Culinary School Vs. Buisness School

Business By Mel2085 Updated 1 Mar 2010 , 4:32pm by Mel2085

Mel2085 Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 6:45pm
post #1 of 17

So I am wanting to take some type of schooling. I think I should do culinary DH things I should do business classes because one day I want to owe my own bakery!

I would like to hear your some CCers input!!


16 replies
indydebi Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 8:37pm
post #2 of 17

I vote for business. YOu can be the best dang cook or decorator in the world, but if you dont' understand the business side of running a business, you're in deep doo-doo.

You need to understand, HR, purchasing, cash flow, logistics, ordering process, taxes, accounting, sales, marketing, advertising, employee referee'ing, inventory, pricing structures and how to set them, time management for doing the books (and/or gettign the number to the accountant). And some understanding of loans and banking processes. How to negotiate (if' you're a namby-pamby on this regard, you'll get eaten alive by ad-men and salesmen who are trying to sell you stuff).

And oh yeah knowing how to decorate a cake is a good thing to know on the side! icon_wink.gif

spring Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 9:10pm
post #3 of 17

What Indy Debi said...EXACTLY.


bobwonderbuns Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 9:26pm
post #4 of 17

Agreed! I have so many students who tell me "I want to own a bakery" when they first start learning cake decorating and when I ask them why -- the answer is almost always "I can bake a good cake and I enjoy decorating." Which is all fine and dandy, but when I quiz them on "where will you get your supplies?" and "why do you think there aren't an abundance of bakeries in your area?" they have no clue how to answer those questions. It's hard to convince someone who is all excited about learning a new art that there's another side to the story -- the business side.

itsacake Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 9:37pm
post #5 of 17

I went to baking and pastry school, though it was a certificate program and not a full degree program. Didn't change anything about how I did cakes. They did not teach anything about business (nor how to do anything in a commercially viable way, if it comes to that) Cake decorating was a small part of the overall program, everything was done small batch and there wasn't as much on the theory of baking as I would have liked.

I'm still glad I went, as I met some very helpful people, (and more that were not helpful in the least). It is marginally helpful to say I have a pastry degree, but I think truthfully it was a waste of a lot of money.

If you can find a community college that teaches business classes within a culinary program, that seems to me to be what I should have done. If I were going to do it over again, that would definitely be the way I would go. It is much more cost effective and the education is often better.

If you do decide to do culinary school, be sure you explore the kind of program they have thoroughly, and discuss with current students which chefs are the ones you want to learn with. Not all want to really share their knowledge. My first 3 months were a total waste of time. Second 3 months were like the sun coming out on a cloudy day. Only thing that changed was the chef who was teaching.

Consider carefully, it is very in vogue to pay huge amounts of money to go to culinary school, only to find when you get out that you are only considered for entry level positions that pay $8.00 an hour (or whatever minimum wage is where you are) The very act of going to private culinary school can set you back thousands that you could have spent on your future business.

jillmakescakes Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 11:22pm
post #6 of 17


Unless you have a bevy of business people/acountants/lawyers/PR people in your family willing to work for free.

You can hone your cake talents on your fellow classmates!

PinkLisa Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 11:44pm
post #7 of 17

Business -- all the way! I have a business background and it definitely helps. You can learn baking and decorating in many other ways.

snowshoe1 Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 11:49pm
post #8 of 17

I have an MBA and can tell you that you won't necessarily learn how to run a business by getting a college business degree. You will spend a lot of time taking advanced statistics classes, mathmatics, economics, accounting, etc... A business degree will prepare you to enter the 'world of business' but you won't walk out of there knowing how to run a business.

Just a suggestion - If you want to save tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, take a series of courses, like a certificate program, at your community college that focuses on running a business. Look for something that teach you 'creative' accounting (including depreciation), marketing, advertising, etc...

I've owned three business - a dot com I sold to Intuit, a management consulting group, and now a bakery. Each business was different (laws, accounting rules, marketing, advertising, etc...).

Please read the book E-Myth Revisited.

I 'retired' when I turned 40 and went to culinary school and did NOT learn to decorate cakes - nor did I expect to. Over a 8-month period we learned the science of pastry arts. I'm glad I want to culinary school, but you can gain much of the same knowledge by studying and practicing techniques in books such as Professional Baking by Gisslen, BakeWise, and others.

Now that I've rambled, any degree gives you a sense of self-actualization that is invaluable.

Spuddysmom Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 11:50pm
post #9 of 17


flourpowerMN Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 12:05am
post #10 of 17

I completely agree with snowshoe1. Most 4-year degree programs will NOT teach you how to actually run a business.

Check to see if there is a small business development agency in your community--usually they're part of the chamber of commerce. Or, at least someone at the chamber can direct you.

There's another program & I'm not sure if it's only in MN called SCORE...basically a group of retired executives who want to assist those just starting out in business by lending their advice & experience.

Good luck!

indydebi Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 12:12am
post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by snowshoe1

Please read the book E-Myth Revisited.

Abso-freaking-lutely!! A MUST READ for everyone contemplating or actually running a business. Best book EVER!!!!!

snowshoe1 Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 12:16am
post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by indydebi

Originally Posted by snowshoe1

Please read the book E-Myth Revisited.

Abso-freaking-lutely!! A MUST READ for everyone contemplating or actually running a business. Best book EVER!!!!!

Amen! All three of my personalities described in this book are constantly at battle with each other. Unfortunately the 'technician' seems the strongest icon_cry.gif and the meanest!

AmandaLP Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 12:20am
post #13 of 17

In looking into a business school, several of them offer an Entrepreneurial focus, looking at actually running a business.

My business minor for my bachelors was the biggest waste of time and the most boring classes ever.

indydebi Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 12:32am
post #14 of 17

Let me add an example of some stuff you need to know to run a business that you WON'T find in any textbook, and an example of things you need to know that you never even THOUGHT were things you need to know!

Back when gas was $4 a gallon, most poeple thought prices were going up because of the cost of delivery. Not entirely true.

Corn is a commodity that affects the price of every item in the grocery. THe cost of your dairy products are dependent on corn pricing becuase cows that give milk to make milk, cheese, butter, cream, yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese etc., eat corn. Beef and pork products are effected because this is the foodstuff of cows and pigs. Chickens eat corn, so the cost of eggs and chicken, chicken soup, etc., is affected.

So why did corn go up? Because corn was being diverted to bio-diesel fuel production. Under the laws of supply-and-demand, when the demand for a product goes up and the supply is (temporarily) constant, the price goes up.

At the same time, farming production was picking up in Asia. John Deere, according the The Wall Street Report, was recieving record orders that put them over-capacity in their produciton. Again, supply and deman ... demand went up, production space was full, so the cost to the buyer went up. That meant the $100,000 combine the U.S. farmer had to buy now cost him $150,000.

When the price of gas went down and the corn supply was increased, could we expect food prices to drop down to where they used to be? No. Why not? Becasue the farmer STILL has to pay the $150,000 loan for that combine. John Deere didn't send him a memo saying "Never mind .... you only have to pay us $100,000 now." Since the farmer's overhead was higher, then his prices had to remain higher.

If you're going to start a bakery, does it cross your mind that you have to be aware of farming production in Asia? Of course not.

But you do. ANd if there is a crop failure on raspberries in SOuth America (as there was a couple of years ago), then you'll understand why the sleeves of raspberry filling doubled in price.

But they dont' teach you that in a classroom.

mkolmar Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 3:27am
post #15 of 17

I have a certificate as well as a 2 year degree in Culinary Skills and Business Management. If you are going to take business classes make sure they are more in the culinary end. Everything plus more of what Indy mentioned I learned in culinary business classes. It went into much more detail than that also as to different states and there building codes and so on, proper hiring/firing, building a restaurant from the ground up, supplier cost.....etc.
Making a great product is the easy part, being able to run a business and not have the business run you is the hard part.

Find a culinary school with business geared specifically for culinary.

maidofcake Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 4:21am
post #16 of 17

As a culinary school grad with a mortgage-like student loan, I wholeheartedly agree with Itsacake. Take some culinary classes at a local community college. Most of them have excellent programs for a third of the $$.

Also, are you currently working in a bakery? If not, you may want to consider working in one. You will learn WAY more on the job than you will in any culinary classroom.

Mel2085 Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 4:32pm
post #17 of 17

Thank you so much!!!! I can't wait to tell my DH that he was right!! icon_smile.gif

I have a great commuinty college 10 or 15 min away from me so I should be able to attend night classes there, and as for working in a bakery....I would love to but I have just an AMAZING job right now I can't give it up!! Plus it is one of my other loves....I am a nanny for an 8 month old and I have great hours!!! And I plan on having kids within a few years and I don't know how good it would be to have a job at a bakery and be prego!

Thank you so much for helping and I will for sure get that book to read....any other books that you would suggest for getting a buisness started?

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