To Those Who Have Own Shop/business...

Business By adree313 Updated 16 Aug 2009 , 2:21am by JanH

adree313 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 11:50pm
post #1 of 43

i could use some professional insight...
i would like to have ANY job i can get in a bakery/cake shop. actually, to tell you the truth, i wouldn't ask about pay if it was like a dishwasher/trash taker-outer! is it unreasonable to think i could do this? also, i'm not just some random kid walking off the street, i love baking and decorating. i even went to school for it (not for very long, didn't get to finish because i had to move... but the brief experience is still there). if you think this is a reasonable venture for me, how do you suggest i go about making it happen? i already have one part time job, so if there will be money involved, i wouldn't be a huge investment icon_smile.gif i would just like to get any experience i can. even if that means watching decorators out of the corner of my eye while washing dishes/wiping down counters/changing trash can liners. anything i tell you!
suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

42 replies
mommy1st Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 11:59pm
post #2 of 43

It sound like you are willing to do anything to get your foot in the door. It is a good attitude to have. When you fill out an application, add a letter describing yourself, and that you are a hard worker, and are willing to learn what needs to be done. If there are any decorating classes by you, sign up..any experience is better than none. Check out your library, they have a great section on cake decorating and practice at home. Alot of great decorators were self taught. Grocery stores are a place to look also..they would probably start you as a clerk, and most places promote within. It is a good place to learn the basics, and pick up speed. Good Luck.

sleepiesaturn Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 12:56am
post #3 of 43

I had this same exact problem! I wanted so badly to get my foot in the door somewhere but no one would take me without experience. It was so frustrating. I took all the Wilton classes-not the hobby lobby ones but the ones in Chicago and I still couldn't get anyone to hire me. It wasn't until I started culinary school that anyone would give me a chance. Now that I'm an Executive Pastry Chef I find that some of the best people to hire are the ones that have passion over the ones that have experience. And above all else confidence. You need to sell your self, I've seen your pictures and you've got talent. Don't settle for a dish washing position, tell them that you are an excellent decorator and you're going to be an amazing asset to their shop.

adree313 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 2:14am
post #4 of 43

thank you for the compliment sleepisaturn and thank you both for the advice. honestly, i don't expect my cake decorating "skills" to get me anywhere right now. i've never taken a class and, really, i'm just not ready to decorate on a professional scale. i would be shocked if they allowed me to work on any paying cake order! so, really, dishwashing is probably all i can hope for at this point. but i'm totally fine with that! i KNOW that kids have to pay dues and i'm really willing to pay them. i don't care what level i start at or if i start with zilch pay. but i just don't know how to actually do this. my only thought would be to walk into a cake shop and say "need your dishes washed? i'll do 'em! free! just let me absorb information from you! (directly or indirectly icon_biggrin.gif)" (okay maybe not that EXACT wording, but you catch my drift!) and mommy1st mentioned a grocery store route... i don't know if that's where i really want to go. i'm not trying to say that there aren't genuine artists there, because sometimes there are! that's just not what my ultimate goal is. right now i just really want to see what a day in the life of a cake decorator/shop owner is. does that make sense??

adree313 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 7:19pm
post #5 of 43

anyone else??

suz3 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 7:32pm
post #6 of 43

I wish I had a place. I'd give you a job in a heart beat. I love your enthusiasm. You will make a wonderful employee for someone. It's great to watch your skills progress on your blog. Keep up the good work.

adree313 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 10:08pm
post #7 of 43

thank you icon_smile.gif it's kind of a bummer i'm not getting more input here. i know there are lots of you out there that could help icon_sad.gif

maybe a simpler question would be: how would you, as a shop owner, want someone to approach you about getting a below entry level position (again, "trash-taker-out" icon_biggrin.gif , dishwasher, mopper, anything) in your shop?

SpringFlour Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 10:22pm
post #8 of 43

I'm not speaking from experience, here, but I would imagine that many shop owners don't necessarily have the budget for the "trash-taker-outers" icon_lol.gif and dishwashers. I totally get what you're saying, though. I had thought about even going in once a week and volunteering to do whatever "grunt" work was needed...making batches of buttercream, washing deco bags, whatever. Unfortunately, there just aren't bakeries near me.

And I'm with you. I could go to WalMart or a grocery store, but that's not really the experience I'm looking for. Someday I will have my own shop...once the kids are older, so I want to know what goes into one.

adree313 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 10:42pm
post #9 of 43

the thing is, i don't even care about the money at this point icon_smile.gif i'd love to go in and volunteer my time for the grunt work lol. if they wanted to pay, great! but if not, the experience is all i'm really after. i just don't know how to go about the whole volunteer thing because there are a couple bakeries that i can think of around here. how would you have gone about doing it? that's the kind of information i'm looking for here! icon_biggrin.gif

CakestyleIN Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:10am
post #10 of 43

I would say honesty is the best policy. Go into a bakery and tell them what you've told us here. Not sure how much you'll gain from being there as you'll be busy cleaning, but if you do get the opportunity to observe, be mindful not to bug'em to death with questions!! When I was not of legal age to work, I "volunteered" at a pizza shop folding their boxes and what not- the owner couldn't "hire" me because I was 13, but he "paid" me with a slice of pizza and a coke for an hrs work. I learned how to make a good dough, though! I would think this would be a similar situation. The owner might be very willing to "pay" you in education for the work you perform. Especially because the work would be stuff people don't generally look forward to doing icon_biggrin.gif

snarkybaker Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:17am
post #11 of 43

As someone who has gone through this pretty often, when you are running a business, you have to think about the good of the business.

I can't even tell you the number of young women I have hired who sounded just like you. They really love to bake etc. I agree to hire them to work the counter, with the opportunity to help in the kitchen on busy weekends. First they are excited, especially the first time they get to help crumb coat or decorate some cupcakes. Pretty soon though, they don't want to work every weekend, and then they don't really think they should have to work the counter any more, and then you have an unhappy frustrated employee who feels like they are being held back, and an unhappy resentful employer who feels like you have broken the deal to do "anything" just to get a foot in the door.

It's not like this has happened to us once. We have gotten sophisticated enough in our hiring practices to know exactly who we want to hire. I will only hire pastry school graduates to bake, pastry or art school graduates to decorate, and my front counter employees have to be in college or a recent graduate with a GPA of at least 3.0.

Now I don't doubt that you are passionate about what you do, but when I am hiring, I need to think about our bakery as a whole, and "cheap" labor always ends up costing you in the long run.

adree313 Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 3:00am
post #12 of 43

i completely understand where you are coming from. i get that the "big picture" is what needs to be looked at. i would never tell a bakery that i could be there at their "beck and call" on weekends, or any other time really (even if that means that they'll have to pass on letting me work there), because i do have another job. but what i WOULD tell them is that when i'm not working i WILL do whatever they would ask of me. i know you have no reason to believe that my passion wouldn't dwindle, but i'm the kind of person that's in things for the long haul. as far as not being happy to work the counter anymore, trust me, i'm new enough to the "real world work force" that the counter would be a great blessing to me! my head is not one to get big... about most things icon_biggrin.gif

thank you all so much for your advice! i think what i need to do from here is just head over to the bakeries and talk to whoever wants to listen to me icon_smile.gif

snarkybaker Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:03pm
post #13 of 43

I can't imagine anyone who would hire you if you weren't willing to work weekends. That is when bakeries are the busiest.


Good Luck! I hope you find a position that makes you happy.

littlecake Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:19pm
post #14 of 43

i've worked at several bakeries before opening my place....i was hired on the spot every time...easy to get hired.

but if you don't want to work weekends or be at their beckin call....no one will need you on a weekday.....if you can't give up weekends this biz is not for you.

i haven't had a saturday off in 12 years.

i can't tell you how many people have offered to come in and work for free...i've never took anyone up on it.

for reasons stated above.

-K8memphis Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:26pm
post #15 of 43

I didn't read everything. And I am in a bad mood--so with that disclaimer let me gently opine that it pisseth me off that someone even our op would be willing to take out the trash for 'a bakery' but not for a Walmart or a Kroger or a Jewel bakery.

Oh oh I'll work for free, I'm so worthy I don't care about the money--but yeah no not anywhere beneath my lofty standard.

Dude, those are bakeries. Hey guess what, you get beaucoups of benefits there too. You get that elusive experience you're after too.

If you do go get your hands dirty at such low life, turn your nose up at places then the people in the bakeries will want to hire you. Go figure.

Maybe too frank--but...duh.

Quote:
Quote:

" i'm not just some random kid walking off the street"--


I think you are.

So beat me up and call me harsh. You can't say I ain't for real.

littlecake Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:35pm
post #16 of 43

i worked for 2 in store bakeries...for a few years....i learned so much there about how a business is run, and how to get things done , every place i've worked i learned something....one place they even made me come in at 3 and make donuts ha ha.

OhMyGanache Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:47pm
post #17 of 43

You can apply at a grocery store (I worked at Fred Meyer) - and you will be able to help out with the decorating, even when it's not "your job".

If you're near Boise, Pastry Perfection hires a lot of untrained people - and while you probably won't be decorating, you'll get a taste of what it's like in a production bakery.

OhMyGanache Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:49pm
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

I didn't read everything. And I am in a bad mood--so with that disclaimer let me gently opine that it pisseth me off that someone even our op would be willing to take out the trash for 'a bakery' but not for a Walmart or a Kroger or a Jewel bakery.

Oh oh I'll work for free, I'm so worthy I don't care about the money--but yeah no not anywhere beneath my lofty standard.

Dude, those are bakeries. Hey guess what, you get beaucoups of benefits there too. You get that elusive experience you're after too.

If you do go get your hands dirty at such low life, turn your nose up at places then the people in the bakeries will want to hire you. Go figure.

Maybe too frank--but...duh.

Quote:
Quote:

" i'm not just some random kid walking off the street"--

I think you are.

So beat me up and call me harsh. You can't say I ain't for real.




Whoa... take a step back girl, that was SO uncalled for. thumbsdown.gif

-K8memphis Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:53pm
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMyGanache

Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

I didn't read everything. And I am in a bad mood--so with that disclaimer let me gently opine that it pisseth me off that someone even our op would be willing to take out the trash for 'a bakery' but not for a Walmart or a Kroger or a Jewel bakery.

Oh oh I'll work for free, I'm so worthy I don't care about the money--but yeah no not anywhere beneath my lofty standard.

Dude, those are bakeries. Hey guess what, you get beaucoups of benefits there too. You get that elusive experience you're after too.

If you do go get your hands dirty at such low life, turn your nose up at places then the people in the bakeries will want to hire you. Go figure.

Maybe too frank--but...duh.

Quote:
Quote:

" i'm not just some random kid walking off the street"--

I think you are.

So beat me up and call me harsh. You can't say I ain't for real.



Whoa... take a step back girl, that was SO uncalled for. thumbsdown.gif




I disagree. thumbs_up.gif

-K8memphis Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:55pm
post #20 of 43

She'll do anything but walk through the only open door.

What?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adree313

i could use some professional insight...
i would like to have ANY job i can get in a bakery/cake shop. actually, to tell you the truth, i wouldn't ask about pay if it was like a dishwasher/trash taker-outer! is it unreasonable to think i could do this?




I gave professional insight.

Being a bakery owner is not glamorous. You don't go on field trips to the zoo and the tattoo parlor and get on tv.

Being a bakery owner is about deadlines and sweating payroll and prices hoping the government doesn't cause you to shut you down and employess that make you wish you could.

icon_biggrin.gif

OhMyGanache Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 1:59pm
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

She'll do anything but walk through the only open door.

What?




Perhaps she wants to see what it's like to operate a smaller, upscale bakery because that might be her ultimate goal. I don't see the problem with that...

If my goal was to open my own restaurant, I wouldn't apply at McDonald's. Yes, it's a job, but it's not going to give me the experience or the insight I am looking for.

She's not being the snob here, you are. Sorry.

-K8memphis Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:06pm
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMyGanache

Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

She'll do anything but walk through the only open door.

What?



Perhaps she wants to see what it's like to operate a smaller, upscale bakery because that might be her ultimate goal. I don't see the problem with that...

If my goal was to open my own restaurant, I wouldn't apply at McDonald's. Yes, it's a job, but it's not going to give me the experience or the insight I am looking for.

She's not being the snob here, you are. Sorry.




I forgive you.

Lenette Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:14pm
post #23 of 43

Actually, I may have to disagree here. Sooner or later I will learn to stay out of it huh? icon_biggrin.gif This is said in friendship-- with no attitude, okay?

You can learn something from any job. Even at McDonald's (only using the example) you can learn about scheduling enough staff, ordering, inventory, etc etc.

An in store bakery- same thing. Staffing, ordering, what is it like around graduation time, when someone quits at the last minute, you forgot a cake, are out of supplies. Even if all you learn is what NOT to do it is an education. And those types of bakeries ARE more likely to hire someone with no experience to clean up and whatnot.

I know of several people who now own shops who learned about production, doing things quickly and efficiently by working at the grocery store bakery. That does not mean that your skills have to be limited to what the store allows you to do.

I think K8 was making a good point, she did say up front that she is in a mood. icon_wink.gif

I am a home business so in my area I am not allowed to have employees. I do hope the OP will find something that suits her! icon_smile.gif

Doug Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:17pm
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMyGanache

If my goal was to open my own restaurant, I wouldn't apply at McDonald's. Yes, it's a job, but it's not going to give me the experience or the insight I am looking for.




really.

  • turn your nose up at learning to ensuring all food is properly cooked to spec -- as the head chef wants it done -- like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to manage a large crew of people like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to deal with demanding customers like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to place orders for supplies and then follow up to ensure proper delivery like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to complete all the steps in doing payroll like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to how to complete all the paper work that is required like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to comply with all the laws, regulations and inspection requirements like you will in a "real" restaurant?


and the list goes on an on...

----

sorry, but that comment that McD's is not real experience is the height of snobbery itself.

----

there are valuable skills to be learned in ANY job that can be cross applied.

----

what I find laughable -- in your average McD's you are seeing "line cooks" who are doing as instructed by a head chef. Granted that chef and his staff are at headquarters in Illinois -- but, do your homework and go look up the qualifications of the people who actually oversee and develop the McD's menu -- they are all culinary school (think CIA, etc.) graduates who DO have "real" restaurant experience.

First and foremost, a restaurant is a BUSINESS -- one that sells food. Business skills can be learned in a McDs!

OhMyGanache Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:24pm
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMyGanache

If my goal was to open my own restaurant, I wouldn't apply at McDonald's. Yes, it's a job, but it's not going to give me the experience or the insight I am looking for.



really.
  • turn your nose up at learning to ensuring all food is properly cooked to spec -- as the head chef wants it done -- like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to manage a large crew of people like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to deal with demanding customers like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to place orders for supplies and then follow up to ensure proper delivery like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to complete all the steps in doing payroll like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to how to complete all the paper work that is required like you will in a "real" restaurant?

  • turn your nose up at learning to comply with all the laws, regulations and inspection requirements like you will in a "real" restaurant?

and the list goes on an on...

----

sorry, but that comment that McD's is not real experience is the height of snobbery itself.

----

there are valuable skills to be learned in ANY job that can be cross applied.

----

what I find laughable -- in your average McD's you are seeing "line cooks" who are doing as instructed by a head chef. Granted that chef and his staff are at headquarters in Illinois -- but, do your homework and go look up the qualifications of the people who actually oversee and develop the McD's menu -- they are all culinary school (think CIA, etc.) graduates who DO have "real" restaurant experience.

First and foremost, a restaurant is a BUSINESS -- one that sells food. Business skills can be learned in a McDs!




It seems some people just want to argue. I never said I wouldn't get experience at McDonald's. I never said it wouldn't be HELPFUL. What I said was that if my goal was to open a restaurant, I would want to try to get my foot in the door of the type of establishment I wanted to run and see how THEY do it... and why THEY are successful so that I could emulate that. Why would I want to emulate McDonald's business model if that's not the type of establishment I want to own?

If anyone is going to jump to conclusions just to have a reason to argue, I will simply bow out of this discussion. The problem I have is that someone asks a legitimate question and gets jumped on and insulted. If someone wants to disagree with me over my McDonald's reference - fine... but I do have a point, even if you are unwilling to see it.

I won't go into this type of debate with anyone. Let me just reiterate that Kate's comment was uncalled for - and that is the only point I really cared to make here.

-K8memphis Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:32pm
post #26 of 43

She said, this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by adree313

thank you for the compliment sleepisaturn and thank you both for the advice. honestly, i don't expect my cake decorating "skills" to get me anywhere right now. i've never taken a class and, really, i'm just not ready to decorate on a professional scale. i would be shocked if they allowed me to work on any paying cake order! so, really, dishwashing is probably all i can hope for at this point. but i'm totally fine with that! i KNOW that kids have to pay dues and i'm really willing to pay them. i don't care what level i start at or if i start with zilch pay. but i just don't know how to actually do this. my only thought would be to walk into a cake shop and say "need your dishes washed? i'll do 'em! free! just let me absorb information from you! (directly or indirectly icon_biggrin.gif)" (okay maybe not that EXACT wording, but you catch my drift!) and mommy1st mentioned a grocery store route... i don't know if that's where i really want to go. i'm not trying to say that there aren't genuine artists there, because sometimes there are! that's just not what my ultimate goal is. right now i just really want to see what a day in the life of a cake decorator/shop owner is. does that make sense??




Sometimes quality people work at grocery stores? Really?

OhMyG, if my professional comment was uncalled for and you have already apologized to me for calling me a name, then you needed to repeat your point because...

Doug Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:37pm
post #27 of 43

as has been pointed out be several OLDer more EXPERIENCED individuals in this thread....

why should we waste our time on the those who come to us begging for "experience" but then turn their nose up at we have to teach them --

chief of which is that is not glamorous, fun, and a celebrity status job, but plain ol' day in and day out HARD work?

----

and to think there is only ONE way to get "experience" is simply to be "unable to see" the opportunities for learning and growth that lie all about.

OhMyGanache Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:38pm
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

She said, this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by adree313

thank you for the compliment sleepisaturn and thank you both for the advice. honestly, i don't expect my cake decorating "skills" to get me anywhere right now. i've never taken a class and, really, i'm just not ready to decorate on a professional scale. i would be shocked if they allowed me to work on any paying cake order! so, really, dishwashing is probably all i can hope for at this point. but i'm totally fine with that! i KNOW that kids have to pay dues and i'm really willing to pay them. i don't care what level i start at or if i start with zilch pay. but i just don't know how to actually do this. my only thought would be to walk into a cake shop and say "need your dishes washed? i'll do 'em! free! just let me absorb information from you! (directly or indirectly icon_biggrin.gif)" (okay maybe not that EXACT wording, but you catch my drift!) and mommy1st mentioned a grocery store route... i don't know if that's where i really want to go. i'm not trying to say that there aren't genuine artists there, because sometimes there are! that's just not what my ultimate goal is. right now i just really want to see what a day in the life of a cake decorator/shop owner is. does that make sense??



Sometimes quality people work at grocery stores? Really?

OhMyG, if my professional comment was uncalled for and you have already apologized to me for calling me a name, then you needed to repeat your point because...




First, your "comment" to her was not in the least "professional". Would you address a co-worker or client that way?

Second, I never apologized for calling you a name - I indicated regret that I had to point out your own snobbery.

I'm not going to argue with you. I have better things to do today than try to make a point to someone who refuses to see anything other than what they want to. If you think you're right, so be it. I think you're wrong (even if your point were valid, the way you expressed it was uncalled for), and I wanted the OP to know that I don't agree with the way she was addressed by you in this forum.

-K8memphis Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:46pm
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMyGanache



First, your "comment" to her was not in the least "professional". Would you address a co-worker or client that way?

Second, I never apologized for calling you a name - I indicated regret that I had to point out your own snobbery.




Sure yes I would say that if they needed to hear it.

I don't think you regretted it. icon_lol.gif

Cake_Bliss Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 3:13pm
post #30 of 43

I worked in a bakery when I was 16, my first job, at an Acme in N.J. I learned soooo much. How to decorate donuts, make canollis, help the decorators with cakes when they needed and I made all the strawberry shortcakes so I learned how to perfect shell borders and wrote Happy Birthday on ready mades. It was what truly made me love cakes and the excitement people feel when they are ordering their childs first birthday cake or their wedding cake. It is really a great place to start and the people decorating are usually very experienced and can give you a ton of advice and it is experience that you can truly value.

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