions until you have a better idea of what people would actually part money for. Then go back to those on your list and make them a first offer and see if they want to buy. Test drive and tweek this marketing message till you get a good result with your message. As soon as you really know this idea works because people have actually bought, then you know you are in business and you can roll out.

    So start by talking, figuring out exactly what people would prefer, what they will spend, doing all of this using your effort and contacts and resources, but NO money. Remember this is just an idee. See if you can sell the idea without the product, and if you can , then you know you can go physical! But then you are at the next stage of starting the business, and your foundation is laid!

    Hope this helps!

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