Recipe Protection

Business By caramelchef Updated 22 Feb 2010 , 3:58pm by MalibuBakinBarbie

caramelchef Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:27am
post #1 of 18

Okay, so my partner and I found a spot to run our bakery from and it will also be storefront, now with the size and being the only cake and pastry in the mall, we have our work cut out for us. We obviously have to hire persons to do the baking and stuff, however my partner is afraid of allowing complete strangers see our recipes which we wrote together. Now i don't have a problem with it but she doesn't want to and it has us at a standstill because I don't know what to tell her. Is there something that i can have my staff sign or something so that she would at least feel better. I really don't know what to do. Any thoughts?

17 replies
Kitagrl Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:44am
post #2 of 18

This might be too much extra work but what if you mixed together the dry ingredients into bags (per batch) and then maybe some of the flavorings together (per batch) and then the bakers would only have to mix the wet ingredients and then add the bag full of dry, not knowing really what was in it? You know, kind of making your own "cake base".....

You could even hire someone part time on the weekend to bag up dry ingredients...then your bakers come in during the week and make the cakes. Kind of like at KFC....one plant makes half the recipe and another plant makes the other half and then they both ship them to the central location where they mix them up. haha.

Probably wouldn't work but I dunno maybe it will give you ideas....?

Mrs-A Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:45am
post #3 of 18

i dont know about bakeries but all the staff for the company i work for have to sign confidentially agreements that include intellectual property

these agreements also prohibt some of us working in the same or similar industry for up to 12 months after termination/resignation and can also exclude some staff from working in areas (ie, 20klms from our sydney head office)

reason why i mention the last bit is if you employ someone that starts thinking of opening their own shop down the street - you might be able to stop them

but like anything - legally it all costs money

goodluck

caramelchef Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:50am
post #4 of 18

reason why i mention the last bit is if you employ someone that starts thinking of opening their own shop down the street - you might be able to stop them
Mrs A that is exactly what she was thinking. It does sound like a good idea tho! I will have to see what she thinks now

goodiegoddess Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:57am
post #5 of 18

After watching Cupcake week on Martha, and all the the cupcake shops not only made but posted their recipes online I dont really think its a big deal. Do you think that someone is going to take every recipe you have and open the same store down the street and advertise that its yours? I dont know, i guess anything is possible. You can get them to sign a contract but if they copy the recipe and even change on little detail like 1tsp of vanilla and yours calls for 1 1/2tsp then this might no apply any more........just my OP

caramelchef Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 4:03am
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodiegoddess

After watching Cupcake week on Martha, and all the the cupcake shops not only made but posted their recipes online I dont really think its a big deal. Do you think that someone is going to take every recipe you have and open the same store down the street and advertise that its yours? I dont know, i guess anything is possible. You can get them to sign a contract but if they copy the recipe and even change on little detail like 1tsp of vanilla and yours calls for 1 1/2tsp then this might no apply any more........just my OP




Well as i said before it really doesn't matter to me and Ive tried discussing this with my partner and i told her who cares, at the end of the day we will have our clientele and i think that is what matter most but i don't know maybe signing something may make her feel better.

caramelchef Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 4:06am
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by caramelchef

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodiegoddess

After watching Cupcake week on Martha, and all the the cupcake shops not only made but posted their recipes online I dont really think its a big deal. Do you think that someone is going to take every recipe you have and open the same store down the street and advertise that its yours? I dont know, i guess anything is possible. You can get them to sign a contract but if they copy the recipe and even change on little detail like 1tsp of vanilla and yours calls for 1 1/2tsp then this might no apply any more........just my OP



Well as i said before it really doesn't matter to me and Ive tried discussing this with my partner and i told her who cares, at the end of the day we will have our clientele and i think that is what matter most but i don't know maybe signing something may make her feel better.




Oh yea and i love your point of view i think I am going to use it in my discussion with her tomorrow. Thanks

djs328 Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 4:21am
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs-A

i dont know about bakeries but all the staff for the company i work for have to sign confidentially agreements that include intellectual property

these agreements also prohibt some of us working in the same or similar industry for up to 12 months after termination/resignation and can also exclude some staff from working in areas (ie, 20klms from our sydney head office)


goodluck




These agreements are called a non-compete agreement, and can be basically whatever you want - 1 yr, 2 yrs, etc. and basically state the person cannot start his/her own business nearby or go after your clients in that 2 yr (or whatever period) Might be worth looking into...

I also like the idea of 1 person mixing the dry ingredients and the other person mixing it all together with the wet ingredients at a different time.

dandelion56602 Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 4:46am
post #9 of 18

You may not think it's a big deal, but it is to her & she is your partner. Me, I wouldn't want someone w/ my exact recipes. I have known people that do the dry vs wet. I also sat in on a trademark session this weekend (but other things were discussed too). There's really soooo much that goes into it that you should seriously think about meeting w/ a lawyer. At least for a consult. A lot of people were saying they wanted their recipes copyrighted, but that opens it up to public knowledge. Yet you can have so much of it "blocked" from publication but still be copyrighted.

My dh & his dad had a business that involved A LOT of formulas for their product. Let's just say if you come up w/ or have a recipe that everyone wants & you didn't have it given to you overnight then yeah it's insulting. Who's to say that one of your employees won't get pissed & go work for a neighboring bakery (even in the next town) and give them the recipe. Or they take out an add in the paper & publish your recipes for everything. These are unlikely scenerios, but while watching my dh & his business I've learned how pissed people can become (oh there are some horror stories that are flat out LIES).

I'm not harping on you but I can tell you, having the same opinion as your partner, that she's thinking about the long term & protecting herself. Take something that means a lot to you & think about how you'd feel if she said "oh that's nothing, don't worry w/ it".

I dont know that employees can sign non-competes (w/ our experience they were signed when the business was sold). Employees signed confidentiality agreements b/c they came in contact w/ trade secrets. But it's soooo complicated. Like I said, I would at least have a consult w/ a lawyer.

cakesdivine Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 4:54am
post #10 of 18

When I had my storefront and had others baking, I did mix my dry ingredients and wrote out on the lid of the ingredient bin what flavor base was in the bin. Then all they added were the wet ingredients and maybe some flavor elements, but they never knew the entire recipe to be able to recreate it.

Mike1394 Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 4:59am
post #11 of 18

If Herme, and Payard don't mind sharing why should she? It's not like she invented the steam engine.

Mike

AmandaLP Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:19pm
post #12 of 18

If you are worried about the recipes, then I like the "dry mix" idea above.

Non compete agreements can be tricky, and a lawyer should look over it. You have to make sure that it is limited in scope enough that it does not prevent the employee from finding other work. This would be used to, say, prevent your employee opening up a new business, or working for another bakery.

You may also want to look into non disclosure agreements, which would protect the recipes themselves, and prevent the employee from releasing those, even if they do go work somewhere else.

In both cases, have a lawyer draft them, but also be aware that they can be hard, and costly, to enforce.

mamawrobin Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:41pm
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

If Herme, and Payard don't mind sharing why should she? It's not like she invented the steam engine.

Mike




Kinda what I was thinking icon_confused.gificon_lol.gif

jodibug0975 Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:50pm
post #14 of 18

non-compete agreements are very common in a lot of industries. I have signed one before, no big deal.

whisperingmadcow Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:50pm
post #15 of 18

I think you really have two options. Either do the dry mixed thing yourself/herself, or see a lawyer so you can draw up something binding. Maybe both. I have signed my share of contracts before and I have worked for places who don't have me sign anything because they know that all you have to do is change 10% of any of their recipes and then you can call it your own.

At some point she will have to let go a little bit. But if shes really passionate about it, then that means extra work for her.

coldtropics Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 7:36am
post #16 of 18

I will not divulge anything from my core recipe chest not even to friends and family. It took years of trial and error to develop these recipies and alot of hard work. I do however have recipies that i have not developed but modified from existing recipies...these i have no problem sharing. Do the dry/wet as suggested. More work but i think you'll be more comfortable in the end.

FullHouse Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 3:14pm
post #17 of 18

I agree with the idea of premixing dry ingedients, the non compete clauses are difficult to enforce.
You can't prevent someone from working in their field after they leave your employment, if it constitutes taking away their ability to earn a living.

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 3:58pm
post #18 of 18

My immediate response was to do as many have already suggested. Combine whatever ingredients you can yourselves. This way whoever you hire will not know the ratios. Also, make sure you secure your recipes. You may wish to have the original full-version off-premises or locked in a safe.

About the non-compete agreements, I think that will work only with the most honest of people. I had to sign a non-compete agreement when I worked in the brokerage industry. I somehow feel it's not quite the same in a food industry. I think it is easier to get away with "copying" (not necessarily disclosing) when it comes to food, and therefore a non-compete may be harder to enforce.

Good luck with your endeavors!!!! icon_smile.gif

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