opinion expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are yours.
Emily Washkovic, the small business expert behind the review host and Yelp, takes a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.
When a craving strikes, sometimes there is no one around. You must have the bus.
Audrey C., a Yelp reviewer in Seattle, saw a photo of her friend’s tres leches cake and all it took was enough to send it to the Internet to find one nearby. A traditional Mexican dessert, “three milks” cakes are moist and sweet, but not overly.
And if you know, you know how delicious they are, and also how hard they are to come by in the average bakery.
“I’m actually a big fan of tres leches cakes,” Audrey said. “My best friend is in California, and she sent me a picture of the cake she was eating. And it made me really crave it. It’s a really special thing, Tres Leches Cake. The first thing I did She was online and see if I know of anywhere that sells that type of cake. And I actually found this place called Tres Lecheria.”
Before co-owner and baker Kevin Moulder owned Cubes Baking Company tres lecheriaAnd it was part circumstance and part quick thinking that allowed him and his business partner to pivot to a Tres Leach-only bakery during the pandemic.
“I remember it clearly. We were sitting at the bar next to our bakery. And he was saying to me, ‘Hey, things aren’t looking so good, Kev. What are we supposed to do?’ At the time we had a small, tiny fridge with four flavors of Tres Leches Cake. Nine out of 10 customers were coming for that. And nine out of 10 of the 10 reviews we were seeing on Yelp and elsewhere online I was in,” he said.
“So let’s give it a shot. Let’s expand our Tres Leches cake options, and let’s just be a Tres Leches-exclusive bakery and see what happens. So it happened in 2020, and it’s the best decision ever.” What we could do.”
While that strategic pivot saved the bakery, it was Kevin’s ability to take advantage of a more idyllic situation that allowed Tres Lecheria to expand beyond the walls of its storefronts and into grocery stores up and down the West Coast. A former employee got a job as a bakery buyer at a grocery store, which led to more orders and another revenue stream. But planning and thought to make it work, and a willingness to accept change as a part of business growth.
“I think a lot of business owners get stuck and they’re afraid of not making changes. They’re afraid to give up on a certain concept. It’s hard sometimes, especially when it comes to a passion project It’s hard to leave and say, you know what? I really wanted it to work 100%. Sure it’s working fine, but we’re just spinning our wheels, never going anywhere We need to make that change,” Kevin said.
As he expanded, Kevin hired a graphic designer to make the most of his label, using them as branding for the bakery. While he thought he had roasted it, a simple suggestion from one of the grocery buyers—to add color to the label to differentiate between the flavors—was met with little resistance from Kevin at first.
“I was resistant because I was like, It’s just more money. And when we’re trying to survive, why should we make this change right now? So that was the conversation I had with my business partner. And He was all for it. He was like, he is the expert. And I was opposed to it,” he said.
“And then I remember the day when colorful labels came out, and I made fun of all my flavors, and I put them in a row in the order of the colors of the rainbow. And I was like, yeah, they pop. This It was definitely the right decision.”
The change in branding was simple, but impressive. Sales increased, and her product became more recognizable, which resonated with critics like Audrey.
“I thought their packaging, their branding was really unique, and that was what stood out to me because with the food being such a close interaction with the people, you’re touching the products, you’re touching the packaging. I think that it really plays into it and it adds to your overall experience.”
Use these tools from Tres Lecheria’s success to expand your small business, including:
- You cannot end where you start. Be prepared to grow your business based on internal and external motivators.
- Set small goals along the way of expansion to make it more attainable. When it comes to growing your business, set small attainable goals as guideposts to larger goals.
- Be open to opportunities as they come. Kevin didn’t open his bakery with the intention of a national wholesale business, but the opportunity presented itself.
- Give constructive criticism as it is intended: To improve your business. Whether it’s through reviews or feedback from a seller, Kevin uses those messages to improve his business.
Listen to the episode below, and subscribe to hear live from Kevin and Audrey behind the review Every Thursday for more from new business owners and reviewers.