Grocery Store Bakery

Decorating By IloveYorkies85 Updated 17 Apr 2008 , 9:13am by AKA_cupcakeshoppe

IloveYorkies85 Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 2:42am
post #1 of 28

I am interested in working at one of the bakeries in a grocery store. I currently have a desk job, but love doing cakes, and think this might be more fulfilling to me. Does anyone know what to expect? I know they don't have FABULOUS cakes, but at least it is doing cakes. icon_smile.gif
I've never worked in a bakery, and I just am nervous about the way the do things, do they even bake their cakes in the store? etc....
Does anyone know??

Thanks, going to interview tomorrow.

27 replies
DoniB Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 2:47am
post #2 of 28

It depends on which store you're working for. Most of the major chains have frozen cakes shipped in, ready to ice as soon as they thaw, from what I understand. And there's not a lot of creativity allowed/involved. But it IS working in a bakery, sort of.

I'm actually waiting to hear back on a job with a local grocery store as cake decorator, so I'm looking forward to seeing the answers you get, too! icon_smile.gif

cwcopeland Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 2:50am
post #3 of 28

I don't know either. I'd like to know what other people have to say.

I've thought about going to work for a bakery to get lots of experience on the basic stuff (because there are no bakeries around here do fancy cakes).

playingwithsugar Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 2:54am
post #4 of 28

Doni -

Wow, your piping skills are great! I hope you two get the jobs, but don't be surprised when they tell you that you are too fussy about the outcome of your products.

My friend, whom I will call H, worked in a supermarket bakery for a while. They told her that she is taking too long, because she is trying to be too perfect (not their exact words, but you get the jist).

Not trying to rain on your parade, but they are all about production, with little regard as to whether the edges of your roses are cracking, or how perfect they are.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

cakes21 Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 2:57am
post #5 of 28

I have worked for Wal-martand their cakes were frozen and even some with filling in them already. That is how it goes about it being "just a bakery cake" and you really are not allowed much time for them. I did a skills test for king soopers and the first thing the lady told me was to forget everything you learned in class.

DoniB Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 3:02am
post #6 of 28

funny, but I was just talking about this with a friend tonight. I took the 'moving box' cake to my best friends' going away party tonight, and a friend of theirs actually works in the deli-bakery of the same chain that I'll hopefully be working in. She said the same thing about production. icon_smile.gif

I told her, and I'll admit it here... that job will be for survival and experience. Nothing more. I KNOW that I wont' be expected to be perfect, and to be a little vain, they won't be paying me enough to get my mad skillzzz. icon_razz.gif Seriously, though... I have enough friends and family who come up with plenty of reasons and ideas for cakes... the job will NOT be my creative outlet, nor a career choice, in that I won't be trying to stay there! LOL

But when I talked with a small business adviser last fall, he said that part of what a bank or lending/grant institution or committee will look at, when I go with hands out to ask for a loan to open my own shop, is 'due diligence'. Part of that is to pick the brains of a local baker, and have them as a mentor. I have that part covered. icon_smile.gif The other part is to actually work in a bakery, and he said that it wouldn't matter which KIND, that supermarket would be fine, because the idea is to get experience with deadlines, production, and volume, as well as learning about ordering and such.

So for me, the job would be a stop along the way. It might last several years, until I'm in a position to go out on my own, but it would not be something I intend to do for the rest of my life. icon_smile.gif And I'll do what they want me to do, because they're the ones with the paychecks and I want one. icon_smile.gif But I'll still do cakes at home, when I can and need to, for family and friends, and let my creativity shine there. icon_smile.gif

Wow, that got long. Sorry about that! LOL

PS Thanks for the compliment!

jodei Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 3:03am
post #7 of 28

Actually I work at a grocery store bakery. It is a lot about production but at the same time there is a lot of room for creativity. If it wasn't for getting my job there I'm not sure how great i'd be at some of the things i do. You get so much more experience by working in a bakery like that compared to at home especially from where I am from. I can't hardly find one home type cake decorator. At the store that I worked at we did buy the cakes in frozen but then we started to make them by scratch. So it defintely depends where you go. I was also told that i am too picky at some of my work but I haven't had any complaints from customer so not too worried about it. I love it and wouldn't change anything right now unless I had a guarentee that i could do it from home and make the same kind of money. Good luck. I think both of you will love it.

all4cake Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 3:03am
post #8 of 28

like DoniB stated, it depends on the bakery...the majority of them are looking for many you and produce during your shift.

At Sam's, the first thing they said to me was, "We don't pay you to be creative". We were required to produce 10-12 decorated cakes per HOUR. On occasion, I would sneak in a little sumpin' sumpin' extra. For the most part, I was thrilled about the "their time, their cakes" attitude I had adapted to....and would respond without hesitation, "If it ain't in the book or on the board, I can't do it". There's also the dessert cakes and cupcakes. Some grocery stores also require the decorator to stock, and cover deli as well.

They were CONSTANTLY reminding me to maintain the company policy on decorated cakes all the way up until there was the company wide competition....they entered me into it...

When I found out, I went to management...simply stated, "I'm so sorry. You don't pay me to be creative."

IloveYorkies85 Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 3:19am
post #9 of 28

Hmmmm... I guess Ill just go and take a peek. I am a beginner, so maybe this would be a good step to just get the experience. I'm not sure I could handle not being able to put my own twist on things though.

dinas27 Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 3:34am
post #10 of 28
Originally Posted by all4cake

When I found out, I went to management...simply stated, "I'm so sorry. You don't pay me to be creative."

WELL DONE! Good for you for sticking up for yourself... I would have paid to see their faces icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

BCJean Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 3:34am
post #11 of 28

32 years ago I started working in a bakery as a cake decorator. I have worked in a total of 4 grocery store bakeries and 3 bakery, bakeries. I have loved every minute of it. No, you cannot take the time to make everything perfect. What you can do is make cakes which make the average customer very happy with a cake they can afford. Because of the time limit, it has been a real challenge for me to figure out how to make my own designs in a way which can be done in 10 minutes. I never get bored, I make a total of about 20 cakes if they are special orders, usually with kits, and about 40 cakes if I use my own designs. When I first start at a new bakery they always tell me they have set designs. Gradually I work my designs in and they have never told me to stop making them.

I have worked in bakeries where they baked their own cake and ones where the cakes came in frozen. When we baked our own cakes they baked once or twice a week and froze them.

I don't think I would ever work in a Wal-Mart or Costco or Sams club. Choose a bakery which charges more for their cakes and give you a little more time.

All of the cakes in my photos are cakes I have made at work.

I love working with cake all day, being creative, getting a weekly paycheck (which I live on), having benefits, and coming home after work to a clean kitchen.

I say, give it a try. Just be careful about which one you apply at.

IloveYorkies85 Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 4:54am
post #12 of 28

I took the job, and I was so excited b/c they were soooo nice and loved my cakes, I asked NO questions!! icon_surprised.gif Hope I enjoy it.
They also paid alot more than I expected.... I thought it would be really low, but they are in a major bind, and their cakes aren't so hot I guess. I am so excited, I go in Monday, Ill let yall know how it goes!!!

all4cake Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 5:13am
post #13 of 28

Congratulations and the best of luck to you!!!!

CarolAnn Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 5:40am
post #14 of 28

Erica, Good for you! I hope you like the job. It ought to be a good experience and fill a need at the same time. I don't think I could hack working in a bakery full time. For one thing I think the smells would get to me. I love the smell of cakes baking and well I have candles going at home that smell like bc, so you KNOW I live that scent. I just don't do well working with food all day every day. I found that out when I worked a short stint at a burger joint years ago. I have a wood shop and never ever get tired of the smell of wood.

I hope the job proves to be a fun experience for you! Let us know ow it goes. I'll be waiting to hear.

TheButterWench Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 5:54am
post #15 of 28

Hi, let me chime in here for a moment about applying to work in a bakery.

I have a small shop I just opened so obviously I'm not looking for someone yet, but if I was I would NOT hire any of the 4 people that have called me just this week alone.

I will tell you all why, giving you guys a heads up.

first person that called me, her accent was soooo thick that even I could not understand her and couldn't tell if it was an Asian or Spanish accent. Not being biased but if I'm going to take money out of my pocket to hire you I would like for you to be able to answer the phone and take orders over the phone. I got frustrated speaking with this person after about the 5th time I asked her to please repeat herself.

2nd person that called was someone asking me what kind of cakes I did in my shop, thinking she was a customer I was engaging her in my sales pitch, then she caught me off guard by telling me she had a "friend" that did cupcakes in California and was looking for a job and was I looking. I was so stunned that all I could say was to have her come in with her portfolio and we could talk. I would not hire this person if they came in because if you need someone to call in for you then I don't need you. I smell trouble here or someone that I'd have to hand hold and I can't/won't do that eighter and if theyhad their own business in California, what is to keep them from coming in, working, saving and opening up with my techniques down the street. ( not that they would I'm in an iffy neighborhood anyway, but you guys get my drift)

the other 2 called and asked for jobs. Not.

I feel like this, you want me to hire you then come across as a professional. Call me in the beginning of the week when it's not so crazy busy and make an appointment to come in. ( that shows that you respect my time)

Then come in with a little resume and or small portfolio of work that you have done, talk to me for a few minutes. Let me know what you can do for me, what you expect from me salary and benefit wise. Shake my hand leave me the paperwork that has contact information and let me think on it and call you back if I would like to offer you a job.

Calling me up to ask me if I have a job makes me think of the person that is just too darned lazy to be bothered and I'm not going to be bothered to tell them to please come in and let me waste my time talking with them.

Does this make any sense? lol

So, working in a bakery, ANY bakery is great experience. It will help increase your speed. Help you adjust to the work. You can always sneak in a few creative things ONCE you prove that you can do what is required. I think they may even encourage it because after all, it's just going the extra step for a customer.

Just make sure that you don't go in guns blazing that you're going to do things your way. Learn and perfect their standards then you can always trow in that little sumpthin sumpthin as the other poster wrote. lol

DoniB Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 1:46pm
post #16 of 28
Originally Posted by IloveYorkies85

I took the job, and I was so excited b/c they were soooo nice and loved my cakes, I asked NO questions!! icon_surprised.gif Hope I enjoy it.
They also paid alot more than I expected.... I thought it would be really low, but they are in a major bind, and their cakes aren't so hot I guess. I am so excited, I go in Monday, Ill let yall know how it goes!!!

Yay!!! Good luck! Let us know how it goes!!! icon_smile.gif

IloveYorkies85 Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 9:49pm
post #17 of 28

I have mixed emotions about my first day today. Maybe I wasn't really ready to work at a bakery, even at a GROCERY STORE. My first three cakes weren't on time, but they were very unorganized, and did not get me enough time, and they were not as basic as I expected them to be.... anyway. My buttercream roses aren't all that hot, I normally used fondant, and they made a comment about them. Besides that, I am VERY sensitive and it really hurt my feelings, even though I know I shouldnt take it so personal.
I guess Ill work on buttercream roses, ANY TIPS???
I hope it gets better or I won't last a week.

DoniB Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 10:22pm
post #18 of 28

make up some buttercream and practice this evening? icon_smile.gif that's what I've been doing, just in case I get the call this week... I have done a ton of roses, but usually in RI, not in buttercream. It's different, since you have to make them so that they can be transferred, instead of being able to leave them alone till they dry nice and hard. icon_razz.gif

I'll be looking for tips, too! icon_smile.gif

Good luck!

cwcopeland Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 10:52pm
post #19 of 28

My buttercream roses are terrible. They're good when I practice but that's not too often. I don't get many requests for them.

Like the last poster said, you need to practice.

I know you'll do great! Just know that we're cheering you on!

all4cake Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:22am
post #20 of 28

The first week pretty much sucks eggs, I think. After this week, you'll know more and it'll get easier. Keep in mind, too, they're in a big bind it being graduation/mother's day/memorial day, get in there and do your best(not that you wouldn't) and don't let it all get to you.

They need you. They won't always tell you what you are headed for but if they've ever gone through this season, they know how important it is to have you there. It might be a little rougher on you going in at this time than it would've been say...mid-July.

I wish you all the best!

xstitcher Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 6:11am
post #21 of 28

Good luck to you all! Hope everything works out for you guys.

I've got the same idea, unfortunately I'm a SAHM of 4 kids (ranging from 5 months to 5 years) and I'm home schooling the oldest. Perhaps next year when the babies a little older I'll give it a go as well (part-time that is).

Wish you all the best of luck!

Parm icon_smile.gif

BCJean Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 6:45am
post #22 of 28

I don't know how you make your buttercream roses but if you don't make them on a stick, I would consider learning that method. It is a lot faster and makes really nice, full roses. Soon you will discover you have different gears for decorating. If you have plenty of time you cruise along in low gear. With time being of essence you will soon find you can shift up and do the same work at a much faster speed. Speed is something that is really difficult to practice at home. If you learn to make the roses, one after another, without really thinking about it, the speed will come. I am sure they will give you more than one day to accomplish this.

Don't get frustrated. Learn to think ahead. While you are making the rose, you are thinking where you will place it on the cake. When making the leaves you are thinking about what style of lettering you will use and how to fit it in the space left.
I have lots of little tips if you ever want to pm me with something you aren't confident in.

When you get started working with buttercream you will find it is a lot of fun.

IloveYorkies85 Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 4:06am
post #23 of 28

Ok I feel really bad, but I can't handle it. Maybe the problem is that I am going part time with another full time job, so I went in at seven tonight and no one was there. I started the orders for Wednesday, and Thursday. I did the ones I felt most comfortable doing first. (three small tinkerbell and cinderella doll cakes) When I got to the next orders, as you know they use kits to decorate the cakes. I couldnt find any of the correct pieces, and two of the orders didn't even say which cake kits to use, or which cake it was in the book in the store... how the heck am I supposed to know???? I can't handle that kind of stress!
I found the only manager there and apologized for not being able to complete everything, that it wasn't going to work out. I come still come in on my scheduled day if they were really in a bind, but I can't work without INSTRUCTIONS. that maybe i'm not experienced enough.
I'm not stressed out about it now, a little relieved.
Sorry to disappoint yall! But its not for me!! icon_redface.gif

all4cake Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 4:34am
post #24 of 28

aaaaaaaaaaaw...You didn't disappoint us. I know exactly what you mean though about not having instructions. I am proud of you for speaking up before it had a chance to get to you. Maybe you opened their eyes to part of the problem.

At the bakeries I worked, the main cake decorator told everyone else how to take the orders so that it was easier for her to translate.

Don't feel bad at all.

How do ya do one of them big ol' hugs??? Here's a hug for ya!

BCJean Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 4:50am
post #25 of 28

I can't believe they had you work by yourself when you hadn't even been trained yet.
I certainly don't blame you for not wanting to deal with that.
We always take the customers phone number so if I ever have questions about the order I can call them.
If another opportunity comes up, please don't judge all jobs with the experience you had there.
In the mean time, enjoy your decorating.

DoniB Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 9:59am
post #26 of 28

Don't beat yourself up about it... you can't work without instructions! icon_razz.gif

Just keep practicing at home, and like BCJean says, don't judge another opportunity by this one... most places I know of are a lot more organized than that. sheesh!

loriana Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 2:14pm
post #27 of 28

Hey, Read through the thread... I agree with the other posters. Don't beat yourself up about it. They definitely should not have expected you to work by yourself the first few days and understand the ins and outs of orders for the next day. You were a trooper and went in there with a great attitude. You might want to give it another chance elsewhere in order to get that crucial experience you need for your loan and to learn about running a business of "whipping" out cakes a bit faster than we are used to in our own homes.

I worked for Kroger's bakery for an entire summer while I was pregnant about a year and a half ago. It was an enlightening experience, I can tell you. I did learn a lot as the other posters said about speed and trying to get good basic workmanship while keeping up the pace with what they expected of me.

I really thing it would be a good idea to try another bakery and let the bakery manager know about your previous experience with needing more info on orders, especially your first week.

Working in a bakery does have the benefits of giving you "over and over" experience in smoothing a cake, making a great shell border, practicing roses, practicing vines, leaves and floral designs. And you get some good ideas from using kits. I also got some good airbrush practice so when I bought my first airbrush, I was "up and up" on how it operated and what speed and density to airbrush with, etc.... another plus is learning to do cupcake pull-apart cakes. These were fun to get creative with!

Now, the downside as you will find out if you choose another grocery store bakery... depressing co-workers who have been stuck in low gear for years, not really caring about their skills and who never do cakes in their free time. It is not a love or hobby for them. Every store has some of these. Also, most bakeries do ask you to learn to use the meat slicer, and help out in the deli or with the bread baking, cookie baking, etc... along with cakes. I found this rather a chore and didn't enjoy taking commercially-processed ready-made loaves of dough out of the freezer in big boxes and sticking them in the oven. That wasn't baking to me. Decorating cakes became something I did only a few hours a week during baking hours.

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 17 Apr 2008 , 9:13am
post #28 of 28
Originally Posted by cakes21

I have worked for Wal-martand their cakes were frozen and even some with filling in them already. That is how it goes about it being "just a bakery cake" and you really are not allowed much time for them. I did a skills test for king soopers and the first thing the lady told me was to forget everything you learned in class.

my bf lives in CO and when we live together, i'm hoping to get a job from king soopers too. he tells me that the cakes there are baked fresh. is that true? good luck with the job icon_biggrin.gif

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