It's time to think outside the box. Most baking businesses are hurting because gatherings like weddings and celebration parties have been canceled. However, there are ways to boost your baking business, all while being safe and spreading joy. A few weeks ago we documented our customer Butter And's success story by offering Quarantine Cakes; smaller cakes delivered to loved ones in quarantine to say "I love you", "I miss you", or "Wash your hands". Butter And's orders skyrocketed and they had the busiest week in the history of the business. Now we're happy to share another success story with you, but first an idea from our own employee Patrick. He has worked as our Shipping Manager for years, and has a history of entrepreneurship. Patrick often comes up with some of our best marketing ideas, and now he has thought of a brilliant one for the baking community. His idea is to offer Hero Cakes. These cakes are for your clients to buy for essential workers to thank them for their work, even if they don't know them. Your clients can buy a cake, cupcake, or dozen cookies from you to be delivered to a hero in their lives, or to be delivered to their local hospital, fire department, EMT headquarters, etc... People want to share their gratitude for first responders and essential workers, but might not know how. Offering Hero Cakes is a fantastic way to help share the love.
Now let's talk about what Two Fat Cookies in Delray, FL is doing to give back and boost business at the same time. Two Fat Cookies is a family run business of mom & daughter Pastry Chefs, and father & son Chefs. They've been our customer for a few years, and we've been lucky enough to form a friendship with Zoey, the daughter. We heard that the business was doing well, even in this pandemic, so we contacted Zoey to ask her to share tips to help struggling bakeries.
There were definitely moments of panic for Zoey and her team when the news started coming that gatherings were canceled. She thought they'd have to lay off some of the bakery staff and potentially close for a period of time. Two Fat Cookies fully refunded the custom cakes and desserts that had been booked for events that were now canceled. However, instead of admitting defeat, Zoey's brain went into creativity mode. She says "A lot of the ideas kind of just manifested on their own and fairly quickly! We weren’t sure what type of response we would get, but we had to give it a shot!". The first idea was Toilet Paper Cupcakes. That first week when finding toilet paper was like diamond mining, we knew we had to make a joke of it. I immediately went to the store, found jumbo marshmallows, turned them into toilet paper rolls, and that’s when the "Non-Essential Toilet Paper" cupcake was released! They flew off the shelves and we couldn’t believe the response on social media! Here a couple more of their winning ideas. The photos were posted on social media by Two Fat Cookies' customers.
"We realized that people wanted to laugh and be entertained, so we asked ourselves 'what could we as a business offer?’ With nothing to do, people were spending more time than usual on social media and responding to what we were doing. We could see that parents were looking for activities for their kids."
This sparked another idea! Two Fat Cookies introduced cookie baking kits and cookie decorating kits. The response from their customers was wonderful! What's better than spending creative time with your kids and then being able to eat a delicious treat? The Two Fat Cookies team now creates weekly themed cookie decorating kits based on the plethora of different cookie cutters they have. The cookie decorating kits were such a success that customers started requesting cupcake decorating kits too! And most recently, they launched cake decorating kits! Zoey says they "want to keep introducing different ideas and themes so kids don’t get bored with the same thing.". They have many customers who buy a new cookie decorating kit each week. The Two Fat Cookies team is constantly brainstorming. Zoey hopes to introduce a few new packages so monumental events like prom and graduation are still commemorated even if the events aren’t taking place!
Social media has been a great resource for Two Fat Cookies. Zoey posts something on the business's instagram and facebook at least once day. That's where a lot of the original decorating kit customers came from, and then social media amplifies the sales. The kits that they're offering are inherently "instagrammable". Their customers take photos and videos of their kids using the decorating kits. They then share on social media and tag @twofatcookies. This drives new business because other people see how much fun kids are having using the decorating kits. Business has also come from neighbors seeing the kits delivered and wanting to know what they are. They partnered with Delivery Dudes for delivery orders. There has been such a buzz about the offerings at Two Fat Cookies that they were even interviewed by their local CBS news station.
Two Fat Cookies is just as busy as they were at this time last year. Zoey says that there is a difference between last year and this one though. Instead of creating higher priced custom designs like they were last year, they're now creating a larger quanity of lower priced items. In essence, the elaborate tiered wedding cakes are replaced with cookie kits, themed cupcakes, and smaller items.
Two Fat Cookies is showing their gratitude by giving back to the community. They created a Health Heroes Cookie Decorating Kit, in which 19% of the sales is donated towards breakfast and lunch items to be delivered to local healthcare heroes. Two Fat Cookies also has a culinary side of their business that was launched in September. When they heard that schools were closing and children who rely on school lunches wouln't be getting them, they started a value meal program to give back to the community. Two Fat Cookies also created full dinner menu offerings for holidays like Passover and Mother's Day. They recently joined a Facebook group called the Socially Distanced Supper Club. Zoey calls it "an amazing forum for local restaurants.".
Two Fat Cookies is cleaned top to bottom everyday multiple times a day no matter what. In the bakeshop, they are constantly wiping down anything that a customer has the potential to touch with anti bacterial wipes, like credit card portals, door handles, etc... As per city ordinance, all staff and customers are required to wear face masks while inside the bakeshop or at the breakfast walk up window. The team even measured out and marked standing spots for customers to keep the required 6ft apart while on the premises.
Advice for Baking Businesses
Here are Zoey's words of wisdom for bakery businesses that might be suffering right now:
A lot of businesses can really pivot from this! You have to remember what you do well, and think about what people want. What would you want if you were on the other side of this? When things are tough, people always want things that make them feel good. If you can tap into that, and figure out what you can do to provide it, you’ll get a response! Of course, you may have to switch things up and think on your toes, but if you started a business to begin with, this is something you can definitely do! Use social media, reach out to the news or your local chamber of commerce! Talk to friends who live in neighborhoods that have a lot of kids and see if they would be interested in a decorating kit that you could deliver to everyone in one day to make it easier. Just remember that it’s so incredibly important to maintain the highest levels of sanitation that have always been required prior to Covid-19, and to implement any new practices that are required according to your city's ordinances.
We hope that some of Zoey's ideas for Two Fat Cookies gave you inspiration for your own business. To follow along on Two Fat Cookies journey, find them on social media:
Facebook: Two Fat Cookies
All of us at CakeSafe are also here for you. If you need someone to talk to or bounce ideas off of, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wishing you success, health, and happiness.