I recently tested a mall “cake pop” kiosk at Triangle Town Center in Raleigh, NC. If you’re a cake popper you may have thought about trying this concept as well, so this post is for you.
Keep in mind, I don’t usually post how-to’s so please give me a shout with any questions–I’m always happy to help.
Here we go…
A rep of ours (sweet Connie) thought a mall kiosk would be a huge success! Long story short, we signed a one month lease/test to see if she was right. We were all excited to test a concept that, as far as we know, had never been done before!
We worked fast and kept a tight budget. We purchased a minimal amount of signage (from our friends at T3 Sign Design), hired a few (awesome) part-time employees, and started poppin’!
The Positive Aspects:
EXPOSURE! Customers being able to “find” you is a HUGE factor in any business. If you’re a “dot com” you know what I mean.
SALES! You’re in a location with constant foot traffic so sales are inevitable (what a great perk!).
Want to know a secret: I’ve worked in food service marketing for the last 10+ years. When working in a location such as this (or as a guest in a big box retailer) THE EMPLOYEES ARE YOUR #1 CUSTOMER and your referral network…keep them happy–or else! We offered an employee discount from day 1.
The Negative Aspects:
HOURS! Malls and big box locations have very loooong hours. If you’re a popper you will have to hire staff (or have a great family that will work for free) because who will make the pops?
STAFF! Our employees were awesome but we still ran into the norm…call-outs, no shows, walk-offs, etc. You must have a back-up plan.
PRODUCT! Like I mentioned earlier, pops don’t last. We don’t let our pops go for more than a few days…the sticks yellow, the chocolate gets brittle, etc. You’ve got to have fresh product and account for waste (yes, you will throw out pops).
ADVERTISING! It was tough having a temporary location because it was difficult to advertise. So if you do sign a long-term lease try loyalty cards, Facebook promotions/discounts, Tweet to locals…and blog of course!
While every cake pop company is different, for us, Raleigh Cake Pops, a kiosk didn’t make sense. We have a busy dot com, large wholesale client list, corporate commitments, weddings, etc. We didn’t want to spread ourselves too thin.
Can it be a success? YES! Although in our opinion, it should be your only means of selling–like a shop–that’s how much attention it requires. There are other options too; if you’d like to test a mall location check with management to see if you can “pop in” for special events. Most malls will let you set up shop for a week or so during special events like Mother’s Day and July 4th.