DELIVERY FIRM SEEKS TO GIVE THE CAKE

ATLANTA -- A new company here, Cakes 2 U, is looking to become the FTD of the bakery industry, and will source cakes for delivery from supermarket in-store bakeries.Ten to 15 supermarket chains have already agreed orally to participate in the program. The first to formally sign on is 80-unit Minyard Food Stores, Coppell, Texas, said Arthur Schultz, founder and president of Cakes 2 U.The bakery director

ATLANTA -- A new company here, Cakes 2 U, is looking to become the FTD of the bakery industry, and will source cakes for delivery from supermarket in-store bakeries.

Ten to 15 supermarket chains have already agreed orally to participate in the program. The first to formally sign on is 80-unit Minyard Food Stores, Coppell, Texas, said Arthur Schultz, founder and president of Cakes 2 U.

The bakery director at Minyard could not be reached at press time for comment.

Schultz said he's targeting supermarket bakeries as suppliers for the nationwide cake delivery system because of their quality control standards. "Whether they're baking from scratch, mixes or buying frozen layers, all the supermarket bakeries I know of are producing a quality product when it comes to cakes. And they're consistent," he said.

Supermarkets' long hours also present an advantage for quick delivery, Schultz said.

Cakes 2 U makes no charge to the bakery. Nor does it grant a bakery exclusive delivery rights in an area. One bakery director for a large Northeast supermarket chain contacted by SN said it would only make sense for his company to participate if the cakes were identified as coming from his chain. "It would be a great way to establish store identity," he said. Market research for Cakes 2 U, however, found that potential customers did not want cakes to be identified as coming from a supermarket bakery. Consumers who participated in the research said they see a supermarket name as a stigma when connected with a special-occasion cake.

But other information gathered via the research indicates they would use an FTD-type delivery for cakes. The market research firm did 1,015 interviews with consumers and conducted focus groups in four locations.

"Some people said they found flowers boring, that they'd send a cake to a man while they wouldn't send him flowers, and that cakes are hard to ship. So they would welcome a system that ensures safe delivery," Schultz said.

Here's how it works: A would-be customer calls a toll-free number and orders from a selection of standard-sized cakes, with a choice of decorations. A Cakes 2 U brochure lists several -- all generally available in supermarket bakeries. A sampling of prices, including delivery: a single-layer, 8-inch round, $14.99; a double-layer, 8-inch round, $19.99; and a quarter-sheet, $29.99.

After the customer makes his selection, the order is relayed to an in-store bakery near the point of delivery.

Direct mail, radio spots and ads in such publications as USA Today will tell consumers about Cakes 2 U, Schultz said.