A candy buffet is an enticing display of sumptuous candy that can be specially made to align with the color or theme of an event. These arrangements tend to feature people’s favorite treats well arranged in numerous jars and containers.
This type of business sets up a wide array of candies at a public event or shop where people can pick and choose their favorite items. You’ll find them today at charity events, weddings, birthdays, and even a business function. Most often, a candy buffet serves as a dessert table, or a setting for guests to choose their personalized party favors.
Interestingly, it remains one of the most unique business opportunities available in this modern age. Setting up a candy buffet business starts with obtaining wholesale prices for the candies you intend to sample. You will also need to have a knack for arranging the colorful candies in ways that make them enticing and attractive so people will want to eat them.
Steps on How to Start a Candy Buffet Business
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
Right before you dive into the candy buffet business, you must study the market – your target audience, customer desires and demands, prime market competitors, potential industry partners, such as event planners and caterers, and, most importantly, the available sweet treats, and at what cost.
Have it in mind that this information will surely help you determine how to make your candy buffet business unique and different from the rest of the pack. Determine how your business differs from your competition whether it’s your services, pricing, payment options, or creative process.
a. Who is the Target Audience?
Your most notable target audience in this line of business will be party hosts who are looking to treat their guests to a wide range of enticing sweets. The services you offer will be needed at weddings, anniversary parties, charity events, and even birthday celebrations. Have it in mind that these captivating displays are usually designed to match the themes and color schemes of the events they’re meant for.
b. Is Candy Buffet Business a Profitable Business?
Yes. According to reports, the consumption of candy around the globe averages more than $19 billion a year and is expected to grow at a steady rate of 3.5 percent annually. A candy buffet business is a good business model owing to its convenience and appeal to age groups and demographics of all kinds.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
- Pre-teen Birthday Parties
- Vintage Themed Weddings
- Young children birthday parties
- Bridal showers
- Regular weddings
- Baby Showers
- After Parties
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- Pink Candy Buffet
- Sugar Bunch Candy Buffets
- Platinum Candy Buffets
- Treat Me Sweet Candy Buffets
- Groovy Candies
- Party City
- Pittsburg Candy Buffet
- The Candy Buffet Company
- Candy Buffet Creations
- Sweet Love Candy Buffet
- Chicago Wedding Candy Buffet
- Couture Candy Buffets
- Elite Sweets Candy Buffet
- Pretty Sweet Candy Buffets
- Marvalous Candy Buffet
- KCees Candy Buffet
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Candy Buffet Business?
Yes. After you must have crafted a business plan and noted the niche you intend to cater to, you must see to all licensing, registration, or other legalese your country, state, or municipality mandates. Note that this will ensure your candy buffet business becomes legal and official in the eyes of the law and also enable you to hold necessary permits, hire employees, withhold taxes, etc.
Consider contacting your regional health department to inquire about the food regulations for your municipality and the exact permits you need for lawful operation. You will also need to understand the importance of a food service license and register for a sales tax permit in your state.
f. Is There a Franchise for Candy Buffet Business?
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate: $186,517 – $476,793
- Gateway Newstands: $55,875 – $501,750
- Kilwins: $423,251 – $790,207
- Arumanis Rainbow – $600
- Little Dessert Shop: $87,995
- The Middle Spoon: $110,000
- Chocolate Works: $290,500
- Candy Bouquet: $5,900-$33,000
- Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory Inc.: $184,000 – $363,350
g. What Do You Need to Start a Candy Buffet Business?
- Business plan and concept
- Ideal location
- Reliable Supplier
- Marketing and sales plan
Memorable Candy Buffet Business Names
- Station Desserts
- Flowing Candy
- Cravings Inc.
- Purple Candy
- Cotton Patch
- Personal Choice
- Dessert Sensations
- Candy And Nuts
- The Chop Stand
- Cotton Line
- Dessert Emporium
- Dessert Rush
- Candy Empire
- Bent Confectionery
- Assorted Sweet
- Melting Delicacies
- Candy and Chocolates
- Candy floss
- Twist and Eat
Register your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Candy Buffet Business?
You should consider running your candy buffet business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), especially if you want to benefit from the clear line differentiating your assets from business assets. In an LLC, have it in mind that your profits and losses are recorded as personal income.
Owing to that, you won’t be expected to pay corporate tax. Nonetheless, you’re noted as being self-employed, and you’ll have to pay self-employment taxes. Aside from liability protection and pass-through taxation, it is also simpler to form than a corporation.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Select a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Pick a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Candy Buffet Business?
Truth be told, you will need to obtain certain business licenses and permits to start your candy buffet business. These permits and licenses will surely vary based on the state and town where the business is located. Nonetheless, here are basic licenses and permits to note;
- Business license
- Seller’s permit
- Health department permit
- Occupancy permit
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Candy Buffet Business?
Have it in mind you don’t need any specific or mandatory certification to start a candy buffet business. You only need certain creative skills to display your candies in a way that is pleasing to the eyes. Nonetheless, certain certifications to consider to boost your image include;
- Certified Food Protection Professional (CFPP)
- Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS)
- Certified Professional – Food Safety (CP-FS)
- Food Safety Manager Certification
- ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification
- Certified Pastry Culinarian
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Candy Buffet Business?
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Building Approval
- Service Contract
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
A good number of people fail to realize on time that they can’t legally copyright a recipe. This entails that you’ll always have to protect your recipe so someone doesn’t steal whatever it is that makes your candy unique. Howbeit, if your candy has a unique look, it is also possible to trademark that, but it is advisable you first consult a trademark lawyer to understand more or to start the process.
Some entrepreneurs will also apply for intellectual property protection for their business names, logo, domain names and any other material they feel is worth protecting from theft.
Do your Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Candy Buffet Business?
Have it in mind it will cost around $2,000 on the lower-end and $8,000 on the higher-end to start a candy buffet business. However, a good number of startups in this business invest about $5,000.
b. What are the Cost Involved?
- Licenses and permits: $300 – $1,200
- Insurance: $125 – $300
- Marketing and advertising: $500 – $3,000
- Website: $200 – $1,500
- Software: $200 – $400
- Kitchen equipment such as refrigeration, freezers, etc.: $1,000
- Supplies like mixing bowls, spoons, cups, scale, baking sheet, candy thermometers, molds, etc.: $500
- Ingredients, wax papers, and packaging: $2000
- Renting or Leasing location if you choose to have one: $1,500 monthly
- Liability insurance: $200
- Miscellaneous: $100
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Candy Buffet Business?
- Choice of Supplier
- Branding, Promotion, and Marketing Plans
- Supplies and Ongoing Expenses
- Business size
- License and Certifications
- Cost of Recruiting and Training Your Staff
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility?
Not really! Note that you can run your candy buffet business from home during the early stages. However, as your business expands, you’ll need to move to a commercial facility that can easily accommodate your employees and let you handle the expanding candy production capacity.
Since you’ll be selling edibles, your local health department will massively impact where and how you can run your business. If you intend to make candy out of your kitchen, then you may encounter more restrictions, like not being able to cook other food there or having pets in your home. If you live in a state that has such restrictions, you might want to rent a commercial kitchen.
A good number of candy makers rent kitchens in restaurants during their off-hours or on the days when they’re closed. Some also lease space and set up their commercial kitchen. However, always make sure you contact your local health department to find out what’s mandatory.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses for Running a Candy Buffet Business?
- Product and inventory costs
- Labor and payroll taxes
- Marketing campaigns
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- General Manager: $82,510
- Production Manager: $77,980
- Procurement Manager: $72,360
- Sales and marketing manager: $58,000
- Production workers: $46,780
- Salespersons: $38,920
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Candy Buffet Business?
- Government grants
- Bank loan/overdrafts/credit card
- Incubators and accelerators
- Equity firms
- Venture capital (equity and debt)
- Angel investors
- Crowdfunding platforms
- Peer-to-peer lending platforms
- Business liquidation (other non-performing businesses)
- Property sale
- Friends and family
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Station Dessert will be a candy buffet specialist in Hampton, Virginia. They will make available everything you need to put together the perfect candy buffet – ideas, advice, checklists, and resources. Carrying a vast range of candy bars, we are dedicated to creating the table display of your dreams that will leave your guests salivating. From wedding candy tables to wholesale candy, Station Desert will provide a unique experience to our guests.
b. Products and Service
Whether you’re looking to put together a small or a large event, we at Station Dessert will help make your event memorable and beautiful. Here is our candy table range for a variety of occasions:
- Jelly Tots
- Hard Candies
- Chewing Gum
- Cotton Candy
c. Mission Statement
Our mission at Station Dessert is to provide astonishing candy buffet designs to guests at special events. We believe that our experience in this industry has given us the expertise to consult clients on the most successful way to approach an exciting and customizable candy experience that their guests will love and cherish. We intend to provide our clients with recommended ratios that will guarantee that their candy is well received and also consumed.
Our vision at Station Dessert is to maintain a pleasant, fair, and creative working environment that extols diversity, new ideas, and hard work. Note that our team is committed to offering you our very best work from start to finish.
d. Goals and Objectives
- To achieve a substantial cash balance by the end of year four.
- To offer $100,000 by our fourth year to not-for-profit organizations that assist women’s health initiatives.
- To increase sales ten-fold by the end of Year Three.
e. Organizational Structure
- General Manager
- Production Manager
- Procurement Manager
- Sales and marketing manager
- Production workers
a. SWOT Analysis
- Consumers are craving quality in their food.
- Experience of our management team
- Treating our employees with dignity and respect.
- Our products match popular trends (by default).
- Stiff competition from already established local and regional candy makers.
- Some brands have a loyal customer base which is almost impossible to win over for a new entrant.
- Profit margins are discouraging.
- Health consciousness of American consumers growing encouragingly
- Social Media can be used for great exposure.
- There are new B2B opportunities to tap in.
- The arrival of a new candy making or related business in the same location
- Economic impasse
- New government regulations
b. How Do Candy Buffet Businesses Make Money?
Regardless of how you plan to structure the business, a candy buffet business will make money and generate income through the sale of candy, either in bowls or in packages. However, just like with other dessert businesses, most offer special pricing for orders of a dozen or more products.
c. Payment Options
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Focus on USPs
- Creating and distributing flyers
- Handing out free samples to retail outlets
- Painting colorful images on your candy store’s windows to attract foot traffic
- Sponsoring local events to gain exposure
- Connecting and engaging with your target customers on social media
- Creating an e-commerce store for your online customers
- Train your servers on how to sell the dessert menu
a. How Much Should You Charge for your product/Service?
A good number of candy buffet services tend to ask customers how many guests their event will have and then note how many candies and other elements will be necessary. Most experts base package pricing on the number of guests too. Industry experts peg the average cost per guest at $4–$7.
b. How Much Profit Do Candy Buffet Business Owners Make a Year?
As a new entrant into the business, your income potential is 50% of the stated industry benchmark ($420,557). However, note that your overhead costs account for 5% of sales.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
The profit to be made by a candy buffet business will vary depending on factors like the business size, profit margins, location, and how many years it’s been in business. A good number of owners in this business maximize profits via market research, careful product selection, and creative marketing.
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Candy Buffet Business?
According to industry reports, candy not only generates high margins (typically 35-40% for c-stores), but it also sustains sales even under harsh economic conditions.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
- Year One: $175,000
- Year Two: $380,000
- Year Three: $720,000
Set Up your Shop
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Candy Buffet Business?
Note that your business location remains one of the most vital decisions you will have to make. Although you will often offer your services at events and other secondary locations, but note that the location of your brick-and-mortar store could affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Note that a candy business that produces its candy will need a good kitchen area, and this can often drive up rent costs.
Stores situated in high-traffic retail locations have higher rent costs, but they can also generate valuable walk-in traffic. Options include busy strip malls, kiosks in major shopping malls, a shop in the mall, renovated downtown areas, tourist locations, and streets where other similar but not competitive shops are located.
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Candy Buffet Business?
- Ocean City, NJ.
- Salisbury, MD-DE.
- Portland-South Portland, ME.
- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA.
- Tyler, TX.
- Barnstable Town, MA.
- Norwich-New London, CT.
- Longview, TX.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate?
- Food coloring
- Decorator tools
- Decorating bags
- Candy thermometer
- Candy flavoring
- Lollipop sticks
- Packaging (e.g., cellophane bags, boxes, and ribbons)
- Confectioners equipment
- Bulk candy display cases
- Cash register, credit card machine, and management software
In this line of business, putting together your team early is very necessary. If you intend to make your candy, then you will need kitchen staff as soon as your kitchen is ready. You need to train them to understand your business ethics and how you intend to offer your products and services to your clients.
Many businesses will employ high school and college students for these positions, as they demand less compensation. Don’t forget that your staff is a direct representation of your brand, so take your time and hire wisely.
Launch the Business Proper
Have it in mind that launching your candy buffet business requires extensive preparation. You want everything to run effortlessly. Here is a rundown of what you should get to help you prepare the perfect launch:
- Essential software and tools
a. What Makes a Candy Buffet Business Successful?
- Offer Readymade Candy Buffet Kits
- Build Zones of Different Heights
- Include Prepackaged Items
- Mix it Up with a Variety of Colors or Shades
- Think of Candy as Decor
- Play with Texture
- Offer a Variety of Candy Types
- Serving Utensils and Containers are a Must
- Match Sweets to the Theme/Venue
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Candy Buffet Business?
Although your duties will vary based on some factors, but your days will often involve the following activities:
- Maintaining inventory supply and placing orders
- Building positive relationships with vendor representatives, your staff, neighboring businesses, and customers
- Cooking and packaging candy/chocolates
- Restocking supplies
- Managing the staff
- Building a marketing strategy
- Maintaining accurate accounting records
- Researching new industry opportunities and trends
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Candy Buffet Business?
- Candy making talents
- Customer service skills
- Good taste
- Business knowledge and experience
- Networking with potential business customers
- Design skills
- Knowledge of candy trends