Offering Gluten-Free Cupcakes at Dollop

Offering Gluten-Free Cupcakes at Dollop

Offering Gluten-Free Cupcakes at Dollop


Heather Shaffer always had a love for frosting on cakes and cupcakes. She had a dream to start something in Rochester NY that had never been done before, and that dream was a gourmet cupcake bar. Heather first opened the 'Cupcake Dreamery' located in the Rochester Public Market, she closed this to pursue a retail presence in the baked goods industry. In June of 2010 Heather opened the first gourmet cupcake bar in Rochester NY called 'Dollop'. This gives customers the option to individualize a custom cupcake, they also offer customizable orders for special events and catering options. On February 19th 2012, Heather appeared on Food Networks 'Cupcake Wars', a competition in which four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. Heather came out victorious in this competition, and ever since her business has been booming.

Not only has the cupcake business been growing, but also a large market for gluten-free dessert has been on the rise. Dollop has not yet ventured into the gluten-free market, however to keep up with the health kick that has arisen Heather and her company are interested in offering cupcakes to tend to those who are not able to eat products containing gluten.


Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in the small intestine that within the past five years has been become a prominent medical problem in the United States. As of 2006 there were at least 3 million Americans diagnosed with celiac disease, meaning that about every 1 in 133 average healthy people have celiac disease and 97% of them are undiagnosed. (U Chicago) Celiac disease damages the small intestine lining and prevents absorption of nutrients that are crucial to staying healthy. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Because cupcakes are made with flour and other ingredients that include the gluten protein, individuals diagnosed with Celiac Disease are not able to enjoy the baked goods that other healthy individuals can enjoy.

The gourmet cupcake bar Dollop has noticed how this disease had sparked a gluten-free diet kick. By not offering gluten-free option Dollop unfortunately cannot tend to the health needs of those who a limited to a gluten-free diet. If Dollop were to offer gluten-free cupcake options, they could gain a larger clientele overall increasing their revenues and profits.


With at least 3 million Americans being limited to a gluten-free diet due to Celiac disease, offering gluten-free options is a problem that a majority of grocery stores, restaurants, and bakeries need to be concerned with. There have been studies shown that if there is one child or adult limited to a gluten free diet in a family of four or more, the gluten-free market goes from 3 million to 12 million. (U Chicago) With Dollop being located in Rochester NY, Heather and her company will be focusing their concerns to those affected by Celiac disease in the Rochester area. There are a limited number of places to get specialty cupcakes in Rochester and Dollop is the only gourmet cupcake bar located in Rochester, NY. With 210,000 people living in the Rochester area, this gives dollop a gluten-free market over/under around 1,500 people. Being as popular as Dollop is, being the only cupcake bar in Rochester NY to offer gluten-free options, would only add to their ever growing success since winning cupcake wars earlier in the year.


Many different steps were taken to access if offering gluten-free cupcakes would be a smart business venture for Dollop to embark in. The following areas the Sprino consultants used to approach the possible problem.

  • Gathered surveys collected from people living in Rochester who enjoy cupcakes
  • Collected data from local cupcake shops
  • Found out how other local businesses went about introducing gluten-free cupcakes.
  • Gathered data about Celiac disease and those who chose Gluten-free foods for diet options.
  • Researched prices of the cost of a single cupcake (gluten-free and regular) and costs of supplies needed to make the transition to gluten-free.


An abundance of useful data was collected in the surveys which taken by people living in the Rochester area. Sixtey-Two (62) people helped to give us the following information:

  • 97% of people who took the survey enjoy cupcakes
  • 35% of those people are gluten-free eaters
  • 73% of those people do not know where to buy gluten-free desserts

This is crucial information because it shows that people who do have a gluten-diet restricted diet who enjoy cupcakes, do not know where they could go to buy a gluten-free cupcake.

Sprino consultants talked to the owner of a bakery in Rochester that offers gluten-free cupcakes. Kristi Dellaria, owner of Dolce Cupcakes located in Rochester NY, is one of the only bakers in the area to offer gluten-free cupcakes. Dellaria informed the consultants that each day they are open for business, they have gluten-free cupcakes available. Dolce cupcakes makes anywhere from 24 to 36 gluten-free cupcakes a day, Dellariastated "we sell out of our gluten-free cupcakes every day, without fail!"


From the Data that we collected through surveys and talking to people about the issue, we have come up with some recommendations for Dollop.

1) FREE mini gluten-free cupcake

  • Before the big launch of offering gluten-free cupcakes, Dollop should offer a free mini gluten-free cupcake with every regular cupcake purchased at Dollop. This will help raise awareness that Dollop will be offering gluten-free, and also inform people how tasty gluten-free cupcakes are.

2) Holiday Presents

  • With many holidays only a few weeks away, we believe that now is a great time to introduce a new gluten-free cupcake to dollop. Posting adds about the newest addition to Dollop in the Democrat & Chronicle, and the local Penfield Post talking about "A Present To Your Family, From Our Family at Dollop!". Holidays bring families together from near and far, and who doesn't love a good dessert after a nice holiday meal. We believe having the option to bring gluten-free cupcakes to those loved ones with Celiac disease is a true blessing!

3) Social Media Spreading

  • With social media being such a large element of communication in today's society. This is a great way to get the word out that Dollop is now offering gluten-free cupcakes! On Twitter, Dollop has 1,300 'followers' and on Facebook Dollop has 4,000 followers( Figure 1). By posting on both of these social media sites, Dollop would be able to inform thousand of their fans about what is to come at Dollop.
  • Currently Dollop posts daily photos on their Facebook and Twitter accounts of their 'Cupcake of the Day', and they have multiple people comment on the photos about how delicious they look and how they will be going in to buy them.

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We estimate that the launch of gluten-free cupcakes at Dollop will take approximately two(2) months