Any Thoughts On Grocery Store Baker/decorating Jobs?

Decorating By rdiesing Updated 22 Jun 2008 , 12:11am by lovinkakes

rdiesing Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 9:12pm
post #1 of 30

I have been on the job hunt for over 6 months now. I'm looking beyond my professional scope and trying to get a job doing what I love as a hobby. I applied at our local grocery store bakery out of desperation and got a call for an interview next week. Would this be a good move to learn more about the business or is it not worth it? I'm only asking because we all hate Wal-mart cakes, etc. If I work for a local grocer, is it "Going to the Dark Side?"

29 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 9:49pm
post #2 of 30

Go for it!!! We all have to pay the bills somehow and it's nice when it can be by doing something that we really like.

I know everyone puts down walmart cakes...but I've noticed that lately the walmarts around here have some talented decorators. You can really tell the difference when someone cares about their job. It's good experience and I heard working in a grocery store helps increase your speed at decorating, which is useful if you ever open up your own shop icon_lol.gif

Mike1394 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 10:37pm
post #3 of 30

Nah don't do it. Your only looking for a job for six months, and you've found a place that is willing to interview you for something you love to do. No I wouldn't.

Mike

korkyo Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 10:54pm
post #4 of 30

I worked retail for years.... 22 to be exact. You won't really learn much about the business aspects but you will learn more skills. Speed in particular. I figure it can't hurt. If you don't like it after 30 days then quit. no biggie.icon_smile.gif

qubanqtee Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 10:58pm
post #5 of 30

you have nothing to lose, like it was said before, if you don't like it you can always quit...but wat happens if you like it and learn something? Give it a go.

womanzano Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 10:58pm
post #6 of 30

Do it! I decorate at a grocery store bakery and like a pp said, it does increase your speed. Plus, even though I mostly do bc sheet cakes at work, I do get special orders quite often. I had three fondant cakes and a ganache covered cake with chocolate dipped strawberries this last weekend. Do I want to do it for the rest of my cake decorating days? Probably not...but in the mean time I get paid to do what I love.

Marysmom Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:02pm
post #7 of 30

I would do it. You could focus on improving your writing skills as well as your buttercream flower skills.

In addition, when you work for a bakery you can usually get deals on various cake supplies. Like cake boards, boxes, certain kinds of sprinkles.

You might also get folks who are asking for designs the bakery can't/won't do. Perhaps you could do them.

jennifer7777 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:08pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Nah don't do it. Your only looking for a job for six months, and you've found a place that is willing to interview you for something you love to do. No I wouldn't.

Mike




O.k...you totally misunderstood what she was saying. She said she's been looking for 6 months, not needs a job for 6 months. And the interview IS doing something she loves, which is her hobby, which is cake decorating. LOL...I won't say anything about how you're a man, and you guys don't "hear" things right anyway!! LOL (please don't be mad at me...I just couldn't resist!)

But anyway, to you rdiesing...take it! No, everyone does not hate Wal-Mart cakes...just as decorators we know the difference in quality. And no, working for the grocery store is not going to the dark side. What will happen is people will see your unique decorating abilities, as opposed to others who may just "slap up a cake" and they will start to request you as their decorator (this happened to a friend of mine who is an awesome decorator, with customers "on the side" but worked in Wal-Mart!) She said people started specifically asking for her.
So, as long as you can pay the bills with this job, take it! Good luck.

barbaranoel Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:11pm
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marysmom

I would do it. You could focus on improving your writing skills as well as your buttercream flower skills.

In addition, when you work for a bakery you can usually get deals on various cake supplies. Like cake boards, boxes, certain kinds of sprinkles.

You might also get folks who are asking for designs the bakery can't/won't do. Perhaps you could do them.




I am a dept head for Kroger - if one of my decorators (or myself) "sell" our personal business to our customers then we are FIRED - no excuses, it's called conflict of interest!

Yes, working at a grocery store is great experience. I've learned alot, and I've taught alot of people different things. You can practice ALL THE TIME and someone else foots the bill.

Barb

buttercup212215 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:15pm
post #10 of 30

I would go for it. like everyone said you can increase your speed. i work in a local grocery store and i have learned alot esp from my co workers. i ran the cake department for 6 years . i stepped down because i had a baby and only want to work part time. but i love what i do . i also enjoy making other desserts.

cwcopeland Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:16pm
post #11 of 30

I have thought of getting a job at a bakery, like WM. With gas prices the way they are, I'd probably loose money with the distance I'd have to drive. I don't think it's a bad thing, like other's have said, it's good practice.

I've had a couple of decent WM cakes. One in particular was a wedding cake. I was impressed with it. White cake buttercream frosting.

saap1204 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:18pm
post #12 of 30

Go for it! I said the next time our local grocery store, Jewel, is looking for inexperienced cake decorators, I am going to apply. I have only taken the three Wilton courses but would love to improve upon what I have learned.

bevyd Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:27pm
post #13 of 30

I wish my decorating skills were that good. If they were I would not hesitate to work in a store or a bakery. Go for it. If you don't like it, then you quit.Best of luck to you.

loriemoms Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:29pm
post #14 of 30

If you are looking to get a job learning how to decorate, grocery stores aren't going to cut it. They will throw frozen cakes at you all day long to quickly ice and put buttercream roses on. Once in a while you may get a cake that is more interesting, but it will just be the deco pac or bakery craft type plastic cap..they will also work you very hard, you will work on weekends and you will get paid very little.

Now if you want to learn to ice frozen cakes really fast, then its your type of place!

I would instead see if you can get a job with a local bakery, or at least a bakery that makes their own cakes, so you can learn a little about baking and how to make icing and such. Schmearing on premade bettercream on a frozen cake all day to me isnt much fun

Just my opinon...

loriemoms Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:33pm
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marysmom

I would do it. You could focus on improving your writing skills as well as your buttercream flower skills.

In addition, when you work for a bakery you can usually get deals on various cake supplies. Like cake boards, boxes, certain kinds of sprinkles.

You might also get folks who are asking for designs the bakery can't/won't do. Perhaps you could do them.




All the local bakeries around here often will not allow you to have a business on the side while you are working for them, nor will they allow you to approach their customer base. But I do agree, it will help you learn to frost cakes really fast.

-K8memphis Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:38pm
post #16 of 30

I for sure say do it. Grocery stores can offer some mighty juicy benies, vacations, insurance--lovely stuff. I mean this in the nicest way but they will train you and then they don't care how you think it should be done y'know? Some decorators coming from a home environment can't understand that and get their feelings hurt. Because y'know how we always want to do something new and push ourselves to learn new skills and do better and better and better. That's not appreciated in that environment.

In fact some of them they have to decorate exactly as those little stinkin pictures of cakes out there dictate. Not all stores adhere to this with the same intensity but it's because of the copyright agreements. And it can get intense but that's the gig.

In other words, you will of course be working a production line. It's a similar end product to a home decorator but the method is light years different--and the store is not into changing.

But I cringe when people slam big box stores. My neice is a decorator at a big box store. She's pretty much had a rocky life and I could not be more proud of her. I'd never ever invite her to one of our boards. Oh well.

I doubt that you would be sorry because you will learn a lot of very useful things. Be ready to ice your arm down at night, Cake-Buddy.

rdiesing Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 12:32am
post #17 of 30

Thanks for all of your input. Some things to definitely think about. We'll see how it goes at the interview!

Is Mike always that nice to the newbies? Thanks for the warm welcome, buddy.

Mike1394 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 12:40am
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdiesing

Thanks for all of your input. Some things to definitely think about. We'll see how it goes at the interview!

Is Mike always that nice to the newbies? Thanks for the warm welcome, buddy.




Sorry, just a bad case of the sarcasms. Welcome. Good luck.

Mike

cakeroach Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:04am
post #19 of 30

I own my own wedding cake business, and also work part-time as a cake decorator at the Wal-Mart bakery. I really like it there, and have learned some valuable skills too. Like everyone has said, my speed has increased dramatically, I am no longer aprehensive about writing on a cake, and I can smooth a round or sheet cake to perfection in about 20 seconds, something I stuggled with before. I actually have tons of customers that request me to do their cakes, and tell their friend about "the cake lady at Wal-mart." I think you should go for the job. There is nothing wrong with accepting an honest job to pay the bills, and I guarentee it will be really fun too. When I work a 9hour shift, I feel like I've only been there for a couple hours!

SueW Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:07am
post #20 of 30

If I had the talent I'd do it. What a great place to get experience even if it is basic.

wildflower Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:18am
post #21 of 30

ooo i love this topic.,thnx so much rdiesing for asking and to all the repliers
coincedentally i was jus called into for an interview at a local bakery,i wish i had read this before i wenticon_razz.gif
u guys are soo right they expect the work to be fast fast fast,especially since cakes are a very minor part of what this bakery offers and they arent much for the proper way as long as it gets done...i did get stuck on how to decorate the top of the cake cuz usually with my other cakes i make the flowers ahead of time an stick them on and she wanted me to do it right on the cake which i couldnt....i ended up doing rosebuds and sweet pea type things...go figure
i did get lucky and get offered the job so lets see how that goes,id love if some of u who said u work at the local grocey stores would tell me how u pipe roses etc right on the cake with buttercream as i dont have much practice with,it would be a bigg help coming from ppl who have the experinceicon_smile.gif
anyways aftr my experiecne id say ud definitlty get faster working there which is always good so go for it and liek evryone said,if u dont liek it quit!

BCJean Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:21am
post #22 of 30

Welcome to the wonderful world of Cake Decorating and to CC where all of us addicts hang out.

I wouldn't hesitate, do it. I have worked for 32 years in both bakeries and grocery bakeries. Both places require speed but some not as much as others. If I get 20 special orders done in a day they are happy with me. Customers do learn which decorator they like also. The other two decorators where I work like doing the kits, so I let them have at it and all of the unique orders come to me. I love it, love it.

Take a quick look at my photos (there is only 1 page). All of the cakes in there are cakes I have done at work. None of the places I have worked use fondant though. It is all buttercream, which I personally love. It is much easier to come up with a unique design in the time allowed to you.

I had no decorating experience at all when I took my first bakery job. If you have it in your blood...you will have no problems.

wildflower Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:32am
post #23 of 30

bc jean im in awe of u!i hope that if i have to work at the speed i did today that i can be as creative as u are with ur cakes![im actually ashamed cuz i took the three wilton courses n u had no decorating experince when u started!]

akgirl10 Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 12:25am
post #24 of 30

I think you should go for it, you are bound to learn something! It's just one more avenue to build your skills, and getting paid for it is a definite plus.


I read Mike's answer to be a joke, maybe I'm wrong. Kind of like, "No, I couldn't possibly eat a slice of double chocolate fudge brownie cake". Again, I could be off, but I thought he was saying the answer from the information you gave us was obvious-jump on it! Good luck!

-K8memphis Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 1:45am
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildflower

...i did get lucky and get offered the job so lets see how that goes,id love if some of u who said u work at the local grocey stores would tell me how u pipe roses etc right on the cake with buttercream as i dont have much practice with,it would be a bigg help coming from ppl who have the experinceicon_smile.gif
anyways aftr my experiecne id say ud definitlty get faster working there which is always good so go for it and liek evryone said,if u dont liek it quit!




First of all congratulations!

Do you mean flat on the cake, not on a rose nail?
You pipe a full petal on the cake--like a soft upside down 'u' motion, pipe a rose bud in the middle of that. Starting at either outside edge of the first petal, where you kinda pick up that edge, pipe a petal that half covers the bud and ends just below it, pipe the other side by picking up the outer edge of the first petal covering the other side of the bud and overlapping the previous petal. Pipe a flat petal or two that mimics the first one that are opened up more like bending the petal backwards, standing it up more. Where all your work is kind of being applied in layers that go from higher to lower--where you can see everything where all your work is exposed not covered up.

Or I mean you could pick up the edge of the first petal with the bud too. It's really easy to do but not so easy to write about.

wildflower Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 3:32am
post #26 of 30

heheh yea kindda confused but thanx soo much for the effort....sadly i think congratulations may not be in order jus yet cuz i had told the owner i would get back to her cuz the job started at 6 30 in the morning so i had to make sure i would be able to come as the job isnt jus decorating but working as a baker too,so i went back today to pick up the money for the work i did yesterday and i asked if the job was still available and all of a sudden she has to talk it over with her partener whihc honesltly kindda confused me cuz i didnt even ask for the job she totally offered it herself so shouldnt she have talked it over with her partner before she asked me to come?im confused and she told me to call back tomorw but i really dont know what im in for so ....its all wierd basically?
i dont know srry didnt even realize i needed to vent and yet i jus did,
thnx for listening and the support though!

qubanqtee Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 3:37am
post #27 of 30

Everything will work out the way it is supposed to. It always does

wildflower Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 3:43am
post #28 of 30

yuppicon_smile.gif

Mike1394 Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 9:08am
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by akgirl10

I think you should go for it, you are bound to learn something! It's just one more avenue to build your skills, and getting paid for it is a definite plus.


I read Mike's answer to be a joke, maybe I'm wrong. Kind of like, "No, I couldn't possibly eat a slice of double chocolate fudge brownie cake". Again, I could be off, but I thought he was saying the answer from the information you gave us was obvious-jump on it! Good luck!




Thank You. Plus, the question that was asked. How did it make actual in-store decoraters feel?

Mike

lovinkakes Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 12:11am
post #30 of 30

Yup, I just started at a store bakery two weeks ago. I've been wanting to start my own business but have been unable to convince myself. 'Went to apply to a bakery and was told to start at a store bakery. Long in short: I love it! I am learning so much. It's Wilton Course I on speed. (sorry for the drug joke). But really, there are different ways to ice a cake, make the decorations, and I'm learning new stuff everyday (impossible!). So, I like it. Hoping to do this for the summer and the wedding cake specialty bakery shop said he'd have more time to train in the fall, so hoping to make that deal happen, too.

I also move the large rubber mat over to my workstation when I'm there (better on the feet). Good luck!

Oh, BCJean, you take pictures at work? How? The girl before me did it with a camera phone which I don't have. But was a bit too showy with it and turned everyone off when she did it. Hmmmm.

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