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How to Start a Dessert Shop

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The American fondness for sweets is evident; the dessert industry is a multibillion dollar industry and desserts are available almost everywhere. Whether you plan to sell candy, baked goods, frozen treats or some other dessert, if you have a quality product and the means to produce enough of it, you may be able to make a career in this niche. Because you will be selling food products, you must take several steps in the business process that other entrepreneurs do not have to.

Getting Started

Study culinary arts at a college or university if possible to learn the best and most efficient cooking methods. These degree programs may include basic business and human resources instruction.

Decide on your specialty. Few dessert shops sell all types of dessert products. Most dessert shops specialize, for example, in baked goods and candy or frozen treats such as frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Visit your county offices or your city hall to determine what regulations exist in your area regarding food service businesses. Find out about the initial and ongoing restaurant inspection process.

Draft a comprehensive business plan that outlines what you plan to sell, approximate profit margins, means of producing and storing your goods, a marketing plan and any other part of your business methodology that demonstrates that you have studied the industry and are prepared to succeed. You will need this document to obtain a business loan.

Apply for an employer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service and a sales tax license from your secretary of state's office. This information will allow you to hire employees and collect sales taxes on products sold. The dessert industry can be labor intensive, so prepare to hire staff right away.

Baked and Dry Goods

Locate a suitable location for your business. Baked items and dry goods such as candy can be easy for your customers to transport home to consume, so if that's what you plan to sell, you might want to locate your business in a high-visibility, easy to access location such as in a strip mall near a highway. Decide if your shop will be only a service location or will offer dine-in treats. Design your store accordingly.

Purchase commercial baking and other equipment large enough to meet expected demand. Verify with your county health department if your equipment is suitable to pass an inspection for a commercial food establishment.

Design a price list based on material and labor necessary to produce your goods. Include costs such as utilities, payroll and other fixed expenses as you formulate your price structure.

Market your goods to appropriate customers using both conventional advertising such as print or yellow pages and electronic methods such as your own website and online classified services. Offer free samples at large public events and include a coupon.

Frozen Desserts

Create a product line and an exciting store atmosphere that will retain popularity during the winter months. Consider adding a coffee shop or a deli to maintain profitability year round.

Locate your business where customers can purchase and consume your product quickly. Consider tourist areas or areas where pedestrians loiter during warm months.

Purchase a commercial freezer large enough to house both your raw materials and the final product. Purchase a backup freezer to hold your essentials in the case of freezer failure.


Consider a delivery service regardless of your product offering. Some products, such as wedding cakes, require delivery.

Create a catering service menu and book orders in advance so you can maximize your efforts.

Contact local farmer's markets to purchase fresh local fruit as needed.

Investigate franchise opportunities to simplify the business model and take advantage of name recognition.


Follow health code regulations carefully to avoid harsh penalties and a damaged reputation.

Purchase a backup generator for your refrigerator and freezer to protect your investment in the event of a power outage.