What Do We Really Need?

Business By mrswendel Updated 7 Feb 2011 , 3:37pm by mrswendel

mrswendel Posted 6 Feb 2011 , 11:46pm
post #1 of 9

Hi all,

We are in the process of finally opening a storefront! We are excited, but feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the equipment options out there. For those of you who have storefronts, what equipment do you recommend? There are so many different brands and sizes that it is hard to determine what you really need. (We don't want to get our equipment and find out in a few weeks that we should have gone for something bigger...or vice versa.) We will be custom cake orders and walkins for cupcakes, cake truffles, pastries (no client seating/coffee/drinks etc). Any suggestions are appreciated!

8 replies
MimiFix Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 12:47am
post #2 of 9

Without knowing your specifics, we can only guess... A cakery would rarely have too much refrigerated display area. Buy the largest size that you can afford and have room for. Buy used equipment whenever possible. If that would leave you with mismatched pieces, a carpenter can add a nice front to the cases. I'd bought an old jewelry display case when K-Mart went out of business and I inherited one from a Woolworth basement. And my refrigerated cases were from a deli that went bankrupt. A contractor made them look charming.

Buy a freezer, home chest model, manual defrost, largest size you can fit in the production area. The top can double as a work surface. Your freezer will become your most cherished piece of equipment. Do not buy a self-defrost model. The freezer goes through a continuous freeze-thaw so there's no ice build up, but your food will go through that cycle too.

I assume you have the basics - ovens, coolers, mixers, workbenches, ingredient bins, shelving, etc.

Why no seating? If you have even a small space, and your lease allows it, customers like having a place to sit, eat, stare at the cases, and buy more to take home.

I owned a bakery and cafe for many years. I miss it (except for the long hours and two a.m. start time). Enjoy your business!


scp1127 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 1:32am
post #3 of 9

Makesure your oven is specifically designed for baked goods. Some have fans that are too high.

indydebi Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 2:51am
post #4 of 9

More shelving than you think. No one ever said "I wish I had less storage!" icon_lol.gif

I wouldnt' recommend a chest freezer to use the top as a work space. One, it may not be health dept approved. Two, what a pain to have to move all of your work to get inside the freezer. Three, stainless steel work counters are usually what is required for work space. Four, 2 or 3-door upright freezers are SO much handier and easier to work with!

If you contemplate any seating area, check with your health dept on any add'l requirements. for example, I didn't have a seating area because it would require me to install a customer-access handicap restroom at a cost of $9000. Also figure the cost per square foot of each table .... space is money and if the space isn't paying for itself, you've increased your expense with dead space. I didnt' want people having a place to nurse a cookie and a cup of coffee for 3 hours. (That's what Starbucks is for! icon_lol.gif )

Highly recommend the large food storage bins. I had one each for flour and sugar. Each would hold over 200 lbs (4 of the 50-lb bags).

don't forget the "little" things ..... multiple trash cans, mop bucket (dont' get me started! icon_mad.gif ), trash bags, disposable hand towels for the hand sink, disposalbe hand tower dispenser for the hand sink (one for the restroom and one for the kitchen), chemicals/soaps for dishwashing system, are you going to get a towel service (I tried buying towels and washing them at home .... that lasted about 20 minutes!!), dumpster service, pest control service (usually required by health dept).

MimiFix Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 3:05am
post #5 of 9

When space is tight and the budget is small, as it was in my shop, we had to make do. We set three sheet pans on top of the freezer and used them to hold our items, such as when we packaged cookies or breads, or folded boxes. Then the few times we needed to use the freezer, the sheet pans made removing things fast and easy. No issue with the health department since we weren't using it for food production.


indydebi Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 3:22am
post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by MimiFix

We set three sheet pans on top of the freezer and used them to hold our items, such as when we packaged cookies or breads, or folded boxes. Then the few times we needed to use the freezer, the sheet pans made removing things fast and easy.

using the sheet pans is a great idea! I'd forgotten that little trick ... used it frequently! thumbs_up.gif Helps with clean up, too!

Rachel5370 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 3:36am
post #7 of 9

Why a chest freezer? And a home model? You must have a more relaxed health department than we do. Everything must be commercial, NSF certified here. Anyway, back to the chest freezer- there are commercial freezers, coolers and combos that are horizontal, have doors on the front and are called "work-tops". They are a great space saver and good to put smaller, frequently used items in. And they are meant to be used for food prep. The defrost cycle doesn't last long enough for the food to thaw- commercial freezers all have that cycle. They are colder than home freezers and the food is more frozen.
To the person asking about the seating- my guess is that they won't be offering that because if seating meant for dine-in is available- then so must an A.D.A. certified bathroom or two be available. If it doesn't already exist it is a HUGE expense. If no dine-in then it's not necessary.

Rachel5370 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 3:39am
post #8 of 9

Oops, just noticed Indydebi already addressed the same things I just did, lol. Smart lady! lol

mrswendel Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 3:37pm
post #9 of 9

Thank you for all of the information! We are looking at a few different locations...a couple that were previously food service related, a couple that weren't and a couple of brand new units that have never had any tenants. We're leaning toward the food service units since they have the plumbing in place that we need, but we will see. Thanks again!

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