Monday, June 28, 2004
We'll bake another batch, and I'll snap photos before they're cool enough to eat. Maybe that way I can post something.
Manager is working with the loan officer today, and has another appointment with the SBA.
Because she's fearful the loans won't be approved because of her age, I've been looking into alternate sources of funding. She's also considered changing the focus somewhat, with stronger expansion plans, just in case, as a fall-back.
She'll still have it as a bakery/coffee shop, just a smaller line of goods, focusing more on what's popular, and what we can popularize sufficiently.
After looking things over, she had a lot of menu items that wouldn't sell in sufficient quantities early on to justify the man-hours and power needed to make them - or the special equipment. They'd be great to add in as we expand, though.
She'll present, of course, the ideal she wants, and we'll use this reduced model as the fall-back position.
With either scenario, she can afford the location at the old Classen Circle. Personally, I think with just good coffee, pastries, and bread, she'll be showing a slight profit within the first 3 months, and as she expands her line of yummies, that profit will only grow. I wouldn't be so positive about any other location we've looked at. They've been too run down, or were located on one way streets with low traffic, or were hard to find, even if they were cheap. Investing in a good location will pay off far more than almost anything else she could do.
Of course, once she has that location, she needs to provide not just great coffee and bread and pastries, but a happy epxerience.
I think our marketing strategy will revolve around "small indulgence" - "you've been good today, you deserve a little reward" or "you've had a rough day, stop by for a small pick-me-up."
Did you know 97% of American households buy bread every week? That's a pretty hefty sized market to tap into, on just a loacl basis.
Did you know that day old bakeries are now selling their white bread at 89¢ a loaf - and we can make and sell a sandwich loaf of wheat or white for 75¢ and still make a (small) profit? Once they come into the bakery for the 75¢ loaf, they'll want a coffee to go, and maybe a pastry to go with that coffee. We'll build up a core of regulars whom we'll woo with excellent service and lagniappe, we'll appeal to women through our charity project, we'll appeal to college and high school students with the music and pastries, we'll appeal to the arts crowd with outstanding coffees, commission art, and pastries, we'll appeal to the harried after-work people looking for a comforting break between office and home (and who will buy a loaf of bread to go with their dinner), we'll appeal to small special interest groups because we'll have a nice meeting space.
What's not to like about it?
Some restaurants have small bakeries in them, mostly for desserts and rolls. There are a couple of small tearooms that offer baked on the premises pastries with their tea and antiques. There's Brown's (a classic), and Ingrid's. Other than franchises and chains, that's it. This city is large enough to be able to support more bakeries than that.
I spoke over the weekend with some local dairy farms and chicken farms about supplies for the bakery. They were enthusiastic about supporting a business that bought local. Apparently the other bakeries have to buy from their distributors and can't buy locally produced milk, eggs, cheese, cream, and the like. We can, and that could be a strong marketing point.