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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have many questions, but I'd like to keep things simple and start with only a couple.

I'm trying to understand what chefs and owners need in the way of desserts in hopes of finding a niche for me to fill in my own pastry business.

Besides asking that general question I'm also hoping you might be able to answer some specific questions I have or I should say I'm seeking your experienced opinion and guidance....

Would you consider hiring in for a day a pastry consultant to help teach a couple SIMPLE (yet intimadating looking) garnishes to you or someone on your staff that's responsible for your dessert plating? If the consultant came to your business, targeted 'dressing-up' and or simplifing YOUR dessert menu would you buy that service? If so, what would you pay for a day that included providing recipes with the techniques being taught?

If your manager approached you and asked if you wanted this type of input, would you?


Do your managers make most decisions on where you should purchase pastries and what you should offer, or are you free to make all your own dessert decissions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understood what you meant about the guy with the sugar?

$75.00 and hour, I was thinking that $150 for the day would be pushing it. This wouldn't be much of an idea unless it appealed to many restaurants (maybe even a few small bakeries) not just the top places who aren't scared to hire in consultants.


I don't believe you can evaluate the situation, teach someone or several people how to work a new recipe, demo how and (then the most important part) be sure the person learning really understands how to repeat what they've learned in less then 1 full day.

This is just a simple idea I have, more of a supplimental income to what I really have in mind. Since their will only be so many buyers with-in my selling area I don't see this as a long term money making opportunity, but it could be a nice way to build future customers.

Back to my core question: Is there any need you don't see being filled (as far as available pastries)? Just something simple or a simple grip, what can't you buy in or teach you staff to make that would easy your job or increase your pastry sales?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well that sounds like a lead/idea to think about: teach simple desserts that come in under $2.00 a portion and look great. There's tons of desserts that can fill that description.

Where can I find figures that show me averages on overhead, labor etc... so I could cost desserts out using 'established' numbers? This info. must be in one of the NRA magazines right? Pastry Art and design just published their annual state of the industry issue so I can get some numbers there on what's already happening. Which publication and which month will I find this info on restaurants?

Although I would be open if something like this did work out for me full time. At this moment I think of this as a slow sesson source of income. Which leads me to my next question.

When's the best time to approach different types of restaurant businesses?

For instance: At clubs June thru November are too busy. Their best to approach in Winter....Jan. thru opening day.

Caterers are much like clubs and are too busy Jun to Jan. So I wouldn't approach them until mid. Jan to May.

Restaurants? When?

B & B's?

Other businesses...?

P.S. Thank you, great ideas! There actually is a baking book that shows comparisions updating presentations "Neo Classical Desserts" (which is too advanced for non-pastry) but I know exactly what you mean.

I was thinking it would be neat to come in a week or two before a scheduled 'sesson' and photograph their desserts plated as is. Then come back with 3 plating opt. per dessert drawn out (I'm an artist too so that's cheap for me) then let them pick which desgin they like. Demo that. Spend the rest of my time making sure they can do it with-out me. Photograph the new look for their and my records.
I never thought about larger groups....

I think it's important to work their enviroment, for customer satisfaction I have to know if theirs a problem in their ovens or sheet pans that would prevent their person from suceeding. (As a caterer) I saw how much equpiment varies, also varies in accuracy. For instance bakers dial down 25 to 50 degrees when using convection ovens because the fan speeds up the baking. You also have to weight down parchment edges if your fan moves air too much....
You also can't stencil on warped pans and get a decent result. But cooks don't always understand these factors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I finally have my recipes in a program and I can put numbers into it (I think) and not do much but hit the print button. I would imagine having a 'set' list of desserts I can make reference to (because the sky isn't the limit!). If someone wanted more from me where I had to research and create something new, that would be a different story. I would charge a seperate fee per recipe (that would be an add-on service).

As far as plate design and garnishes it comes down to some basic formulas and layouts. I could draw out a note book of them in an afternoon (easily). Thought I could work their product into my pre-designed layouts (after all their using bought product and most if it comes in a wedge shape or circle). Garnishes break down that simple too. After all, I would have to keep garnishes and plate layouts rather basic if I'm teaching a non-pastry person. RIGHT? I could have a couple stencils (on hand to sell) and I'd basicly teach how to make 1 garnish per-plate, one plate layout per-dessert, photo it and move on. I could charge something like $150. to up-grade 3 desserts and $50. for each additional dessert item...?

Main thing is not over lapping designs (noticably) with businesses in close proxcimity (but that's hardly a worry yet). Over lap on recipes....change the flavor and you have a different product, same cost...basicly (not a big problem).

It could also work if they mailed or e-mailed me a photo of their desserts so I wouldn't have to chase (that is a problem!, but I think it's important and can't be illiminated). I'd like to taste their desserts but I'm not there to change their product, but glorify it. Or sell them some new recipes.

Make any sense? Did I miss something?

P.S. I'm not totally sure I understood all of your last post schroomgirl. Could you explain a bit more? Your telling me how I could meet propects (at the show), but I can't tip my card or someone else might attempt the same biz?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
At this time I'm basicly looking at the possiblity of consulting as a suplimental income to doing wedding cakes. Since weddings are pretty much seasonal...

I can't see 'rep.'ing happening for me, that's a full time on the road job and I would rather focus in on building my own cake business. Also the rep.'s I know deliver from the smaller bakeries. I want to stay with my abilities and interests.

As far as driving, you can't even factor that into a job in Chicago. ANY job I find will require 1 hour or more of driving each way (that's a daily fact of life here) so consulting as the job, that's the price your pay for a paycheck (at least you can schedule around the worst part of the the rush hour unlike a traditional job).

Good point about the photo's, they probably won't want to take any on their own. That's an obsticle! What to do????

It's hard to get wholesale info., the rep.s want to call on a business they don't talk on the phone. They don't print brocures/hand outs, they have little to nothing with a photo and never print prices. They play the game and protect their interests... I have some info. recieved dirrectly from companies who sell wholesale, that's about all I can get my hands on.

How to focus in on the RIGHT clients....any opinions and advice?

I've thought about banquet halls and clubs mainly (I also want to sell them my wedding cakes), who else is a good target customer for this service?
 
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