Bakery Owners, Please Give Your Advice!

Business By jjandhope Updated 8 Sep 2008 , 12:04pm by loriemoms

jjandhope Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 6:05am
post #1 of 15

I would like to open a bakery, but I have a lot of fears about it. For one, I am not a cake decorator. I do love to bake and make pretty things. My shop would be a bakery/cafe and do catering. My question is: Do I need to know everything about everything before I start?

14 replies
JoAnnB Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 7:07am
post #2 of 15

You need to know everything you plan to sell, or hire staff that does.

It is very expensive to open a storefront, and keep it running. How are you with 12 hour days, (more like 1icon_cool.gif baking at 5 am? and do you have a lot of cash? Banks don't loan to beginning business.

You have to sell a lot of baked goods just to pay the rent, then add insurance, utilities, advertising, helpers.

Have you ever worked in a shop similar to the one you want? Generally, one person cannot do all the things required to keep the business running.

If you haven't worked one, try it.

jjandhope Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 1:47pm
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoAnnB

You need to know everything you plan to sell, or hire staff that does.

Have you ever worked in a shop similar to the one you want? Generally, one person cannot do all the things required to keep the business running.

If you haven't worked one, try it.




No, I havent worked in one. There is none in our area (which is one reason I want to do it). I also worry about finding staff who can do the job I want.

indydebi Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 2:05pm
post #4 of 15

What is your baking/catering experience? Banks look for track record .. in experience, in sales, in running a business .... almost as much as they look for sufficient collateral. Especially business background ... purchasing, HR, payroll, accounting, sales & marketing. In runing a bakery, making cakes and muffins is almost an afterthought!

Do you own all of the equipment or will you need a loan to buy that? Have you scoped out a location ..... does it already have a kitchen or will you have to do the build-out?

http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-597636-fire.html+system

http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=593360&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=fire&&start=15

This is a really good one, with a long post by me and lots of great info from txkat and others: http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=600727&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=2200&&start=0

jjandhope Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 5:58pm
post #5 of 15

Thanks, indydebi, I will follow those links. My only experience has been not for pay, and not working for someone else. I will not be getting a loan. We are trying to start up debt free and with cash. Because of that, we are moving slowly, purchasing equipment one piece at a time. This way, we wont put our family at such a risk. Thanks for your thoughts...

jjandhope Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 6:07pm
post #6 of 15

I just realized I didn't answer all your questions. Yes, I have scoped out a location. However, since we plan to start with cash, it will probably not be available when we are ready to start. The mentioned location does not have a kitchen but the floor plan is very conducive to putting it in.

To answer other questions that may not have been asked: I have made a businees plan. I have also costed out food and ran a sample cost analysis etc. My husband is an efficiency anlayst and as you can imagine has a good business head. To clarify, my concerns are not about the business end of things, but more about the nuts and bolts....or rather, the "cakes and muffns".

Not knowing how to make everyhting I would like to feature, I wonder if I can open an establishment. DO I need to be an expert? How much can I rely on my staff for the know-how on the baking end of things? Can I be a good leader and not know how to make an icing rose? LOL

seagoat Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 6:12pm
post #7 of 15

How are you with 12 hour days, (more like 1icon_cool.gif baking at 5 am?


More like 3AM if your going to be open for morning traffic with fresh pastries!

I would think that you need to experiment more on family and friends before you would think about experimenting on customers...

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 6:59pm
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjandhope

I just realized I didn't answer all your questions. Yes, I have scoped out a location. However, since we plan to start with cash, it will probably not be available when we are ready to start. The mentioned location does not have a kitchen but the floor plan is very conducive to putting it in.

To answer other questions that may not have been asked: I have made a businees plan. I have also costed out food and ran a sample cost analysis etc. My husband is an efficiency anlayst and as you can imagine has a good business head. To clarify, my concerns are not about the business end of things, but more about the nuts and bolts....or rather, the "cakes and muffns".

Not knowing how to make everyhting I would like to feature, I wonder if I can open an establishment. DO I need to be an expert? How much can I rely on my staff for the know-how on the baking end of things? Can I be a good leader and not know how to make an icing rose? LOL




IMO you set the standard for your employees and they should be re-creating your recipes. Since you know you have a while before you can "open" why don't you start experimenting with different recipes now so you can come up with a menu? If you don't have good food to offer your customers they aren't coming back and on the other hand if you don't have the business sense good food isn't going to keep your business afloat. It's a balance.

littlecake Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 8:21pm
post #9 of 15

i'm doing it all cash too.....

it's a SLOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW process.

why not get a job at a bakery while you're getting your cash together?

that's what i did...i been running my own place now almost 7 years.

you need to learn all you can, not depend on other peoples knowledge ....i worked at several different places.....

it's a lot of work, not just making pretty things and baking.....if you got a bakery job, you could see more about what you're getting into.

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 7 Sep 2008 , 10:56pm
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

i'm doing it all cash too.....

it's a SLOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW process.

why not get a job at a bakery while you're getting your cash together?

that's what i did...i been running my own place now almost 7 years.

you need to learn all you can, not depend on other peoples knowledge ....i worked at several different places.....

it's a lot of work, not just making pretty things and baking.....if you got a bakery job, you could see more about what you're getting into.




I totally agree with everything you just said littlecake! Including the all cash method. That's how I opened and operated my shop. I had one business credit card (kinda have to so you can order supplies) that was paid off monthly. When I got pregnant and decided to close there was absolutely no debt to pay back....I paid all of my final expenses (including setting back taxes for next year) and slid the cash of the sale, savings account, and checking account into my pocket. It's really the only way to go in my opinion. If I ever decide to conquer this again I will do the money the same way....it's fantastic not having anything hanging over your head! icon_wink.gif

seagoat Posted 8 Sep 2008 , 1:12am
post #11 of 15

I had a coffee shop/bakery when I lived in Seattle. I was young single and a new mom. Ton's of work...lots to learn and the fact you always have to come up with new products. When you think you have time off..your paying bills, shopping or thinking of new products. I learned SO much from my old shop. Now, I am taking it easy. Buying things when I have the cash and not getting into debt. Accumulating customers and a reputation (hopefully a good one...lol) So when I do finally open up my retail shop, I have the customers to support me and no debt to drag me down.

Good luck in your decision

jjandhope Posted 8 Sep 2008 , 3:15am
post #12 of 15

So helpful..Thanks for the confirmation about going slow and easy and being debt free. For now, I will bake and bake and learn all I can. CC will be a big part of that as I learn from so many great people.

KoryAK Posted 8 Sep 2008 , 5:52am
post #13 of 15

Right now, and without reading all the other posts, my advice is DON'T DO IT. I am so bloody tired right now its not even funny.

littlecake Posted 8 Sep 2008 , 6:23am
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

Right now, and without reading all the other posts, my advice is DON'T DO IT. I am so bloody tired right now its not even funny.




GEEZE...so glad i'm not the only one, i'm so tired on sundays...it's like i'm sick, i sleep most of the day, feel bad, and am so sore i can barely walk.

i think of going to work for someone else sometimes, the stress really is crushing sometimes, i'd prolly make more money, since the biz gobbles up so much....but i prolly won't, i don't take orders well from people who ....(well never mind) tapedshut.giftapedshut.giftapedshut.gif

loriemoms Posted 8 Sep 2008 , 12:04pm
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

Right now, and without reading all the other posts, my advice is DON'T DO IT. I am so bloody tired right now its not even funny.



GEEZE...so glad i'm not the only one, i'm so tired on sundays...it's like i'm sick, i sleep most of the day, feel bad, and am so sore i can barely walk.

i think of going to work for someone else sometimes, the stress really is crushing sometimes, i'd prolly make more money, since the biz gobbles up so much....but i prolly won't, i don't take orders well from people who ....(well never mind) tapedshut.giftapedshut.giftapedshut.gif




I am with you on that...I wish I could even sleep all day Sunday, but I end up doing consultations or paper work or shopping...

and I have done what you are thinking of doing and went back to my business. The pay was still pretty low, but once you have been your own boss, you can't work for anyone again! icon_surprised.gif

Wedding season is almost over and I don't have a very busy holiday season, so I am looking forward to some r&r...

I agree with all the posts about cash. If you think you will make money your first couple of years, you are nuts. Every penny goes back into the bakery...only spend what you got. You don't need the top of line of everything.

I was talking with my accountant the other day and he looks at my quickbook files and every year shows me some new hints. I am getting better, but I still sit there apologizing! haha! He said to me that I am not alone, most people who start a business know just how to do what thier product is, not the other side of it! (books, marketing, selling, etc etc) He feels that is what causes a lot of business to fail...

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