I'm a first time poster, long time lurker here!
Quick intro: I'm an engineer that is going through a career change. Hopefully in the fall I'll be taking baking classes at the local tech school (they have a Baking and Pastry Chef Certificate program). Until then I'm devouring all the great hints and helps that ya'll have provided
My end goal is to have a bakery (probably more desserts than breads) and sell to individuals, restaurants, and touristy shops here in Charleston.
As I'm working on my skills, I've also started to look at the business end (don't want to be unprepared when I get my certificate!) Hopefully I'll be able to 'open' in about a year to a year and a half. I've been working on a business plan, estimating costs, finding suppliers, etc.
I've been trying to find out what it means to be "legal" in South Carolina. Are there any CCers out there who have done this? Care to share any helps or hints?
I've also been really interested in the commercial kitchen for rent idea (I have cats, so cooking out of the home is pretty much out). In all the searches I've done, (how many ways can you say "kitchen for rent" in google??) I've not found any that are available in the Charleston SC area.
One thought I've had is to expand my original bakery concept so that I have my kitchen, but also have the space to rent out to other part time chefs/cooks. My question here is - how would be the best way to find out if there is a need for rentable kitchens? I thought about making a post on craigslist or something, but since I don't ahve the facilities at this time, it feels like I'd be leading people on. Does that even make any sense??
Well, if anyone has any insight, I'm all ears!
To be real honest and shoot straight with you, you probably will need to serve lunch to make it. You're gonna retail and wholesale and that's probably not enough unfortunately. Maybe the tourist thing will put you over the top but baked goods like that are impulse items on the retail side. With all our diets and gas prices now you need something to make them come to you. A good lunch would bring them in.
It's good you're not interested in bread--it payeth nothing, man.
You could get commercial accounts with hotels & stuff. But I mean then you've got a mini-fleet of trucks and drivers and huge refrigerators that use lots of electricity.
Of course your wedding cakes will pay the bills too, but I don't know how much time you're gonna have for desserts if you do those. Employees ramp up the overhead. Wedding cakes need creativity to be profitable and you will be stretched pretty thin baking enough cookies to keep the rent-man happy and keep power for the oven.
Once you get your particular focus dialed in, do freaking careful market studies. Pay a professional to do them right for you. You are gonna pay like crazy for location location location no matter which way you go. If you get a good one, the rent will suck big ones. If you get an affordable one no one will come there.
Get by a grocery store if possible but man the rent is unthinkable, thousands.
It's totally do-able. Tremendous obstacles. Best of the best to you. I'm not being a downer, just shooting straight.
I think if you have a commercial kitchen to rent, people will come. The trick there is the legalities. Catering, caking, desserts, retail, wholesale, eat-in, carry-out, packaged goods all have different requirements from the state. So you get a call from a pasta maker wanting to rent the space to make pasta. Wonder what the requirements are for that specialty?
Dude, get a comfy gig in a nice hotel with insurance benefits and etc.
I'm not at all saying it can't be done. You gotta find your niche and don't take no for an answer.
Welcome to CC.
Thanks for the straight shooting advice! It wasn't a downer or a discouragment - actually it was the opposite. I need to hear the negatives now so that I have time to find solutions before it comes time to switch careers!
I've been thinking about the niche, and I have it narrowed down to 2 or three ideas. After I decide which to go with, I'll have to revise my original "plans".
Thanks for the advice about the kitchen rental - I hadn't thought about needing to adjust for different specialty requirements. I'll have to give that some serious thought.
I hadn't thought about doing the market studies. I'll start looking locally to find a firm & then hire them when I get my niche more clearly defined.