Wednesday, April 21, 2004
We discovered a company that will provide a bundled package of all the basic equipment for the beverage portion of the bakery at a substantial savings - we're talking $40,000.00 in savings.
Being able to also purchase the most expensive equipment on a lease/purchase option spread out over 4 years will also majorly reduce our initial opening expenses.
These two pieces of information have made the opening the bakery suddenly far less burdensome.
At this point, it looks as if our major expenses will be 1) the decorating. Until we know which of the several places we're looking at will be the winner, we won't know precisely what the redecorating costs will be. But - we know this lovely little second hand shop that offers good quality display cases, shelving, tables, and chairs at outstandingly low prices.
2) Wages. Yeah. No getting around this. Most of our employees will be part-timers, which reduces the expenses somewhat. That's counterbalanced by the fees we'll be paying an attorney and an outside accounting firm to help us keep our books straight and help us with taxes and such. The day-to-day bookkeeping can be done by Manager - who has not only taken classes in business accounting and bookkeeping, but understands them.
3) Initial stocking, especially of consumables and perishables. We have been collecting the "little" things - cookie cutters, rolling pins, pots, pans, cookie sheets, zesters, graters, grinders, basters, mixing bowls, and the like for a while and have most of what's needed. We do have a few small gaps which won't be terribly expensive to fill. After that, we have the storage containers for the bulk ingredients we'll be using, and the ingredients themselves.
It's nice to see how the finances are coming together to make this happen.
With our ability to make the Cracked Cauldron a place people will want to visit, a place they'll leave happy, and with a product that will bring them back, and a decent financial backing to get it off the ground, this will be a good little shop.
We're not expecting to rival Panera's in our first year, perhaps not even in our tenth year. But we should have the profit and staying power of Brown's or Ingrid's or La Baguette's.
On another bright note - Galileo's, a local bar that used to have Open Mike Night has started them back up. People want to have light local entertainment, and they want to be able to get up and show off some themselves. And not necessarily always in a bar situation.
We offer several things that are unique, and the combinations should, with skill and good marketing, make us successful: 1) there is a very limited number of places the employees of the call centers can go to for "lunch" at 10:00 p.m. and we will be one of them, 2) our foods are quick to get when ordered - a plus for those on a tight time schedule - even if they did take hours (and in some cases, days) in the making, 3) we'll have fresh bread ready when people get off work so they can buy loaves to take home for their dinner instead of getting whatever's left over from bakeries that complete their day's baking by 11:00 a.m.
With an alluring line of goodies to pass to reach the order station, entertainment to keep customers happily in the shop (and buying more coffees and pastries), meeting specials, and catering, as well as the convenience of quick ordering via phone or email, quick pick-ups, a friendly and attentive staff, we have the elements of a great business. All we have to do is carry through, have contingency plans for those inevitable emergencies and slight downturns, and we should be able to not only pay back our opening loans with alacrity, but even start showing a real profit by the third year.
Since we'll be opening in an election year, we will naturally take advantage of the extra sales opportunities - donkey and elephant and flag cakes and cookies!
This is a good time to be doing this.
The timing's right, the rebound from the low-carb diets will be gaining strength by then, with the season and the election, it all looks good.