Do You Need Culinary Training To Open Up A Shop?

Business By CAKE_NEWBIE Updated 28 Jun 2010 , 10:14pm by _christina_

CAKE_NEWBIE Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 5:53pm
post #1 of 13


I have a small party decor business that I do as my side job mostly for friends and family. I do everything via email and phone then I set up onsite so I don't have a store front or anything like that. Lately business has been picking up and my hubby thinks I should think about making it my full time job. I was thinkibg about ways to make my business more unique and stand out and I came up with the idea to make a party decor/ party planning shop plus sell cupcakes too. Like half the shop will be devoted to party planning then half will be cupcake shop. I was thinking of doing the basic flavors and frosting plus some gourmet ones and maybe a cupcake of the day type idea and also have available custom theme cupcakes that people can order to go along with their theme when they order party decor from me. My question is do you need to be a professional baker in order to set up shop? I am really new to cake making but I have been making cupcakes and coming up with different flavors for years and my family has been the taste testers and everyone loves them. I don't have any type of pastry school training or anything like that everything has basically been self taught through lots of trial and error. when ordering cupcakes do you go by credentials or by taste and design?

12 replies
brincess_b Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 6:17pm
post #2 of 13

you dont need to be a professional or qualified baker to have a shop.
what im more worried about is the mash of party planner and cup cake bakery and shop. you personally would probably be taking a big step back to manage things, and be doing less of what i assume you enjoy - the planning, and the baking.
i think also, that the jump from home business to shop is very big and needs a lot of thinking!
get cracking with your business plan, and lots fo serious reseach and see how it goes.
doable yes, but in a very different way to what you do now.

indydebi Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 6:41pm
post #3 of 13

Opening an office for a party planner takes a "required" cash expense of ... what? You gotta buy a phone, a filing cabinet and a fax/copier machine? (I'm not being sarcastic here ... I have a number of friends who are event planners and we talk/joke about this all the time.)

Opening a bakery takes a "required" cash expense of:
- commercial baking equipment/ovens. Just because you are making little cakes (cupcakes) doesn't mean they sell a littler oven at a littler price.
- 3 compartment sink, stainless steel counters, commercial mixer, commercial refrigerator/freezer. You don't buy this stuff at Sears at "housewife" prices.
- I am not aware of any required licensing for party planning but in the baking world you have to get a Food Safe Certification and a Health Dept License (my license was about $600/year).
- Property insurance to cover a handful of office equipment is lots less expensive than property insurance to cover $25,000-$50,000 worth of kitchen equipment.

These are two different animals. Party planner you can do a little each day for months prior to the event. Baking? Pretty much has to be done within days/hours of hte event. I mean, I can make silk floral centerpieces months in advance .... cupcakes can't be realistically made months in advance (acknowledging the fact that they can be baked and frozen but then that makes you no different that grocery bakeries who get their cakes shipped in, baked and frozen months in advance).

Do the business plan. The actual numbers may surprised you.

prterrell Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 8:03pm
post #4 of 13

Culinary training - no.
Business knowledge - yes.

johnson6ofus Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 6:08am
post #5 of 13
Originally Posted by CAKE_NEWBIE

....I do as my side job mostly for friends and family.

Do they pay $$$$ for your services? How many post have there been about "They love me when I am "free", but even charging for materials....(then they compare me to WalMart)"

As PP said, when you have overhead to cover, it adds up quick. Run some numbers to see what you need just to break even.

indydebi Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 7:08am
post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus

As PP said, when you have overhead to cover, it adds up quick. Run some numbers to see what you need just to break even.

Actually, my article in the first issue of Cake Central magz is a great list of what johnson6ofus is talking about. The "little things" that add up quick!

JaimeAnn Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 7:34am
post #7 of 13

The big one is what Indy said about Licensing from your Health Department. You can't just make cupcakes at home and sell them at your Party Planning Buisness. There are a lot of Health codes and Serve Safe training that need to be addressed. I am not sure what your local codes are but Your first step would be to find out what is required for you to legaly sell comsumables.

If the state you live in does license Home Bakers it could cut youroperation costs down , but you still need to do it the proper way.

johnson6ofus Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 3:40pm
post #8 of 13

Oops- I forgot to say- good luck! icon_biggrin.gif Sometimes the posts seem so negative, but that is just because we want to help you avoid pitfalls or mistakes we may have made ourselves.

Shelly11 Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 1:17am
post #9 of 13

I am in the same boat as you. I make cakes for family and friends, and have to been compared to walmart prices. My family and friends tell me I should be charging people more than walmart cakes! Thing is I really can't charge since I don't have a buisness, so I always take a loss for the cakes. However they do tell me my cakes are better than Walmart so that is a plus right?!

Please let me know if you find out anything on how to begin your buisness. I have been making cakes on the side for a year now, and my husband thinks I should do it full time since I have so many people asking me to do cakes that are not just family and friends!

Good Luck and post if you find out how to start. I am at a loss even where to begin. I am a surgical nurse and have no experience even running a buisness, so at least you have that going for you!

Newbie Shelly icon_smile.gif

Gloria0215 Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 7:38pm
post #10 of 13

I've seen several references to your article about opening a cake business in the first issue of the Cake Central magazine. It seems almost impossible to find this issue. I've called every vendor on the list and can't find it. Is it possible to get the first issue? If not, is it possible to get your article? Would love to have it! Thanks.

dreamcakesmom Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 8:38pm
post #11 of 13

I have many many wonderful cooks who do not have specific culinary school training but hav eworked with many great chefs over the years and have accrued invaluable culinary experience that way. I too think this venture takes more of a business head and a lot of research to see if selling cupcakes is worth the expense that it may take to get that side of the business up and running. Good luck in whatever decision you do make.

tavyheather Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 8:56pm
post #12 of 13

ditto. I've seen so many w/o culinary degrees...the ones who make it have business sense...or have someone helping them with financials. I am going to be having a financial adviser on call to help with my lack of business sense...have u considered that?

_christina_ Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 10:14pm
post #13 of 13

I went to culinary school, one of the best, and there people in my class who should not have even been there. I'm talking complete and total messes in the kitchen. Just because you go to culinary school does not make you an expert or give you any more expertise or skill than the next person.

I think it comes down to what you make of your experiences. Practice your a$$ off and try, try, try. My schooling did help me but more because of what I made of it, not what it made of me...does that make sense?

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