Dessert bars offer diners a chance to focus on the sweet treat instead of the main savory meal. They are often a place where customers come to hang out, chat and spend quality time together. Be sure to have a solid business strategy so you can capitalize on the market while meeting your customers’ needs.
Choose Your Dessert Bar Business Structure
Carefully consider which legal structure you will choose for your dessert bar. This will depend on what kind of business you’re opening, how many partners you have and what kind of investment you require.
Common restaurant business structures include sole proprietorship, partnerships, LLCs, C corps and S corps. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website to get the details on which structure is right for you and how you can file it officially.
Get the Right Licenses and Inspections
You will need to get the appropriate federal, state, city and county licenses for your dessert bar. If you’re going to be selling alcohol, for example, you will need a federal license. However, the state will regulate the licenses and permits you will need to run a restaurant. Visit your local small business administration office or state office to acquire your licenses.
Health and safety is an important element to consider when selling food. You may need to pass a food health and safety inspection by your state to ensure that you’re abiding by all the regulations. You and your staff will need to be trained on food safety procedures as well.
Write a Thoughtful Business Plan
A business plan will help you to acquire the funding you need for your capital investment and initial operating expenses. It will also help you to establish a comprehensive business strategy. Be sure to research and include the following in your business plan:
- Company overview
- Market and industry analysis
- Customer analysis
- Product and service offerings
- Operational plan
- Marketing plan
- Financial projections
Focus on the Menu When Opening a Dessert Bar
One of the most important elements to consider when opening a dessert bar is what you’re going to serve. This will depend on what your target market wants, where you’re located and your business goals.
Are you going to serve different styles of one kind of product, like a cheesecake bar, for example? Will you offer many different desserts on the menu? Consider if you will offer savory options for customers who don’t have a sweet tooth. Don’t forget to consider caffeinated beverages, juices, cocktails, beer and wine.
Be sure to consider the competitive landscape so that you can ensure your dessert bar stands out as unique. This will help attract more customers, and it will enable you to market your business more effectively.
Pick the Perfect Location
The location of your brick-and-mortar dessert bar is important because you want to be conveniently located for your customers. Consider if there are restaurants within walking distance so customers can venture over after having a dinner out. Also take a look at the building itself and whether it has the elements you need in a professional kitchen and restaurant.
Your location will also determine other sales channels you can utilize to increase your revenue. For example, will you partner with nearby businesses to supply your desserts to them to sell? Will you partner with mobile app delivery services so your customers can enjoy your desserts in the comfort of their home?
Source Your Ingredients
The kind of desserts you serve at your dessert bar will inform the kind of ingredients you need. Will you be making all items from scratch, or will you be ordering frozen desserts from suppliers? Do your customers care about whether you use high-quality local ingredients, or do they want low-cost and simple desserts?
When figuring out which vendors and suppliers to use for your dessert bar, take a look at their wholesale prices, payment terms and credit policies. If you’re working with local farmers, make sure there is a system in place for delivering your ingredients to your location when you need them.
Hire the Right Staff
When opening a dessert bar, your chefs, culinary staff and front-of-house staff are of the utmost importance. Your chef in particular needs to have the experience needed to run a dessert bar kitchen. The servers, bartenders and other staff will be tasked with meeting your customers’ needs, so it’s important to hire people who understand the importance of the customer experience.
- Profitable Venture: A Sample Dessert Bar Business Plan Template
- Frozen Dessert Supplies: 3 Tips for Launching a Successful Dessert Cafe
- Shopkeep: Starting a Food Business Checklist: What You Need to Know
- Webstaurant Store: Types of Restaurant Ownership Structures
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Apply for Licenses and Permits
- Never re-use any food items which have been out on your dessert bar after your lunch or dinner meal time. Throw out all that remains to prevent cross-contaminating your other food stock or spreading any possible germs to the next group of customers at the next meal time. With this in mind, keep only small amounts of food and condiments on your table at any given time, checking for needed refills regularly, perhaps once every fifteen minutes during your busiest times. This will assist you in reducing the amount of waste generated, which will save you money over the long term.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.