I am starting a specialty dessert business and plan to sell to restaurants and caterers, primarily in the NYC area. I have spent the last couple of years perfecting recipes & techniques, sourcing ingredients, costing, learning how to produce in volume, etc. I am now ready to start marketing to restaurants and caterers. The problem is that I have no prior restaurant experience and limited sales experience, so I am not sure how best to approach them.
My current plan is to make up some samples and to visit my target restaurants at non-peak hours, and ask to speak with the person who is in charge of food purchasing. I am confident in my product and happy to tell "the story" behind it. But I am less certain when it comes to pricing.
My understanding is that most restaurants try to keep food costs at about 27%-30%. The restaurants i hope to sell to typically price their desserts on their menu between $7-$9.
With all that in mind, a few questions:
1) I imagine I would need to keep my price to them at around $2.50 per serving. Does that seem within reason or way off base?
2) Should I come in with set pricing? Or would it be better to offer an "introductory" price to hook them more easily?
3) I have considered another approach, which would be to come with a free box of 24 or 48 servings, tell the chef I am just starting out and ask if they would consider trying them on the menu to see how they sell. If they go over well, perhaps the chef would be convinced to put them on the menu permanently. Thoughts on this approach?
I have done a fair bit of anecdotal research but am looking for as much info as possible before I actually start knocking on doors to sell. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have!