Confidentiality Agreements

Business By southaustingirl Updated 27 Mar 2008 , 5:23pm by itsacake

southaustingirl Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 3:18pm
post #1 of 29

I was wondering about how bakery owners protect their recipes when they have several employees. Are they asked to sign a confidentaility agreement and agree not to share/sell the recepies? How can you truly protect yourself from this?

28 replies
kettlevalleygirl Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 3:23pm
post #2 of 29

Good question!!

indydebi Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 3:35pm
post #3 of 29

Since I'm getting ready to hire some kids to make cookie dough balls for me, I think I've got it covered just in the quantities on the recipes. Not too many people are going to go home and put 5 lbs minus 2 cups of flour in a mixer; add 12 or 14 eggs or 4-5 lbs of chocolate chips on one batch.

This also helps when people ask for your recipes. I barely get past "One 5-lb bag of flour, 14 eggs....." when they stop me with, "ok, ok, never mind!" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

TheButterWench Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 3:42pm
post #4 of 29

ah, but I have a kitchen Calc (tm) that converts recipes up or down.

* giggles

indydebi Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 3:49pm
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheButterWench

ah, but I have a kitchen Calc (tm) that converts recipes up or down.

* giggles




ah man! There's always one in the bunch! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

TheButterWench Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 3:51pm
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheButterWench

ah, but I have a kitchen Calc (tm) that converts recipes up or down.

* giggles



ah man! There's always one in the bunch! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif




* still giggling as I'm converting my large batch recipes into sensible sized ones! lol

It's actually a great tool, not too expensive. I think I paid like 30 bucks for it (??)

and it also converts my pounds ounces and into metric

and some other coo thumbs_up.gif

LovelyCreations Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:16pm
post #7 of 29

Sounds like a great tool! Where could I get one those?

tiggy2 Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:28pm
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheButterWench

ah, but I have a kitchen Calc (tm) that converts recipes up or down.

* giggles



I have one of those too and it's great. I may have gotten it at Sears but I can't remember. You might also try Linens N things

TheButterWench Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:28pm
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyCakes

Sounds like a great tool! Where could I get one those?




Here is the web site, I hope it will post. If not pm me.

www.calculated.com

It's actually selling for $24.99 on the web site, you just have to hit specialy calculator then chef

here's what it does:

"Hand-held Recipe Scaling Calculator with Digital Timer

An indispensable kitchen tool the KitchenCalc⢠is an easy-to-use, hand-held calculator that's small enough to store in your kitchen utility drawer. It's an innovative kitchen aid that helps you increase or decrease recipe yields or portions quickly and accurately. No more "guesstimating" ingredient quantities! With the KitchenCalc⢠you'll save time in the kitchen and produce great-tasting meals when entertaining, meal planning or simply cooking for two!

It helps you:

Accurately scale recipes up or down
Scale for number of servings, portions, or both
Convert cooking volume units
Convert units of weight
Convert temperatures
For the Home, Gourmet Cooks, Chefs Caterers and Culinary Schools"

"Dedicated Functions:

Accurately scale recipes up or down
Scale for number of servings, portions, or both
Convert cooking volume units:
Teaspoons, Tablespoons, Fluid Ounces, Cups, Pints, Quarts, Gallons, Milliliters, Centiliters, Liters, even Dash and Pinch
Convert units of weight:
Dry Ounces, Pounds, Grams, Kilograms
Convert between temperatures
°C and °F
Metric unit conversions helps you use popular international recipes
Time Saving Utilities:

Work directly in kitchen fractions
e.g., 1/2 C
Do quick math with cooking units
e.g., 1-1/4 Tsp x 7, 3-1/3 C. minus 11-1/2 Oz.
Use the count up/down digital kitchen timer
Use the timer independently or while using the calculator
Works as standard calculator
Includes:

360-degree flip-over, hinged, hard- case
Easy-to-follow Userâs Guide
Soft, clear vinyl cover protects keys during use and allows easy cleaning
Long-life battery
Full One-year Limited Warranty "

Lenette Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:29pm
post #10 of 29

I have heard employees signing a non-compete form (I'm sure this is not the proper name). Basically, they can't go around the block and open a bakery for so long after working for you. Something like that, I'm no lawyer. That may be something to check into. icon_smile.gif

LovelyCreations Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:42pm
post #11 of 29

A non-compete may be one option.

What about copyrighting a recipe? Can that be done? If so, you will definitely have all rights to it and may be able to 'go after' anyone who uses it without your permission.

ButterWench, thanks so much for the info! Going to place my order today! icon_biggrin.gif

Petit-four Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:43pm
post #12 of 29

I typed "non-disclosure legal" into google, and found several sites with sample pre-approved legal language that might help.

Also -- as a way to handle recipe requests -- give 'em a great recipe you don't sell...I typed up a few great bar cookies recipes, added my logo and phone number, and printed them on colored paper. I tape them to each cake order.

They get saved, or passed around at parties. I just got a call from someone saying "I got your number out of my mom's recipe file."

Just a few ideas...

indydebi Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:48pm
post #13 of 29

I like that non-selling recipe idea!

gandelmom Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:50pm
post #14 of 29

you could pre-mix part of the recipe in large batches-like the dry ingredients. That way they don't know what in it or the quantity. Just a thought!

BrandisBaked Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:05pm
post #15 of 29

As far as keeping people from using "your" recipes. If a cookie tastes like yours, how can you prove it's the exact same recipe? You can have someone sign something like that, but in my opinion, it's pretty much useless in light of the fact that most chocolate chip cookies, etc. are pretty much the same basic recipe. If you really don't want someone finding out your formulas, have different people mix different parts of the recipe (that's what the big manufacturers do). I doubt anyone will get together and compare notes.

I worked for someone who acted like she spent YEARS perfecting her recipes, when in fact, she just spent a lot of time testing recipes she found in cookbooks and online - which didn't quite make them "hers". LOL!

TheButterWench Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:15pm
post #16 of 29

[quote="Petit-four"]

Also -- as a way to handle recipe requests -- give 'em a great recipe you don't sell...I typed up a few great bar cookies recipes, added my logo and phone number, and printed them on colored paper. I tape them to each cake order.
quote]

Great Marketing tool thumbs_up.gif

Petit-four Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:26pm
post #17 of 29

I've actually never had a "nosy" recipe request since they've got a printed recipe right there (and they're good ones!).

Thanks for the feedback -- I've learned a lot from you CC "masters." icon_smile.gif Happy to share a low-budget tip.

cakedout Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 6:11pm
post #18 of 29

I worked in a bakery where we used a cooked base for our icing. The eveing crew made the base, and the day crew made the icing using the base. As far as I know, the recipe for the base was never written down anywhere- except maybe the manager's office! The evening crew had to memorize the ingredients, and with 2 different crews making only parts of the icing, it was difficult to get the entire recipe.

JulieB Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 9:57am
post #19 of 29

This whole thread reminds me of Phoebe and Monica trying to replicate the recipe that came from Phoebe's grandmother............. for Tollhouse Cookies! LOL

Some restaurants actually give out recipes, I know Luby's does, and what's the harm? How many people ask for it and never use it. The fun of eating out, or ordering cake, is eating out, or ordering cake!

indydebi Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 10:31am
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieB

Some restaurants actually give out recipes, I know Luby's does, and what's the harm? How many people ask for it and never use it. The fun of eating out, or ordering cake, is eating out, or ordering cake!




There's lots of websites where you can get Olive Garden and Beni Hana recipes .... but i never make them; I prefer to go to the restaurant!

FlowerGirlMN Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 10:55am
post #21 of 29

Bah, who needs restaurant recipies?

If there's something you want to try at home, the fun is flying blind with it!

I actually re created our favorite dish from a little Indian Bistro, totally unguided. Turned out great! Just entered it in a recipe contest, actually!

On topic though.. I got burned by employees in my last career. That is the ONE big obstacle in my way for opening a retail bakery - I don't trust people anymore,and I don't know that I will ever trust enough to let myself be put in that position again.

If I DO end up going crazy and hiring... you better believe there will be some hardcore contracts involved. HARD CORE. No compete, confidentiality.. hrm.. I wonder if any lawyer would add something like disemboweling as a penalty for breech? LOL.

Sorry.. SERIOUSLY burned.

gandelmom Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 1:11pm
post #22 of 29

can we ask what happened?! icon_eek.gif

FlowerGirlMN Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 1:19pm
post #23 of 29

I'd rather not discuss it. Hard enough to "go there" enough for that post, don't want to sour my day any further by revisiting the whole ugly mess.

gandelmom Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 1:34pm
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowerGirlMN

I'd rather not discuss it. Hard enough to "go there" enough for that post, don't want to sour my day any further by revisiting the whole ugly mess.


No problem!!
Have a great day!

travelingcakeplate Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 1:51pm
post #25 of 29

Oh my gosh. This reminds me a story... A friend of a friend of my mother's went to some fancy place to eat a while ago and ordered dessert, chocolate cookies or something. She was so impressed with it that she asked jokingly, "hey, what's the recipe?" The waiter later brought out the recipe. When the check came for her bill, they charged her for it! (thousands of dollars.) She was appalled and said, she was just joking, but they would not remove the charge from her bill because she had quote "already looked at it!"

UNBELIEVEABLE!

pastrylady Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 2:36pm
post #26 of 29

I've worked in lots of different venues over the years: restaurants, caterers, wholesale and retail bakeries. I've never been asked to sign any kind of confidentiality agreement.

I worked for one very famous pastry chef who was pretty protective of his recipes. The basic recipes you made from the very beginning. The more specialized recipes you weren't allowed to see until you worked there for some time. One recipe, for this incredible Christmas stollen, we were never allowed to mix ourselves. Bummer!

As a pastry chef, I've always felt that there is somewhat a tacit agreement that part of the give and take of working for someone is that you learn their recipes to help you, hopefully, one day develop your own style.

Also, as we all know, five people can make the exact same recipe and you'll get five different outcomes. Just because someone gets your recipe doesn't mean they'll be able to reproduce it the same way you do.

As far as customers, if I'm asked for a recipe I just reply that I don't give out my recipes, but I will recommend certain books (such as The Cake Bible) that have great recipes to work from. Most people seem to understand.

indydebi Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 2:43pm
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pastrylady

Also, as we all know, five people can make the exact same recipe and you'll get five different outcomes. Just because someone gets your recipe doesn't mean they'll be able to reproduce it the same way you do.




You betcha! My oatmeal cookie recipe comes straight off of the Quaker Oats box .... but I get lots of comments of "Mine never turn out like yours!"

TheButterWench Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 4:33pm
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pastrylady

I've worked in lots of different venues over the years: restaurants, caterers, wholesale and retail bakeries. I've never been asked to sign any kind of confidentiality agreement.

I worked for one very famous pastry chef who was pretty protective of his recipes. The basic recipes you made from the very beginning. The more specialized recipes you weren't allowed to see until you worked there for some time. One recipe, for this incredible Christmas stollen, we were never allowed to mix ourselves. Bummer!

As a pastry chef, I've always felt that there is somewhat a tacit agreement that part of the give and take of working for someone is that you learn their recipes to help you, hopefully, one day develop your own style.

Also, as we all know, five people can make the exact same recipe and you'll get five different outcomes. Just because someone gets your recipe doesn't mean they'll be able to reproduce it the same way you do.

As far as customers, if I'm asked for a recipe I just reply that I don't give out my recipes, but I will recommend certain books (such as The Cake Bible) that have great recipes to work from. Most people seem to understand.




I so agree with this statement also, as as a recent grad of Culinary school you do get sort of mentored and it's just understood that you take what you learn and run with it and make it different, make it your own or add your own flair to it.

itsacake Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 5:23pm
post #29 of 29

Yup! My experience exactly matches what pastrylady and TheButterWench said.

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