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The Complete Guide to Planning Your Pop Up Bakery

Are you interested in learning how to get started with or improve your pop up bakery?

In this blog post, I’ll share my experiences with selling my baked goods as a pop-up bakery. I’m sharing everything from the legal requirements to be aware of and how to find the best location, to tips on how much to bake and how to price your baked goods!

 Bakery pop up

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What is a Pop Up Bakery?

A bakery pop-up shop is a temporary setup where you sell your baked goods, usually for a short period, in a variety of locations.

Pop-up shops are a great way to reach new customers, test new products, and create buzz around your bakery!

What are the Legal Requirements for Selling at a Pop Up Bakery

One of the first things to be aware of is the cottage law for your area. These laws dictate what you can sell from your home kitchen and how you need to label your products. Compliance is crucial to avoid any legal issues.

To get you started, check out my article on cottage food laws.

In this post, you’ll find helpful information about United States cottage food labeling requirements and a state-by-state resource for cottage food laws. This guide will help you understand what you need to do when it comes to labeling your cottage food products, ensuring you’re fully compliant and ready to sell at your pop-up shop.

Make sure to:

  • Understand Local Regulations: Each state has different regulations, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules in your area.
  • Label Your Products Correctly: Follow the guidelines for labeling your baked goods, including listing ingredients and any potential allergens.
  • Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of your sales and ingredients to ensure you’re always compliant with local laws.

By adhering to these regulations, you can confidently sell your delicious baked goods at your pop-up shop without any legal concerns.

Bakery pop up

How to Get Started with a Pop Up Bakery

Getting started can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. First, you need a plan. There are three main areas to consider when planning your bakery pop-up: location, menu, and promotion. Keep reading to learn more.

Decide on the Location

Start by researching potential spots for your pop-up bakery. Look for high-traffic areas and popular neighborhoods where people are likely to stop by. Consider partnering with local businesses like coffee shops, boutiques, or specialty stores that align with your brand.

You can also explore opportunities at local events, farmers markets, and community centers that regularly host gatherings. These venues can provide a steady stream of customers and help boost your visibility.

Work with Local Businesses

  • Coffee Shops: Partner with local coffee shops. They get lots of foot traffic, and you gain a new customer base.
  • Boutiques and Specialty Stores: Collaborate with places like micro-breweries and wineries. These spots attract customers who appreciate unique, high-quality products.
  • Farmers Markets: Ideal for pop-ups due to the supportive local crowd and steady stream of buyers.
  • Local Events: Participate in local events and make connections within your community.

Plan for Future Festivals

  • Seasonal Festivals: Join holiday markets or seasonal festivals for large crowds and festive buyers.
  • Food Festivals: Participate in food festivals to reach an even larger audience.
Bakery pop up

Testing out the booth in our driveway!

How to Approach a Business About a Pop Up Bakery

Ready to talk to a local business about doing a bakery pop-up in their location? Start by planning your win-win proposal.

  • Increased Foot Traffic: Highlight how your pop-up can bring new customers to their business.
  • Revenue Sharing: Propose a small sales percentage or a fixed fee to use their space.
  • Cross-Promotion: Offer to promote the event together on social media.

Deciding What Baked Goods to Sell

This is the fun part! Think about your bestsellers. For me, it’s always been items like my legendary chocolate chunk cookies and cinnamon rolls. A mix of products with different price points and flavors works best. Mix products such as cookies, cakes, and breads to offer a diverse menu that entices different types of customers. You don’t need to give your menu a full renovation; just add a few new creations to keep things fresh and exciting for your customers.

Don’t be tempted to make too many items though. Offering a limited menu allows you to focus on quality and efficiency, ensuring each item is a standout hit with your customers. For example, if you bake cinnamon rolls, you can create multiple new items with the same cinnamon roll dough. Experiment with different fillings and sizes to entice more customers.

Bakery pop up

Menu boards made from scrap lumber and black poster board!

Determining How Much to Bake for Your Pop Up Bakery Sale

Figuring out how much to bake for your pop-up shop can be a bit of a balancing act. You don’t want to run out too early, but you also don’t want to end up with tons of leftovers. This is the best way to estimate how much to bake:

  • Estimate Foot Traffic: Start by estimating the number of people who will be attending the event. Check with the event organizers for expected attendance numbers. If you’re hosting at a busy location like a farmers market or a street fair, you can usually get an estimate from previous events.
  • Consider the Competition: Take into account how many other bakers or food vendors will be there, especially those selling similar items. If there are a lot of bakers, you might want to bake a bit less. If you’re one of the few, you can afford to bake more.
  • Calculate a Percentage of Foot Traffic: A good rule of thumb is to prepare enough for about 10-15% of the expected foot traffic. So, if 1,000 people are expected to attend, you should prepare for around 100-150 people.
  • Product Variety and Quantity: Offer a variety of items at different price points. For example, have some single items and some items sold by the half dozen and dozen. Prepare a mix of ready-to-eat items and packaged goods. Ready-to-eat items are great for immediate consumption, while packaged goods can be sold to customers who want to take them home.
  • Track Past Sales: If you’ve done pop-ups before, use past sales data to guide your current preparations. Note which items sold out quickly and which had leftovers.
Bakery pop up

Boxes of backup baked goods to sell!

Example Calculation

Let’s say you’re expecting around 1,000 attendees at your pop-up event:

  • Estimate that about 10-15% of those attendees will buy from you. So, plan for around 100-150 customers.
  • If you’re offering 5 different items, you might bake 20-30 of each item to start with (adjust based on what you think will be most popular).

Adjust for Special Circumstances

  • If you’re at a location known for high foot traffic, or during peak times, you might want to increase your quantities slightly.
  • Consider the time of day. Breakfast items might sell more in the morning, while dessert items might sell better in the afternoon or evening.

By considering these factors, you’ll have a better idea of how much to bake, ensuring you have enough to meet demand without overwhelming yourself with leftovers.

Bakery pop up

Kitchen help from my daughters!

Pricing Your Baked Goods

Alright, let’s talk about pricing. Getting your prices right is super important because you need to make sure you’re actually making a profit. It’s not just about covering the cost of ingredients; you’ve got to think about your time, effort, and all those little extras like packaging and marketing.

If your prices are too low, you’ll be working your butt off and not seeing any real cash. Too high, and you might scare away customers. You’ve got to find that sweet spot to keep things rolling smoothly.

Here’s why nailing your pricing strategy matters:

  • Covering Costs: You need to cover all your expenses, from ingredients to packaging and everything in between.
  • Profit Margin: Make sure you’re building in some profit, so you’re not just breaking even. You deserve to make some money for all your hard work!
  • Sustainability: Fair pricing helps you maintain the quality of your ingredients and production, making sure your business can keep going strong.
  • Value Perception: Proper pricing shows customers the value of your products and helps attract those who appreciate and are willing to pay for quality baked goods.

Before you set your prices and dive into pop-ups, work on your pricing strategy and make sure to factor in all your overhead costs. Get this right, and you’ll be on your way to a profitable and sustainable home bakery!

Want to dive deeper into pricing strategies? Check out my detailed guide on how to price your baked goods the right way. It’s packed with tips and tricks to help you set prices that ensure you’re making a profit.

Bakery pop up

Those food costs really add up!

How to Promote Your Pop-Up Event

Promoting your pop-up event effectively is key to drawing in a crowd and making sure it is successful. Here are some actionable steps to create buzz and get the word out:

Leverage Social Media

    • Instagram and TikTok: Share behind-the-scenes content, such as the baking process, setting up your booth, and sneak peeks of the delicious treats you’ll be selling. Use relevant hashtags, tag local foodie accounts, and encourage followers to share your posts.

Engage with Your Community

    • Local Groups: Post about your event in local Facebook groups, community boards, and on Nextdoor to reach people in your area.
Bakery pop up

Dutch Apple Bread was a crowd favorite!

Create Eye-Catching Flyers and Posters

    • Design attractive flyers and posters to distribute in your neighborhood. Pin them up in local coffee shops, libraries, community centers, and other high-traffic areas.

Email Marketing

    • Build an Email List: If you don’t have one yet, start collecting emails from your customers and followers. Send out regular updates about your upcoming pop-up events, special offers, and new products.

Utilize Business Cards

    • Hand Out Business Cards: Include your social media handles and website on your business cards. Hand them out during previous events, at your local bakery, or anywhere you network.

Word-of-Mouth

    • Tell Everyone: Inform friends, family, and local businesses about your upcoming pop-up. Ask them to spread the word to their networks.
    • Loyal Customers: Encourage your regular customers to bring friends or share your event on their social media.
Bakery pop up

Lots of Chai Spice Snickerdoodle cookies!

Offer Incentives

    • Exclusive Deals: Promote special offers or discounts for those who mention your social media post or bring a friend.
    • Contests and Giveaways: Run a contest on your social media accounts where participants can win free baked goods or discounts by sharing your event post.

By combining these strategies, you’ll create a buzz around your pop-up bakery event, attract more customers, and ensure a successful turnout.

Creating an Amazing Pop-Up Sale Display

Creating a professional-looking display is key to attracting and retaining customers. Essentials for a successful display include:

  • folding tables with spandex covers
  • printed banners and menus
  • wooden crates
  • acrylic sign holders

A good display not only looks inviting but also showcases your products effectively. Check out my Amazon Shop for links to my favorite booth display items.

Bakery pop up

The booth is all set up!

Example of Success

For my first bakery pop-up, I participated in a fall festival that drew 20,000 people over two days. I created a special fall-themed menu for the event and ended up selling more than expected. Although I had several DIY cookie kits left over, I was able to sell them as porch pick-ups in the following days. This experience was a huge success and helped me gain valuable insights and a loyal customer base for future events.

Comment below with your favorite tip or any questions about hosting your first pop-up!

Ready to connect with fellow bakers and get support from a community that understands your passion? Join my Home Bakery Business Tips Facebook Group today! Share tips, ask questions, and learn from others on the same journey. 

Brittany Reece

Wednesday 27th of March 2024

How do you estimate how much to bake and take to your first pop up event?

Better Baker

Wednesday 27th of March 2024

Knowing how much to bake depends on several factors: how many people do you expect to attend, how long you'll be selling for, etc.

AINSLEY clarke

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Send me info