Small businesses like bakeries, as we all probably know by now, operate on very thin profit margins and will suffer greatly if they have to be fully shut down for a two-week quarantine. Butter&, a bakery in San Francisco, is no different. Owner Amanda Nguyen had enough reserves to survive for just a little more than a month before she would have to shut down permanently. “The only way we survive is by creating value for our clients in a new way for the current day,” she wrote on Instagram.
Butter& specializes in special occasion cakes, like for weddings and big birthdays. What occasion is more special now than a quarantine? So Nguyen has started writing things like “Wash your hands,” “Don’t touch your face,” and “Pretend you’re an introvert” on top of her mini cakes and is selling them for $50 a pop. (Customers have their choice of half a dozen flavors, including caramel and chocolate and sweet cream and roasted berry.) And people are buying them!
Nguyen started selling the cakes on Sunday. On Monday she wrote on Instagram, “Today was literally the busiest day in Butter& history. What started as Butter&’s worst week ended up being our best in just over 24 hours. To everyone who purchased a Quarantine Cake (& more), THANK YOU. You not only helped us cover costs for the week, you even enabled us to add to our reserves.”
You can say what you want about people paying $50 for a cake that serves between two and four people, but here is an example of a business identifying and then fulfilling a need. And now you can kick yourself for not thinking of it first.