Working At A Grocery Store - Worth It?

Decorating By KTcakes Updated 23 Sep 2008 , 6:21pm by Mike1394

KTcakes Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 6:57pm
post #1 of 18

I am tossing around the idea of working part time at a grocery store bakery as a cake decorator. I had thought it would be a good way for me to practice while getting paid. Will it be worth my time? I would love advice from anyone who has worked at one before.
Thanks!

17 replies
Mike1394 Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 7:01pm
post #2 of 18

No don't even apply. It's not worth your time.

Mike

travelingcakeplate Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 7:24pm
post #3 of 18

It's up to you and I support you in whatever you decide.

However, the one thing I LOVE about cake decorating from my home is that I can do it my way and do it when I feel like it.

You don't get that same freedom when working for someone else and you don't get to "own" it.

For me, cake decorating offers a sense of accomplishment and control that I don't always get anywhere else.

Plus, you can get as creative as you'd like and not be limited to what the chain offers.


Good luck in your decision.

jjandhope Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 7:28pm
post #4 of 18

I cant imagine it being a bad idea if you have no experience at all. If you are thinking of going into the business yourself, it would help you learn all sorts of things about suppliers, easier or faster ways of doing things, and just plain old hands on experience while getting paid.
The only thing I would be careful about is starting to think that the way they do things is the best way. Its certainly not the most artisitic or the prettiest way. Stay on CC, learn all you can and make sure you break out of the gorcery store bakery "box". Develop a style of your own!

I say all this, and yet, I am not willing to work there myself. I dont want someone else to be my boss. That, and I am impatient to get on with my own business. However, I think if you are willing to do that, it might be good for you. Some people can do it, others cant. You must at least think its a possibility or you wouldnt have asked....

BTW are you taking/ have already taken any cake decorating classes?

tx_cupcake Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 7:29pm
post #5 of 18

Only if you live for piping stars and shell borders... (not that there's anything wrong with that icon_wink.gif ).

amy2197 Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 7:34pm
post #6 of 18

well, i started working at a grocery store three weeks ago hoping to get better at piping and faster at other techniques. granted, now i am much faster at icing a cake, however, on my second shift the manager came and scraped off half the icing i had on a cake. she scraped off so much you could see the cake thru it! so obviously, i know there way is the cheapest way to get as many cakes done as possible, but, i am faster than ever at the basic things, but don't expect to be doing anything fun. it becomes very monotonous. HTH

jjandhope Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 7:43pm
post #7 of 18

ktcakes, I just looked at your pics, and I dont think you are going to learn a lot more than you already know from working at a grocery store.

You are already obviously doing a lot of cakes. Is it not enough to keep you busy? You could try advertising. If you could keep busy at home doing what youre doing you could be your own boss and make more per hour.

(Unless your state wont allow it. Mine wont unless its a commercial kitchen in my home. Im fighting that battle myself right now. DOnt know jsut what to do yet.)

ljdills Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 7:50pm
post #8 of 18

Been there, done that. My advice is NO ! At most grocery store bakeries it is quantity over quality. Most of what you will do will be "kit" cakes, roses and shell borders. There is little, if any opportunity to be creative. Plus a lot of what you learn you will have to unlearn if you ever go it on your own. For example, I know a girl in an adjoining town who started at Wal-Mart before she went out on her own. When you see her cakes they are very "Wal-Mart" however to make a profit, she has to charge a great deal more than Wal-Mart, for the same type/quality of cake so why would customers go to her when they can go to Wal-Mart for the exact same thing?
I also understand the need to make money, times are hard. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose.

littlecake Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 8:02pm
post #9 of 18

i have worked at several, and it all depends on how the bakery manager is.

one place i worked at, he started out by telling me "no pretty cakes!...fast is the name of the game around here!"

fast forward...by the time i left they were taking orders for everything...drawings, shaped cakes...etc....ha ha ha!

it will hone your skills, and you will learn speed, i really don't know how people ever open a shop and succeed without working at an in store bakery first....i would have NEVER had the speed i needed to do my own biz without the experiance , i know others have, but it seems like it would be hard.

even at the ones i worked at that did real plain stuff, i learned A LOT of shortcuts and things.

it sure won't hurt to try it.

cakelady31 Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 8:25pm
post #10 of 18

It absolutely would'nt hurt to try it. I have been working as a cake decorator part time for 11 years for a grocery chain. I like the flexibility of the hours and days , but not the pay!!!! besides that you do get a chance to see some aspects of business side of things as well as make some extra cash on a weekly basis. And it's true it's thier way of making cakes , not much imagination there. I think for me it's just a comfort thing now. ( I really think I could decorate one of thier cakes with my eyes closed ) And i do alot of cakes on the side for people which is completely different. My cakes do not reflect the store's cakes in anyway shape or form. I have made it two entirely different entities.


I have to say that i am seriously looking at just being my own cake business now after 11 years of employment for someone else.

Kt good luck in whatever you decide to do !

justsweet Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 8:27pm
post #11 of 18

Two years ago I took a class from Bronwen Weber. Someone asked her about grocery store bakeries. She told us even though the cakes are not fabulous the girls behind that counter deserve a lot of respect. They are their to push cakes out the door. You will learn a lot from working in a grocery store bakery, the one thing is learn how put frosting on a cake. She worked for one for many years and look at her now.

So, if you wan to give it a try go for it. You can always quit. Just keep in mind in going to fabulous you have to do thing their way - quick and fast.

Good luck in your decision.

KTcakes Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 9:15pm
post #12 of 18

Thanks so much for your responses! Many more things were brought up that I had not thought of. I took the 1st Wilton course and basically self taught the rest. We just moved and the client base I was building is now two hours away. I now live in an apartment with no clients except family birthdays. The move was great for me - bad for my cake business!

Anyway - I am going to look into the grocery store idea a little more. I have options of 3-4 different chains. My husband had the same reaction as some of you - that they probably would not give me the opportunity to be creative or allow me the time that I would like (I am somewhat of a perfectionist icon_lol.gif ). Maybe learning to do things faster would be a good thing!

Thanks again!

bisbqueenb Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 11:02pm
post #13 of 18

Years ago I took a class with Roland Winbeckler where a large grocery store paid for 5-6 of their cake people to attend. While talking to the girls, they mentioned their store often sent employees to very good classes all expenses paid by the company. So it depends on the store....if you have 3 or 4 in your area.....'interview' THEM....see what their philosophy about the bakery is....choose one that is not quantity over quality!

OhMyGanache Posted 23 Sep 2008 , 5:29am
post #14 of 18

I highly recommend it.

You will learn so many shortcuts and get impressively fast - which will come in handy when you accidentally drop a cake and have to whip up another one before the customer comes to pick up their order in 10 minutes. LOL!

Good luck!

justgale Posted 23 Sep 2008 , 12:46pm
post #15 of 18

Before you apply just think of this. I'm a manager at one of the grocery store bakeries and we fly through cakes. Yesterday I had our traveling cake decorater come and help me get caught back up and she did 60 cakes in about 7 hours. She says she can do 100 on a good day but she had to do some orders. Mostly were just boarders, flower and/0r ballons and they come in preiced. But speed is key in a place like that. Now the cakes I do at home are totally diffrent but you don't get much time to "Play" while at work. And in all of the bakeries I've worked in (and it's been several) you also end up waiting on costumers, helping to stock out the floor, and baking and bagging the breads too. Everyone kind of does it all. Regardless of if you hired as a cake decorator or not.
Sherri

justgale Posted 23 Sep 2008 , 12:46pm
post #16 of 18

Before you apply just think of this. I'm a manager at one of the grocery store bakeries and we fly through cakes. Yesterday I had our traveling cake decorater come and help me get caught back up and she did 60 cakes in about 7 hours. She says she can do 100 on a good day but she had to do some orders. Mostly were just boarders, flower and/0r ballons and they come in preiced. But speed is key in a place like that. Now the cakes I do at home are totally diffrent but you don't get much time to "Play" while at work. And in all of the bakeries I've worked in (and it's been several) you also end up waiting on costumers, helping to stock out the floor, and baking and bagging the breads too. Everyone kind of does it all. Regardless of if you hired as a cake decorator or not.
Sherri

mjarvis78 Posted 23 Sep 2008 , 4:57pm
post #17 of 18

It depends on the store.

Would I work for Wal-Mart? No.

Would I work for a highe-end grocery store, that actually prides itself on beautiful cakes. Yes.

Working in a grocery store, you will learn speed, how to perfect basic techniques, learn how to work clean, and how to work with others.

I work for a popular southern chain, and do at least one wedding cake a week. Every cake is a little better than the last.

I get to play with fondant, ganache and gumpaste on the stores dime, not mine.

Mike1394 Posted 23 Sep 2008 , 6:21pm
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

No don't even apply. It's not worth your time.

Mike




S*A*R*C*A*S*M

I sure hope some of the people that do work in a grocery bakery weren't offended at my comments.

Mike

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