How to price cheesecake?

becky_caDecember 15, 2010

I've been asked to give a price to a local restaurant for a chocolate cheesecake that I made and brought to a birthday dinner last night.

It just so happened that our waitress is also the pastry chef and she said with the holidays she just can't keep up with the demand. And since their dessert case was virtually empty, I believe her. So she's looking for probably multiples - not hundreds, but quite a few over the next couple weeks, I would imagine.

I'm flattered, and obviously I can add up the cost of ingredients and factor in my time, but I'm wondering if there's something else I should be thinking about too?

Any ideas and help appreciated!


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One of my neighbors makes and sells cheesecakes to a local restaurant and to people who order directly from her. She charges $45 for a 10 inch cake.

Hope that helps and good luck!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 5:36AM
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OK becky pony up that recipe. (please!) If you don't mind.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 10:06AM
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Here's the recipe, I think I may have posted it under the new recipes thread a month or so ago. Thanks for the advice - I'm going to Costco this morning to price out the ingredients, and will be able to tell if it's even feasible for me to do it for a decent price.

It's interesting how things work - I am in the process of leaving my husband and will have to go back to work. It's hard not to see this as an opporunity, and if nothing else it's given me something else to think about LOL.


* Exported from MasterCook *

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
For crust
1 box chocolate wafer cookies -- (9 ounce)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter -- (3/4 stick) melted
For filling
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
12 ounces semisweet chocolate -- finely chopped
2 packages cream cheese -- (8 ounce) room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
For glaze
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate -- finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350�F. Wrap outside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with double thickness of foil. Spray bottom of pan with vegetable oil spray. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add butter and process until blended. Press mixture onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Make filling:

Combine cream and coffee powder in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until coffee powder dissolves. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate; whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cool 10 minutes.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in cornstarch. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat well. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Whisk 1 cup cheese mixture into chocolate mixture. Return chocolate mixture to remaining cheese mixture; whisk until smooth.

Pour batter into crust. Place springform pan in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to baking pan to cone halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cheesecake until softly set and slightly puffed around edges, about 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven 45 minutes. Transfer springform pan t rack and cool. Cover; chill cake overnight.

Make glaze:

Bring cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 4 ounces chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Pour glaze over top of cake. Using spatula, smooth glaze evenly over top. Refrigerate until glaze is set, at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Using knife, cut around sides of pan to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Cut into wedges and serve.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NOTES : Bon Appetit, March 1997

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 11:05AM
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Wow. That's opportunity presenting itself if ever I've seen it. Great luck to you! Don't forget to factor in "extra" electricity and water from baking and cleaning tools, and your time; only since it's for a "business" purpose. Best wishes!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 11:56AM
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And factor in gas to and from the restaurant delivering them, and the price of a gym membership since you'll have to lick all those spoons! lol

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 12:04PM
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By my rough figuring, each cake costs you roughly $14 to $16 per cake. figuring your time at a low end of $20 an hour....and you can likely make 3 in an hour and a half....that's $70 for 3 cheese cakes...not counting gas, delivery and use of your equipment.....just costs with your timea t the minimum.
You should have $45 for each cake....and they would have to make a profit on top of that...I dont think they can afford you!
Linda c

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 12:52PM
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At 10 - 12 slices per cake, most restaurants around here charge $7 per slice .... still a nice profit for the restaurants. Of course, this doesn't include what the staff cuts crooked, drops, etc and can't be served so it is eaten in the kitchen LOLOLOL!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 1:19PM
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Do you know how much this restaurant usually charges for a dessert? Do they have a menu online you can look at? If you know what their usual charge is for a piece of cheesecake, you could work backwards from that to see if it would be profitable for you. For what it is worth, our deli charges $6 for a slice of cheesecake, and I think they are getting 10-12 per cake.

Another idea: Would it be possible for you to purchase the ingredients through the restaurant at their price (assuming that their supplier is cheaper than Costco).

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 1:23PM
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I agree, first check and see what they charge for a slice of it at the restaurant, and then see what it costs you to make it.

Now, I've got 33 years experience and a degree and I don't make $20 an hour, but I don't live in California either. I'd say factor in the "going wage" as your time expense.

good luck, I think this IS an opportunity, if the pastry chef liked it that well and has asked you to make some for the restaurant, then she's confident in your ability.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 1:46PM
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Be sure not to shortchange yourself. Figure the price so you are assured of a nice profit margin. When all is done you want to feel that it was a good opportunity, not a burden or obligation.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 2:43PM
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I "think" DS was told to figure 3x the cost, but I will check tonight after he comes home from work, which won't be until after 8 EST. He took baking and pastry in school. I know he can make his for about $16 cost for ingredients. If we get the stuff on sale. I haven't checked Costco or Sam's for prices, as when he was asked to make one for a birthday, he only needed the one, so it wouldn't have been cost effective for us to get the stuff from there.

Good luck to you. Sounds like you have doors opening for you as another closes.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Okay, I called her and gave her a price of $35 for a 9" cheesecake. She's going to talk to her mom (the owner) and call me back. She had told me last night that they would sell the slices for $5, and I figure 12 slices per cake is a pretty generous portion, which leaves them with a $25 profit.

I went to Costco and Smart & Final and priced ingredients. While Costco was a litle less expensive, the quantities at S & F aren't so large, so that's worth noting for future reference.

The most expensive ingredient in the whole cake is the chocolate wafers in the crust - almost $6 at my local grocery store. I figure that I can sub chocolate graham cracker crumbs for about half the price, and there's so much else going on in the cake I doubt that it would subract from the overall experience.

I figured my costs at about $15, so took Tami's advice and tripled it. And based on Alexa's price of $40 for a 10" cake it seemed to work.

Even if this particular avenue doesn't work, I may explore some other options like the farmer's markets. The weather here is nice enough that they run all year round, 7 days a week in different locations. And goodness knows there's tons of restaurants and wineries within a reasonable driving distance.

So thank you for the advice and the words of encouragement. I for sure need something positive in my life at the moment and this kind of fell in my lap.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 7:10PM
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I hope you have great luck with this venture, Becky! I will still check with DS when he comes home from work for you. You may not be able to use what he tells me for this venture if I was wrong, but for the farmers markets or any other chances you get. I'm sure you will do great!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 7:17PM
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Becky it sounds like you did a good pricing for them. What a great opportunity. I have some advice/suggestion. See if they would let you do the baking there. If there is a time they aren't open when you could use their equipment/ovens. Say perhaps twice a week. You could probably do all you'd need at one time, depending on what kind of equipment they have. If not for this time, I'd still approach them about the possibility of using their kitchen in the future in their off time. You could get a nice little business going and you'd already have the commercial kitchen sewn up, which is a big stumbling block for many. Something to consider. Also, buying at least the cream cheese and cream from their supplier might help too. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 8:32PM
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Not to burst your bubble but you should only be baking in an inspected and approved kitchen and be registered with the FDA under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 to be able to sell to the general public, especially through a restaurant. Not sure of your State but my inspections are from the Dept. of Ag. Your City and/or State may also have Health Dept. rules that you must follow. And, then there are your town's land zoning rules and perhaps covenants or home owners association rules.

It is a different matter when you sell to your friends for personal consumption. Certain States do not even allow you to sell any type of homemade goods, even at a farmers market, and various other rules apply in other States. Most people are unaware of the rules and laws and pay the consequences later when the officials come knocking at their door.

You might also consider personal liability insurance policy of one million dollars since you could easily be sued in the event that a consumer broke a tooth or some other mishap relative to your product. Seems unlikely but believe me, it does happen in our litigious society.

I sell at a farmers market and also directly to customers from my website and through word of mouth. The FDA really does check up on "the little old lady" who sells homemade on Craigslist too. Their job is to protect the food supply of the general public, and therefore you have to follow their rules.

And, by the way, you must report all your income on your personal federal income tax form, not just your profit. And, some States say you must collect sales and food taxes at certain rates when selling directly, or at other rates selling to food establishments (as a "supplier"). You might want to check your State's tax laws.

An option would be for the restaurant to hire you at a certain part-time wage - enough to make a profit for you, bake the cakes in their kitchen, have them purchase all the ingredients, and then you would be covered by their insurance if you get hurt on the job or if a customer sues, and you just report your wages on the tax forms.

Trust me, I've jumped through the hoops and it isn't easy nor is it simple to just sell what you bake at home.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 6:20AM
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First, I want to say I'm sorry you are having to end your marriage. That's always difficult no matter what. Next, a big congratulations on the job offer to make cakes. That could lead to something really big for you.

I have no business advice for you as I've neither cooked for the public or worked in a restaurant. The only advice I would give is to make the cust from the chocolate wafers as you did before or okay the change with the restaurant. Personally I don't like any graham cracker crusts.

Lots of luck!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 8:44AM
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Nancy, you are right, there are various rules that must be followed, Michigan just passed a new law allowing people to sell jam and baked goods that were prepared in their home kitchens and does not require inspection of the kitchens.

I assumed that Becky would be baking the cheesecakes at the restaurant, but perhaps I shouldn't have assumed that. Here that would make her an "employee", even though she would be working "piece rate" instead of hourly.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 9:31AM
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Becky how has this worked out for you? I have found myself in this same situation and trying to come up with a price list myself. Hope it's going great!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:26PM
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Call the Cheesecake Factory restaurant and ask the price and size of their cheesecakes. I think they are $50 and up.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:02PM
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