S2 E14 Turning Cheesecake into a Business

How do you take a trusted family recipe for wonderful, melt-in-your mouth cheesecake and turn it in to a full time business you are passionate about? 

Learn how as we talk with the CEO of Wichita Cheesecake Company and 2019 visionary award winner for entrepreneur of the year, Mark Daniels.  Mark talks about how he can to the Wichita area on active duty in the United States Air Force. Liked the area so much, he stayed and earned a BA degree in business from Wichita State, where he took advantage of the programs to develop an entrepreneurial business and started forming his business plan. 

The company is 100% bootstrapped with their own savings and they have taken a planned approach of building up, testing the market, watching demand and marketing with local events and the good recommendations of their customers. 

Wichita Cheesecake Company is a premier family owned bakery based in Wichita, Kansas devoted to delivering a high-quality dessert that is decadent and delicious each and every time.  From a small dinner party or birthday celebration to a bridal shower, wedding, or corporate event, Wichita Cheese Company offers an exquisite assortment of goodness made from scratch. They have added catering, delivery and special events from their Union Station cafe. Their cheesecake is also featured in various local restaurants, where you get it really fresh and o so good. 

Mark and Grace Daniels are passionate about cheesecake and started The Wichita Cheesecake Company, after earning attention with some high-profile gigs around town. Encouraged by the response they’ve gotten, they opened a sit-down cheesecake cafe with coffee and tea making it the perfect place for a morning or afternoon break. 

The idea for a cheesecake company came from Grace Daniels’ love for cheesecake, which she first tasted as a 13-year-old girl at a family dinner. She loved it so much, she learned how to make cheesecake, and as an adult, she would serve her cakes at family functions and for special occasions. Her family would encourage her to consider opening a cheesecake business, but that didn't happen right away. 

After a nephew requested a cheesecake for an office party and it was a big hit, Grace and Mark started making custom ordered cheesecake. Next they presented their cheesecakes at a two-day wedding expo, preparing 500 samples, which disappeared into delighted future brides within two hours. The next day, another 500 samples were consumed within just a few hours and Mark and Grace knew they have a future business.

They got access to a commercial bakery and started a business called All About Cheesecake. They started by approaching several top caterers and event planners in the Wichita area and offering their cheesecake from a booth at Botanica’s weekly Tuesdays on the Terrace concerts, where they sold cheesecake for $4 a slice to concertgoers.

The response was so good the couple decided to get serious about their dream of opening a brick-and-mortar café, and rebranded as the Wichita Cheesecake Company. Their first retail outlet opened next to the refurbished Union Station next to the Old Town district.

The couple serves up cheesecake in 30 plus flavors and sizes, from minis to by-the-slice to whole.

Learn more at their website

 https://www.wichitacheesecakecompany.com/

 Find them on Facebook

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