Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 9:28pm
post #1 of

My shop is getting ready to open soon and I got all this people who are applying for a job but every one of them is either always dreamed about decorating cakes or opening their own shop...of course all of them need to be taught. Why in the world do I want to train someone with those aspirations and then they open the shop across the street? How do you hire people? How do you make sure they don't run out and start using your recipes and all they learned from you and become competition?

20 replies
bakingpw Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 9:44pm
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Even with my interns and apprentices, I asked to see pics of cakes they had decorated. Like you said...everyone thinks (or has been told) they are decorators. Also, I made EVERYONE sign a paper saying they would not write down, take home or otherwise share my recipes (sort of a non-compete agreement). Good luck!

dkltll Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 9:50pm
post #3 of

I am not a professional baker; however, I do work in an office where we have employees sign a contract w/ a "No Compete" & "Intellectual Property" clauses. This prevents them from taking any recipe or design, either created by them or you to another bakery (even their own). It also prevents them from working in the same industry for the competition for a specified period of time (like 1 year) after dismissal or resignation. You could google these terms or look on some legal forms sites for exact wording, etc... Hope this helps. I would also require a portfolio for prospective employees, you are not a training facility. thumbs_up.gif

sugardugar Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:16pm
post #4 of

In the end, anyone that enjoys decorating will aspire to work independently: if they don't, they probably won't be good. You can't avoid that!

To have them avoid using your recipes you could a) make them sign a contract or b) pre-make your own "box mixes". What I mean is...say your recipe calls for X of this Y of that and Z of the other dry ingredient. Mix them together dry, bag, and label "white cake" and so on. Put on label: add 12 eggs, 2 cups water, 2 cups oil etc. See what I mean?

On top of that, when you call them for an interview, tell them to bring their portfolio or e-mail it beforehand.

Kitagrl Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:28pm
post #5 of

You could always have some cakes or cake dummies ready and ask them to ice and decorate it simply for you during the interview...

I don't hire employees but I would think you'd want a balance....enough talent to work for you but not enough that they'll be going off on their own direction instead of following yours.

annie84 Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:32pm
post #6 of

I have not yet had to hire employees, but one of the shops in my area had some good advice when I took a course from her. She said that she hires students in the arts program from the local university. It's easier to teach a creative person how to work with details on a cake than to teach someone who knows something about cake, how to be creative. I read Duff Goldman's book recently and he also mentioned that almost all of his employees have some sort of art or creative background and very few went to culinary school like he did.

I would guess if you are hiring students, they probably aren't going to want to steal your ideas and recipes because opening their own shop won't be a longterm goal.

Kitagrl Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:36pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by annie84

I have not yet had to hire employees, but one of the shops in my area had some good advice when I took a course from her. She said that she hires students in the arts program from the local university. It's easier to teach a creative person how to work with details on a cake than to teach someone who knows something about cake, how to be creative. I read Duff Goldman's book recently and he also mentioned that almost all of his employees have some sort of art or creative background and very few went to culinary school like he did.

I would guess if you are hiring students, they probably aren't going to want to steal your ideas and recipes because opening their own shop won't be a longterm goal.




This is a really good idea....I have also heard of having students come as interns...then you don't even have to pay them. Maybe culinary students would work great for baking up your layers for you. Then more artistic people to work with your designs.

I'm self taught for the most part...I've had a few helps here and there, and then worked at a caterer for a year (hired based on my portfolio) which really increased my confidence with wedding cakes and broadened my knowledge of baking and desserts (which had been very limited) but I guess I would be an example of someone who could do the cakes based on art experience rather than culinary school.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:39pm
post #8 of

Thanks you all. I was not trying to hire empolyees to start with, applications and phone calls just started to come in. Everyone seems to think that this is glamorous and fun job, and though it is usually fun, it sure does not feel glamorous at 3 am when something does not work out.

Kitagrl Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:43pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

Thanks you all. I was not trying to hire empolyees to start with, applications and phone calls just started to come in. Everyone seems to think that this is glamorous and fun job, and though it is usually fun, it sure does not feel glamorous at 3 am when something does not work out.




TV programs probably do not help that image!

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:50pm

LOVE your cake Kitagirl! Just joined your FB page! You do amazing work icon_biggrin.gif

Kitagrl Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 10:53pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

LOVE your cake Kitagirl! Just joined your FB page! You do amazing work icon_biggrin.gif




Aww thanks! I was admiring your profile pic myself...didn't get a chance to check out your gallery, have been up and down with the kids. icon_lol.gif

lilthorner Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 11:40pm

when I was in school I worked for a local bakery that has been in business for 23 years.. I had to sign a non-compete and a confidentiality agreement.. The non compete probably had a mileage radius and a time frame included, but I don't remember. I also had to do a kitchen trial. I was applying to be a baker, not a decorator, so I had to make 2 fillings using her recipes, plus I had to torte and fill a bunch of cakes.

one thing she appreciated about me (that I heard from the kitchen manager) is that when she ask me what I planned to do in 5 years, I said I wanted to have my own business and be successful like her. Apparently people usually gush and say things like I want to be working for you, and wouldn't necessarily telling the truth, so she appreciated my honesty. Take it as a good thing that people have goals, but at the same time protect yourself..

sillywabbitz Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 12:20am

I think it depends on what you are hiring for. Are you hiring a worker or a decorator ? A worker would bake, clean, answer the phone, work the front if your a store front, color fondant etc. If you are hiring a decorator than you will always risk them wanting to start their own business. I'm pretty sure but could be wrong that Bronwen Webber is head chef/ decorator of Frosted Art but not the owner. I thought she had said she wanted to decorate not do the books. So you may fine someone with similar goals. Also Pebbles, if you weren't planning on hiring I wouldn't hire. Your business plan should have a general idea of income and expenses and if you didn't plan for an employee that can put a wrench in things.

Price Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 12:33am

Kitagirl, I just took a good look at your gallery on your website. Your cakes are wonderful. I especially love the kids cakes. They are so bright, fun and well done! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

Kitagrl Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 12:43am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Price

Kitagirl, I just took a good look at your gallery on your website. Your cakes are wonderful. I especially love the kids cakes. They are so bright, fun and well done! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif




Aw thanks. icon_smile.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 1:37am

I worked at a place where I had to make some icing roses, do a few borders, and ice a cake, a real one, with crumbs! We always made people pull a cake order and do one of the actual cakes though, I got lucky they only had samples and no orders the day I applied! It was commical, honestly. We had a lady come and get crumbs EVERYWHERE!!! And then she scraped them back into the icing bowl, and WHIPPED it again, to try to hide them! lol She wasn't hired! We had people say they would be right back and they would leave, hehe! And we always had to scrape the cake and start over after they left. It was FUN! There was never anyone else hired the whole time I worked there, but about 10 people applied. I missed one interview, but the rest where a hoot! Lopsided, crumby, jagged edges, pressure problems, couldn't fill a bag or make colors. Had a lady that used a tooth pick to put dabs of color in a bowl. After 15 minutes we had a pastel yellow for a construction cake icon_rolleyes.gif

costumeczar Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 12:46pm

Just watch out, because non-compete clauses aren't legal everywhere. They're considered to be something that restricts somone's ability to make a living, so you can't always enforce them.

Baker_Rose Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 1:08pm

You also want to be VERY upfront of what you expect of them. Cake decorators need to be quick in a commercial setting and if they just "want to learn" then they may think they have all day on a cake. Years ago I worked for a grocery store bakery that had a clear list of the expected speeds of each and every cake. I remember a full sheet cake from raw cake on a board, iced, smooth, and flowers (8 full roses and buds) with writing was 20 minutes and a two layer 8-inch round was under 2 minutes.

Now if you have a supply of icing ready to go those times aren't so bad, but if you have to stop and mix up icing and fill bags that blows your time out of the water. And yes, a corporate guy would come around with a stop watch and time you once a year.

I would make them decorate a two layer cake with borders and roses to get an idea of how clean they work and how quick. You have NO IDEA how many days it took for them to make the pretty cakes in the portfolio, so seeing it for yourself helps.

Also, I don't know if you are allowed to ask, but if you watch them you will get to see the health of their wrists, elbows and shoulders. Tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel are real and you don't want to hire someone with severe problems in their joints etc.

Good Luck!! icon_smile.gif

classiccake Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 3:36am

I have my potential employees do a "working interview" for a day or two. Check all their basic skills, teachability, and ability to follow directions.

You can also hire them for a three month term, pay them a little less, then at the three month time, do an evaluation with them, if they are learning, on time, etc, etc, then they get a permament position and a hiring bonus ( such as the extra $1.00 an hour from the past three months they worked at a lower rate.) Then pay them the going rate.

sebrina Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 4:02am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

My shop is getting ready to open soon and I got all this people who are applying for a job but every one of them is either always dreamed about decorating cakes or opening their own shop.




Your cakes are beautiful! Where are you at? I need a job! LOL!
Seriously, I have lots of friends that are all hobby bakers. Anyone that has any confidence has taken a picture of all their cakes. Ask to see them. That is how I always applied for every decorating job! HTH!

Pebbles1727 Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 4:12am

Thanks you all!
Audition does sound like a good idea, I would definitely keep that in mind if I decide to hire. For now, I think it's going to be just me, I'm too of a control freak to let any of the duties go icon_biggrin.gif

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