Cooking up small business success

By Small Business Expert Roger Pierce, BizLaunch

[caption id="attachment_1558" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Pastry Chef Mandy Kan says it’s all about “location, location, location” when opening a retail operation"]Pastry Chef Mandy Kan says it’s all about “location, location, location” when opening a retail operation[/caption]

While the rest of us were told by Mom not to play with our food, it is okay for entrepreneur Mandy Kan. “I have a strong passion for food and love to experiment with it,” she says.

Kan recently opened her own shop called Dessert Lady Café located at 20 Cumberland St. in the heart of Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district. It’s a retail gourmet pastry shop that offers custom orders and plated “desserts-to-go” made from scratch. Kan says her specialties are mouth-watering soufflé, liquid-centre warm chocolate cake and home made ice cream.

Kan has played with her food for a long time. “I started getting involved in the pastry business five years ago,” says Kan. “I obtained my training in New York City at the French Culinary Institution, and completed my chocolate and sugar work training at the International School of Confectionary Arts in Maryland.” Kan also performed her pastry magic as a Chef at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Florida.

Kan says she’s always dreamed of opening a pastry shop and recognized a good opportunity. “There simply aren’t enough places to buy high quality desserts in this city,” she explains.

She set out to find a perfect location for her new business. “You’ve really got to do your homework,” she advises. “I recommend using market research to get to know a neighbourhood to make sure the right customers live or work in the area,” she recommends.

Kan chose Yorkville because it attracts customers who can appreciate – and afford – her sumptuous wares. “To me, fine desserts are a combination of art and taste – beyond everyday pies and cookies – that require a lot of thought and creativity,” she says. “People in this neighbourhood love fine desserts and know how to pamper themselves.”

Her future plans include cooking classes for dessert lovers and opening a second location with more seating.

clip_image0025_thumb.jpgROGER PIERCE is passionate about helping entrepreneurs achieve success. Co-founder of Canada’s largest small business training company,, he’s launched eleven small businesses of his own and personally experienced what he calls “the good, the bad and the ugly” sides of entrepreneurship.

BizLaunch advises thousands of Canadian startups through its popular how-to seminars and webinars delivered with partners such as STAPLES.

By Adam

March 31, 2010