The Cake Pop Kiosk

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!

The Lesson:

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.

Good Luck!

~Anne

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10 thoughts on “The Cake Pop Kiosk

    1. Hi Robin…they are very expensive especially during the holidays. Just be sure to know what you’re getting into before signing a lease (rent, percentages, etc). Of course they can be VERY LUCRATIVE too!

  1. I am a cake popper with a small online company. I loved the kiosk, but it seemed like it would do better near the food court where the cookie company and candy stores are. Thanks for this post. I am a new small business and appreciated your thoughts. By the way, your chocolate chip cake pops was delicious!

    1. Hi Maggie! ~we moved near the food court the second week :). Management also has say over where you can move to.

      I think the biggest challenge was selling a product that many people aren’t familiar with yet (yay for cake poppers!), in new territory. Kind of a double challenge there…if that makes sense.

      And thank you! Our chocolate chip cake pops are very popular!

      Best of luck with your business! ~Anne

  2. The last time I was in Raleigh, I purchased 3 cake pops from the kiosk. I had never had one before and waited until I got home to try them. When I tasted them, I had never tasted anything sooooo good! They were AMAZING! I was back in Raleigh this past weekend and went looking for the kiosk (this time to buy more, of course) much to my disappointment the kiosk wasn’t there. So I am glad that I found your website, and can’t wait to place my order!

  3. Rulling out the cost of rent, employees, and materials, did you happen to make any sort of profit on this new business venture?

    1. Hi Melanie,

      Good question. Considering this was only a one month test–it began and ended in 30 days–there wasn’t enough time to determine if the kiosk would have turned a profit.

      Anne

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