Do you love candy? Lollipops, gummy candies, and barley sugars are sweets that you cannot resist. You want to make a living from this passion and wonder how to open a confectionery?

Find out in this guide how to open a candy store, step by step. On the program: market study, candy store fixtures, business plan for your future professional activity, including commercial positioning, choice of legal status, and the marketing plan. Let's start right away with the first step!

The importance of starting with a market study before opening a candy store

Market research should allow you to know the trends in this market and have a global vision before creating a confectionery. It should also allow you to develop a very detailed knowledge of the local market and verify that a commercial opportunity in the place of establishment is envisaged.

Start with a sector analysis to understand the dynamics in the market.

Carrying out a sectoral analysis before opening a confectionery is essential. It is necessary to understand how this sector works and know its growth levers, regulatory changes, and players. The objective of this part is to allow you to understand what are the challenges to be faced and to determine the most promising market segments.

Here, it is recommended that you ask yourself at least the following questions:

  • What is the economic situation in the sector: up or down? For what reasons?
  • What concepts work well? Which ones work less?
  • What are the most frequently encountered difficulties?
  • Opening a confectionery franchise or independent: which is better?
  • What types of people go to a candy store, and how many times a year?
  • What are the occasions when people go to a candy store?
  • What are the peak periods and the off-peak periods?
  • What is the average price spent per customer?
  • Is commodity price volatility high? Should we expect a significant increase or decrease in the cost of manufacture?
  • How do you see the market in a few years?

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Evaluate demand at the location

Once you have honed your understanding of the industry, you will need to pay attention to the business potential of the location.

The objective here is to assess the size of the local market and identify potential areas of the establishment.

In particular, you should ask yourself:

  • What is the size of the local population?
  • What are the socio-demographic characteristics (ages, sexes, socio-professional categories, disposable income, unemployment rate, etc.)?
  • What are the attractive places in the city (pedestrian street, city center, train station, etc.)?

Analysis of the competition at the level of the implantation area

You will also need to conduct an in-depth analysis of the competition, especially in the sector where you want to set up:

  • What types of outlets already offer candy?
  • Where are they?
  • Do they offer artisanal or industrial sweets?
  • Are they franchised or independent confectionery?
  • What is their pricing policy?
  • How much area do they have?
  • How many employees do they have?
  • What turnover do they achieve?

Once these analyzes have been carried out, you will be able to determine if the market is large enough to support the arrival of a new entrant (that is to say, your candy store), to have defined interesting implantation areas, and get an idea of ​​the concepts that may work given the characteristics of the population and the offerings of your competitors.

Focus on the confectionery market in France

Confectionery: a sector that is not experiencing the crisis

The turnover of candy store is constantly increasing, and there has been an acceleration of the market since 2014-2015 ( Studies & Analyzes ). The French are ranked 10th among the largest confectionery consumers at the European level, far behind Sweden, Denmark, and Germany ( National Confectionery Syndicate ).

Each French person consumes, on average, 3.5 kilos of candy each year, the equivalent of one sweet per day and per person. In the top 5 of the most sold confectionery, we find chewing gum, candies, lollipops, pocket confectionery, and finally, regional and traditional specialties ( DGCCRF ).

If the French is more and more sensitive to eating healthy and avoiding snacking, the sector is adapting, highlighting organic products, natural confectionery, less sweet. The search for authenticity is also fundamental for a confectionery that relies on its know-how, its recipes handed down for several generations, and on regional confectionery (the stupidities of Cambrai, the nougats of Montélimar, etc. ), guarantees of quality and flavor.

The turnover of the confectionery sector is growing due both to an increase in products sold and an increase in their price.

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Confectionery market: trends and projections

In Europe, the confectionery manufacturing sector has nearly 83 companies, mainly SMEs, and employs almost 7,000 people for an annual production of 230,000 tonnes ( LSA Commerce & Consumption ). But the sector is primarily dominated by six large operators (Haribo, Lutti, Ferrero, Mars, Kraft, and Nestlé), which achieve around 80% of sales on the national territory. This sector generates a turnover of more than 800 million euros in France, including 5 million in the craft sector. At the European level, France is ranked 8th among confectionery producers.

Regarding distribution, know that large food supermarkets (GSA) carve out the lion's share with nearly 85% of the market.

The confectioner-artisan who ensures the manufacture of his products himself is very much in the minority. To resist in this very competitive market, it is necessary to adopt an original positioning and sell products of very high quality.

Finally, there are also franchise brands. The distribution networks can differentiate themselves with, here too, a premium positioning, an extensive range, or even very competitive prices.

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Some aspects of candy store regulation

It is not necessary to have specific training to be able to open a candy store. However, it is widespread for this type of establishment to be run by a person with pastry training.

On the other hand, to obtain the status of artisan-confectioner, it is essential to have followed an adequate training: CAP then the technical certificate of trades (BTM) of the pastry-confectioner-chocolate maker or even Superior Master degree (BMS) food.

Finally, remember that draconian hygiene and sanitary conditions must be observed, even if you do not manufacture your products yourself. If you are only dedicated to the sales activity, it is also essential to understand all the products' components and origins.

Opening a candy store: the choice of the concept

Market research should lead you to question your commercial positioning. And This will help you reinforce it or opt for an approach that you had not thought of because it is more promising and considered a concept in decline.

While the confectionery industry is waging a relentless buyout war, Ferrero is attacking Nestlé in the United States, explains L'Usine Nouvelle ), it is appropriate, particularly for artisan-confectioners but also for the simple retailer, to adopt an original positioning: organic and vegan candies, natural recipes from ancestral know-how. All the options that allow you to position yourself on the high-end and attracting a niche clientele can be considered.

But you can also opt for a less elitist positioning and retail gummies and other lollipops. You will then have to stand out with an extensive choice.

Open a confectionery: independent or franchise?

When you have completed your market research and have come to the thorny question of the choice of positioning and concept, you will have to choose between two possibilities: opening as a franchise or independent.

A confectionery franchise is certainly more restrictive than an independent opening, leaving less (if at all) latitude in the choice of products, the layout of the store, etc. However, it also conceals many advantages: ready-made suppliers at attractive prices because they benefit from economies of scale, brand awareness, logistical support, launch assistance. Note also that the parent company's experience in terms of regulations, necessary materials, and customer requirements, in particular, is invaluable when starting a business.

Many confectionery franchises such as Lolly's Sweet Experience, SUCX, or Glup's ( Franchise Observatory).

Finding a place for your confectionery

It is advisable to carefully choose the location of your room to benefit from high attendance. Better to choose a busy place, ideally a downtown shopping street. The immediate proximity of the target is often a plus. It may therefore be wise to locate near a school or a leisure center.

Suppose your offer is very high-end, with relatively expensive and high-quality products. In that case, you can also consider an upscale part of the city or even a station hall to offer gifts that are fond of travelers. Also, think about the clothing part and the constraints: hygiene standards, noise, etc.

You can also consider setting up a traveling business to sell candy in the markets. This itinerant activity can also be carried out on an ad hoc basis in addition to in-store sales (Christmas market or fair, for example).

Note: also take into account the cost of the lease or the purchase of the premises. The better you are placed, the more expensive it will be. But a relatively high price should not encourage you to take a room that is too small. You will need space to receive your customers, display your products and store merchandise.

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What legal status to create a candy store?

The next step in setting up a candy store is to look at the legal status of your company.

Far from being a simple administrative formality, the choice of the statute has a direct influence on how your company will be managed (existence of liability limited to contributions or not, amount of share capital, mode of governance) but also on the partner: number of partners, manager's social regime (general regime or self-employed regime), method of taxation (income tax or corporate tax).

Several possibilities are available to you to open your confectionery: sole proprietorship (EI), sole proprietorship with limited liability (EIRL), sole proprietorship with limited liability (EURL), limited liability company Limited, the simplified joint-stock company (SAS) or the simplified single-person joint-stock company (SASU).

You can also possibly sell sweets under the micro-entrepreneur regime (formerly self-employed) or choose the form of a cooperative or an association.

The human and material needs to open a confectionery

Next step: make the financial forecast for your future activity. For this, you will first need to determine the human and material needs essential to launch and maintain the exercise of your candy store.

The material needs for opening a candy store

The initial investment to open a candy store is substantial. Indeed, you will not only have to acquire or rent the premises but also to fit out the interior of your shop (shelves, stalls, decoration, possible screens), equip it with a payment terminal, not to mention the acquisition of your stock.

Suppose you create an artisanal confectionery, and you make your candies. In that case, you will also need to provide a space dedicated to the manufacture, packaging, and a place to store the raw materials. It may also be necessary to consider working in the room to bring the manufacturing space up to hygiene standards.

The staffing needs of a confectionery

You will also need to assess your personnel needs: sales, marketing, administrative and accounting management, manufacturing, maintenance.

You should then draw up a list of the positions you are going to recruit, specifying the salary and the skills and profiles sought.

Staff requirements will depend on the size of the store, the opening hours, and the exact nature of the activity (store alone or with the sale of sweets in the markets, manufacturing activity or not).

Additional services essential to a candy store

Your activity will therefore require several outsourced services (accounting, maintenance, etc.). Your financial forecast will also have to take into account the cost of insurance for your company.

Whatever the type of supplier, remember to request quotes from several companies to get a precise idea of ​​the amount to be included in your financial forecast. It will also allow you to compete and get the most valuable service.

The marketing plan of a candy store

You will also need to develop a marketing plan. And These are all the actions to be implemented to acquire and retain your customers.

On the one hand, you will have to support the launch of your candy store with means of communication to make yourself known (campaign in the local press, distribution of flyers, etc.).

And secondly, plan a marketing strategy to support the development of your business (setting up a loyalty card, running a community on social networks, etc.).

In any case, whatever actions you want to implement, you should list them and quantify their cost and potential impact.

The business plan of a confectionery

The next step in opening a candy store will then be to start writing your business plan.

The business plan is a sort of summary of your professional project. It will serve you both to test your future activity's financial viability and present your professional project to prospective investors.

Put it simply; a confectionery business plan has two parts:

  • A written part used to present the project and highlight its strengths
  • A quantified part, the famous financial forecast, underscoring the need for financing and the profitability potential of your candy stores

It is an essential document for the search for financing, making your financial partners want to support you. Therefore, approximations and errors are not allowed, and you will have to make a business plan as perfect in substance as in form.

Have you never made a business plan and not sure where to start? You can use an online business plan software that will guide you through the realization of the project.

Using specialized software to create a confectionery business plan has several advantages:

  • You will be guided step by step in the drafting by instructions and examples for each part of the plan
  • You will quickly realize your financial forecast, leaving the software to take care of the calculations and accounting aspects.
  • You will have access to business plan models already written
  • You will end up with a professional document, formatted, and ready to be sent to your bank

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Fundraising to start a candy store

The initial investment to open a candy store may be relatively large. It all depends on the surface and the exact nature of the activity.

Indeed, opening an industrial candy store requires less investment than opening an artisanal confectionery in which you will also need production space. If you also want to go to the markets, you should also plan to purchase a truck.

However, if the sum may be substantial, there are several ways to raise the necessary funds. And these means of financing are cumulative with each other.

First of all, having a personal contribution is essential to convince financial partners (banks or investors) to follow you. Equity is the money you can spend on the project.

To supplement this sum, you can turn to a banking establishment to take out a professional loan. Take the time to file requests with different banks to compete and get the most advantageous rate.

Another possible solution is to approach private investors, your relatives, or business angels in your region to suggest that they invest in your confectionery.

Also, think about crowdfunding and, more specifically, donation crowdfunding, which allows you to launch a fundraising campaign from individuals.

Finally, do not forget that there are many aids intended for business creators and buyers. Find out if you are eligible for one or more of these aids: they can give you a real boost by providing you with logistical and administrative support and tax credits or even total or partial exemption from social charges for a fixed period.