Grocery Store Bakery Clerk Hourly Pay?

Decorating By SusanaDalia Updated 3 Feb 2009 , 5:12pm by sillychick

SusanaDalia Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 8:31am
post #1 of 22

I am thinking about going to work at a grocery store bakery to gain some knowledge to hopefully one day open up my place. My question is what would the starting pay be for someone they would hire that would need to be trained in buttercream since I only have fondant experience? By the way I know it will vary depending on location so, I live in the DFW, Texas area.

21 replies
BCJean Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 8:52am
post #2 of 22

I think the starting pay is not that different state to state. I think you could probably expect it to be $8 to $9. to start out, with no experience. Most do not hire full time. If it is a union store, it takes about 4 years to get worked up to top pay, pay raises are given by how many hours you have worked. Most top out at about $15. per hour.
I think you would really benefit from the experience. It definitely gets your speed up. I have worked in supermarket bakeries as well as private bakeries. I personally like the fast paced work.
I live in California but have also worked in the Midwest, I didn't see a lot of difference in the pay.

loriemoms Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 8:57am
post #3 of 22

Many of the grocery stores around here are about 10-12 an hour with experience, but you don't just do cakes, you also have to work the deli department too. I dont know how other places are...I agree, it would probably get your good experience in learning to be fast!

cakesdivine Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 3:43pm
post #4 of 22

Are you talking bakery clerk or decorator? They are 2 different things. A bakery clerk just services the customers and does well the crap work the manager wants you to do (stocking, a little inventory check, price lables, product pulls, bread slicing, packaging, washing dishes, etc.) most you can expect and this is after being their a long time is $8 usually start alittle above minimum wage. A decorator must have some experience, you will be asked to decorate a cake during your interview with the manager. Decorators in Texas usually start at $10 and can go as high as $14 (in a grocery store) with experience. I have worked for Albertsons as a lead decorator and Randall's as a lead decorator then bakery manager back in late 90's early 2000's

loriemoms Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 3:50pm
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Are you talking bakery clerk or decorator? They are 2 different things. A bakery clerk just services the customers and does well the crap work the manager wants you to do (stocking, a little inventory check, price lables, product pulls, bread slicing, packaging, washing dishes, etc.) most you can expect and this is after being their a long time is $8 usually start alittle above minimum wage. A decorator must have some experience, you will be asked to decorate a cake during your interview with the manager. Decorators in Texas usually start at $10 and can go as high as $14 (in a grocery store) with experience. I have worked for Albertsons as a lead decorator and Randall's as a lead decorator then bakery manager back in late 90's early 2000's




I did the one time, went on a grocery store interview and they had me decorate one of those big cookies and a sheet cake. They used very soft Bettercreme and it was awful! Have you ever tried to make roses with that stuff? how do they do it! But I agree, be prepared to decorate a cake right then and there with the manager watching. (actually I had a whole audience..it was kind of fun. They really liked my shell borders and my handwriting) But alas, I was looking for part time at the time and they weren't hiring part time.

SusanaDalia Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 10:48pm
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCJean

I think the starting pay is not that different state to state. I think you could probably expect it to be $8 to $9. to start out, with no experience. Most do not hire full time. If it is a union store, it takes about 4 years to get worked up to top pay, pay raises are given by how many hours you have worked. Most top out at about $15. per hour.
I think you would really benefit from the experience. It definitely gets your speed up. I have worked in supermarket bakeries as well as private bakeries. I personally like the fast paced work.
I live in California but have also worked in the Midwest, I didn't see a lot of difference in the pay.




Thanks for the info. Yeah, I was thinking it would make me faster.

SusanaDalia Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 10:49pm
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

Many of the grocery stores around here are about 10-12 an hour with experience, but you don't just do cakes, you also have to work the deli department too. I dont know how other places are...I agree, it would probably get your good experience in learning to be fast!




I didn't think about the deli part, but you are right a lot of stores do have them work both areas.

SusanaDalia Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 10:53pm
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Are you talking bakery clerk or decorator? They are 2 different things. A bakery clerk just services the customers and does well the crap work the manager wants you to do (stocking, a little inventory check, price lables, product pulls, bread slicing, packaging, washing dishes, etc.) most you can expect and this is after being their a long time is $8 usually start alittle above minimum wage. A decorator must have some experience, you will be asked to decorate a cake during your interview with the manager. Decorators in Texas usually start at $10 and can go as high as $14 (in a grocery store) with experience. I have worked for Albertsons as a lead decorator and Randall's as a lead decorator then bakery manager back in late 90's early 2000's




Sorry, I meant bakery decorator, I just thought they might call it clerk, so I wasn't clear about that. I am probably going to be classified as inexperienced due to the fact that I can do most buttercream decorations except roses. So, on an interview, that part of the demo would go badly. So, during those years you worked there that would have been the pay? I guess I could hope for perhaps a dollar or so more by now, maybe 11-15 perhaps. How do you think it would go since I can't make roses? I am assuming they would send me to get trained for that. Any other info. is appreciated.

indydebi Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 11:26pm
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanaDalia

I am assuming they would send me to get trained for that. Any other info. is appreciated.




I dont' think you have to be "sent" somewhere to learn to make a rose. If you take a bowl of icing and spend a couple-three hours making roses, you'll have it down or be pretty close.

My very first wedding cake (decades ago!) was covered with roses and I had NEVER made one. But you can bet by the time I got done making 60-75 of them (give or take ... been so long I can't remember exactly how many anymore), I KNEW how to make roses at the end of the day! thumbs_up.gif

cakesmade4u Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 12:09am
post #10 of 22

Out here this was close to 7 years back I was hired as 10.00 a hour in a grocery store. But went on other interviews and I know at most stores they will want you to already know quiet a bit before hiring. How to make not just roses but many other flowers as well as animals, people and 3d bears dogs, Etc.. carving, air brush skills as well.. So you may want to practice on other things to..... good luck... icon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

PianoDiva Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 1:34am
post #11 of 22

CakesDivine is right about what your duties are as a bakery clerk. I just quit after two months in the bakery at one of the larger grocery stores in our area. I enjoyed it very much, but didn't get to decorate anything other than write on cakes and do a few borders when the decorator was too busy. I started out at $9.60 per hour and it was a union store.

--PianoDiva

Chef_Rinny Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 1:43am
post #12 of 22

I work at as a bakery cake decorator in a supermarket b/c they give me the hours I want... it does help with your speed. You NEED to learn roses before going to the interview. Since that is one of the main deco's ordered their, that will be one of the big judgment points on your cake. I have gone to school at Johnson and Wales, worked in multiple high end bakeries and have worked in supermarket bakeries. You can learn something from every different job! It's a good experience that you can take some things away from. For pay I make more than most since I had tons of experience first and I make $13.

newmansmom2004 Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 1:49am
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanaDalia

I am thinking about going to work at a grocery store bakery to gain some knowledge to hopefully one day open up my place. My question is what would the starting pay be for someone they would hire that would need to be trained in buttercream since I only have fondant experience? By the way I know it will vary depending on location so, I live in the DFW, Texas area.




Don't sell yourself short. Your fondant experience could be a great plus if the store bakery wants to get into doing fondant work but doesn't have anyone trained to do that!

SusanaDalia Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 6:52am
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmansmom2004

Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanaDalia

I am thinking about going to work at a grocery store bakery to gain some knowledge to hopefully one day open up my place. My question is what would the starting pay be for someone they would hire that would need to be trained in buttercream since I only have fondant experience? By the way I know it will vary depending on location so, I live in the DFW, Texas area.



Don't sell yourself short. Your fondant experience could be a great plus if the store bakery wants to get into doing fondant work but doesn't have anyone trained to do that!




Thank you so much. I was starting to get a little discouraged, thinking maybe I am out of my league at least on the buttercream aspect. I took the first series of classes on it, but when we got to the roses, I just couldn't get it. Everyone else walked out with at least 3 roses, and I was left with 1 that the instructor made for me. I decided at that point it wasn't worth the aggravation, and since I was more interested in what could be done with fondant, I sort of dropped the idea of the buttercream rose. I know it looks simple enough, but for some reason I couldn't get it. I know practice helps a lot, so maybe I will try again.

prterrell Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 2:43pm
post #15 of 22

I worked as a cake decorator for almost 2 years at a grocery store. I was very experienced when I started (had already done wedding cakes, fondant cakes, etc.), but beceause I didn't know "their" decorating methods and recipes, etc I was classified as an "apprentice". I ended up doing all the same work as the regular decorators, but for less pay ($7.50/hour the entire time I was there). Even after I'd mastered all "their" stuff and after being promised promotion repeatedly and then not getting it, I quit. I did get really fast while I was there, but it was HARD work, had to deal with a lot of not-nice customers, and the bakery manager was a total jerk. Be prepared to work every weekend and to get up at the crack of dawn (work would start at 5 or 6 on Saturdays and you'd end up working your entire shift without a break, you'd be lucky if you could steal a few minutes to go to the bathroom and grab a sip of water).

-K8memphis Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 3:41pm
post #16 of 22

About the 'don't sell yourself short' part?

You are applying for their job that has an already established job description and skill set. They have not opened the door to you to recreate their department and blaze new trails.

On the one hand it's a great idea to be confident and assertive. On the other, the advanced decorating stuff is what will turn off the light on a decorator interview like a burnt out bulb.

You need to be able to convince them that you are willing to do the work you are being hired for.

SusanaDalia Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 3:51pm
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

I worked as a cake decorator for almost 2 years at a grocery store. I was very experienced when I started (had already done wedding cakes, fondant cakes, etc.), but beceause I didn't know "their" decorating methods and recipes, etc I was classified as an "apprentice". I ended up doing all the same work as the regular decorators, but for less pay ($7.50/hour the entire time I was there). Even after I'd mastered all "their" stuff and after being promised promotion repeatedly and then not getting it, I quit. I did get really fast while I was there, but it was HARD work, had to deal with a lot of not-nice customers, and the bakery manager was a total jerk. Be prepared to work every weekend and to get up at the crack of dawn (work would start at 5 or 6 on Saturdays and you'd end up working your entire shift without a break, you'd be lucky if you could steal a few minutes to go to the bathroom and grab a sip of water).




I really appreciate you telling me about your experience there, maybe I will be luckier. It's always hard when someone doesn't appreciate your worth. Hopefully, you've had better luck somewhere else.

sillychick Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 4:29pm
post #18 of 22

Here's my experience, FWIW. I worked for 6 months at a grocery store bakery. Have been decorating for 10 years and started at $10. Max pay there is $12, less experienced decorators start at $8.

Sadly, it is true that no matter how great you may be you WILL have customers who will complain. Many just trying to get their money back. I was glad to have a store manager who knew all about that and warned me about it before I ever started. (His wife works at Walmart in a different dept but would tell him how they have a LOT of customers who will order a full sheet cake, serve half of it at their party, then return the uneaten half and complain about it and get a FULL refund - free birthday cake! icon_evil.gif ) Although the only complaint I ever had was not being finished with a cake on time. I don't understand people who order a cake the night before and give say, a 9am pickup time and then show up at 7am and be MAD that I wasn't finished with it yet!! I had one customer who was a real PITA and my stomach turned every time I'd see her walk in. She was very particular that the colors would be spot on and always wanted extras for nothing. I learned pretty quickly to just talk her up and make her feel like I was treating her extra special and she was happy but it was sickening having to suck up to that B. That is just part of the biz though and it IS inevitable. I was very happy to quit! It was frustrating to have my next day fully booked and then come in the next day to have 5 or 10 cakes added to my workload and still be expected to have them done in the same 8 hour day. Or have people take a cake order and leave it incomplete or without a phone number. The MOST requested cake? 90% of my customers ordered BC roses. I also had to do them at the initial interview and decorate a sheet cake while the manager stood over my shoulder. It was a great experience, I'm so glad I did it but can say I will never work for someone else doing cakes again!! I believe it will be something you won't regret if you get the job, even if it is just for the experience and for getting your speed up. Oh yes, my bakery was attached to a deli, but I didn't have to help in that area. Although I did have to do all of the dessert cakes and keep the freezer full of them at all times and fill the display cabinet with a variety of decorated dessert items, not just do the custom orders. Oh yeah, then there was this horrible week called CAKE A RAMA when you sell the two layer dessert cakes for $6 each and had to make a lot of them. ick!! All in all though I say go for it!! and good luck!!

BCJean Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 7:43pm
post #19 of 22

My experience with grocery store bakeries......
I took my first job, in an in-store bakery, 33 years ago. I worked there for 12 years. It was in the Midwest in a non-union company for those of you in that area...it was Hy-Vee. I was the only decorator in my store. It was not like the current WalMart or Costco where you are required to do 80 decorated cakes a day. I did more like 40, on a Saturday, working a 12 hour day. They let me be as creative as I wanted as long as I got all of the cakes finished. On a Saturday that meant averaging 20 minutes per cake to ice, decorate, and box the cake. I did not wait counters. Usually the first hour of my day was spent filling the cake cases...the last 30 minutes was doing clean up. Through the week when you would only have maybe 4 or 5 orders, you did the non-decorated cakes up and stored them in the freezer ready to be put out as needed and worked on decorated cakes to be put out for non-ordered cakes. Keep in mind you have the baked cakes ready, all of your fillings are in a bucket at your finger tips. You make up bags with all of the colors, your icing is done up in big 5 gallon buckets....all of this is what I really like. Once you start decorating, you don't have to stop for anything..it is just finish one cake...pick up the next one. 99% of the customers are thrilled with the cake they get.

I moved to California in 1987 and worked in 3 different well known bakeries. We did a lot of routine cakes which you were expected to do fast....specialty decorated cakes, including carved ones, you could take up to 30 minutes per cake. In each of those bakeries they had someone who iced all of the cakes, including wedding cakes, and the decorator just decorated them. When a new decorator was hired, with no experience, that was the position usually given them. The only time the new decorator actually decorated was on the regular decorator's days off or after she had finished icing all of the cakes.

I took my current job with a well known grocery chain here in California 8 years ago because I wanted to play around with real estate and planned to move several times. Being with the company I am, I can transfer with them to any location I choose. It was working great until this financial crunch hit.

My advise 2nd time around...
Choose a company other than WalMart or Costco or Sam's Club. Don't go in there with the intentions of changing their decorating plan. Let them know you love working with cake and want to make that your career. Definitely learn to make roses before you go in for the interview.
As far as the breaks...it is law, they have to give you breaks. I sometimes opt not to take mine...but they have to give it to you if you want it.
The early hours...I love getting off at 2:30 in the afternoon....still plenty of time to do things.
Weekends....yes, that is your busy times. I only work part time now, as I am retired but I work every Sat. Sun. Mon. I have worked weekends for so many years it is just a way of life for me.
Pay raises...if they don't give it to you when you think you deserve it check out the competition and change jobs, demanding higher pay, but don't quit first. I once went between two companies for a month with offers and counter offers until they came up with the pay I accepted, which was more than my original request.

I am sure this type of decorating is not for everyone but I am not a perfectionist, as you can see by my photos, I love quickly coming up with an idea, putting it on a cake, and moving on to the next cake.

barbaranoel Posted 2 Feb 2009 , 9:16pm
post #20 of 22

[/i]My 2cents as a Bakery Manager[i]

I am the dept head for a Kroger Freshfare (An upscale Kroger)

I have 2 decorators on duty: a regular cake decorator and a Pastry Chef. They are both responsible for keeping the cake cases filled, brownies decorated, orders done, and general helping out in the bakery.

The decorator does primarily the orders while my Pastry Chef does primarily the Gourmet Pastry case. They do cross over there and I give them opposite days off.

As a mgr. I don't like or will let anyone come in and say to me "I ONLY DO..." As far as I am concerned everyone is in it together. We succeed or fail as a team. I have no problems dropping what I am doing to help them if they are backed up and I expect and get the same from them. Everyone knows that they are expected to help out everywhere. For those who don't: I have others who need the hours too, I will give the hours to those who help out the most and in this time everyone needs all the hours they can get.

We are a Union shop. Starting pay, unfortunately is $7.25 but if you can bring in proof of experience, we can push to get you a raise. Breaks and raises are guaranteed by contract. Scheduling is based on the needs of the store.

But we do have benefits for full and part time. I pay $15 a week for family insurance!!!! That in itself is a huge perk. Vacations, overtime, 401k, pension, discounts on Kroger brand products and my all time favorite perk: I am first in line for all the discounted and mark down products. That right there saves our family hundreds of dollars a year.

Sorry so long winded, but a subject I definately know.

Barb

prterrell Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 12:05am
post #21 of 22

I knew how to do BC roses with the Wilton icing, but at my interview, the icing the store used was MUCH softer and although they could see I knew how to do a rose, the fact that I couldn't do a perfect one with their icing right off the bat was a big reason I was classified as an apprentice instead of a full decorator. I was there for well over 6 months before I ever got a chance to do more to a cake than write on it. Instead, I was put in charge of all the other desserts. Which, in the end, I actually preferred, because it wasn't the exact same thing every day. At the end of my time there, when I was doing the full work of a decorator, not the work of an apprentice (but getting paid the apprentice wage mind you), it was very exhausting and repetetive. You'd come in and fill the cases and unpack boxes from the trucks and fill up your supplies and take care of customer orders and fill, ice, and decorate 40 all by yourself and they'd tell you you need to get your speed up.

I love doing cakes at home for friends and family, but after working there, I know that I really prefer this as a hobby and not a career. A lot of that has to do with the customers.

You'd get people walking in at noon on a Saturday upset that you can't whip them up a customer ordered cake right then, because they forgot/didn't have time to order a cake and precious child's 1st/2nd/3rd/4th/etc birthday will be ruined if they don't have the Elmo/racecar/Hanna Montana cake. Um, not gonna happen, pick something out of the case dude! Otherwise, we can have something ready for you around 6 tonight.
You'd have people showing up hours and hours early and not understanding why their orders aren't done yet.
You'd have people who never come pick up their cakes at all and leave a bogus phone number.
You'd have cake orders taken by a clerk that made no sense and you couldn't get a hold of the customer to find out what the heck they wanted.
You'd have orders with no cake kit reserved for it because whomever took the order didn't set one aside for that cake. Then you're scrambling around trying to see if you can get one from the other store across town.
You'd have customers getting irate that you won't break copyright law for them.
You have people who come in and order their wedding cake at 7pm Friday for 10am pickup the next day, and so you have to cut their cake out of sheet cake, sometimes pieceing together cake for the larger layers.
You have people who pick up a cake and leave it sitting in their car in July while the go to the party store and are mad an hour later when the icing (or ice cream!) is melted.
You have clerks telling customers that yes, you can do that, and then oh, no you can't do that and then when the customer shows up, of course they're mad.
You have managers that don't back you up on corporate rules.
You have customers who will stick stuff from other departments in your case (how'd you like to buy the cake that had raw ground meat or chicken sitting on it for an hour before the counter clerk noticed it was there?).
You have customers who try to come behind the counter.
You have customers who don't understand why their crazy Ace of Cakes inspired cake doesn't cost the same as a box of mix and a can of frosting.
You have frantic mommies showing up who need the most amazing first birthday cake ever right now because I thought I could do it myself and so the really elaborate Collete Peter's style cake that I was making when I've never made a cake before ever failed and they're really not happy to hear that you can write on a cake from the case, but it will be X time before you can get their cake done.
You've got people that order their cake at the other store and show up at your store to get it and then get insanely ticked off that you don't have their cake (1/2 of them won't go allllll the waaaay over to the oooother side of town to get it, they'll end up getting something out of the case).
You have customers trying to open packages of cupcakes to customize the assortment, deco, number.
You have people asking "is that real cake" as they try to punch a hole in your display cakes with their finger about a dozen times a day.
You have customers that want you to stop doing whatever it is you are doing with the customer you are currently talking to/writing on a cake for because they just need you to get their darling angel a free cookie.
You have adults that get ticked that the free cookie is just for kids.
You have people who want a "fresh baked cake" iced and decorated and ready to go in 10 minutes.
You have people upset that they can't get a flavor that you don't have.
You have people upset that there are only 2 choices of sugar free cake and you can't write on either of them because you don't have sugar free icing (the cakes came in ready made).
You have people who get upset that your hand writing doesn't match the handwriting in the cake catalog (I am NOT making this up! A woman wanted her cake for FREE because of this!).
You have people who try to steal the cake (pick it up from the bakery and get out of the store quick, skipping the check out!).
You have cashiers that bang the cake around at check out and totally mess it up.
You have people who stick the cake in the bottom of their basket, pile all their groceries on top, and then get made at you when the cake is squashed.
You have people returning mostly eaten cake for various bogus reasons, just so they can have free cake.
You have people who put the cake in the cart near their child and get upset at you when their kid puts their fingers in the cake.
You have people who want more than the X number of roses you're supposed to put on the cake, but don't want to pay for the extra roses.
You have people who want you to decorate their homemade cakes.
You have people who request the ugliest thing in the world and you try to talk them out of it and they insist on it and so you do exactly as they requested and when they pick up the cake they are so mad at you for making such an ugly cake and it's not what they wanted at all.
You have people who don't understand why you can't fit a 25 word paragraph of writing in icing on an 8 inch round cake, because THEY can fit it with an ink pen.
Everyone and their brother orders their cake for noon on Saturday, but they are surprised and upset that they have to wait in line when they come to pick up their cake, because no one else could possibly have wanted a cake when they did!

No, I'm not bitter. I'm just more experience and much wiser. Most of these situations I could laugh about later. It's the ones where management would come down on you for something that the customer did or was completely out of your control that really got to me.

sillychick Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 5:12pm
post #22 of 22

LOL loved your post prterrell. Think I'll save that in case I ever think about doing that again! icon_lol.gif

You forgot one!
You have grocery checkers called to the bakery after hours to write on a cake and they INVITE the customer back to your work area to write on the cake themselves. Or the checker does it and the customer refuses the cake and you come in the next day to find three or four ruined cakes that said employee tried to write on and scrape it off and try again and try a different cake.

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