Baking Outside Of Storefront

Business By uniquecreations Updated 29 Dec 2011 , 2:28am by FromScratchSF

uniquecreations Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 2:09pm
post #1 of 19

Just wanting to know if there is anyone here that has a storefront and bakes from another location. What are the pros and cons of doing it this way. I want to open a storefront I'm in Virginia and already have a licensed kitchen in my home but I am looking at opening a storefront. There is not a bakery in the area that I live only a grocery store, the potential for business is great, I'm just trying to see what is the best route to go. Baking at home and bringing to the storefront or baking at the storefront which of course would cost more having to buy equipment. Any input would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

18 replies
kakeladi Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 3:21pm
post #2 of 19

You will have to check w/your health dept as to what the rules are. When I was in CA one could NOT do anything like that. *All work* HAD to be done at the bakery.

uniquecreations Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 6:10pm
post #3 of 19

Thank you so much for your reply I wll check with them

jason_kraft Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 6:42pm
post #4 of 19

If you home kitchen is already licensed and legal then there shouldn't be a problem if you bake at home. If you are operating under a cottage food law make sure you can sell homemade products in venues other than your home, some states don't allow this.

Unless you have a really nice setup in your home kitchen, your production will probably be much more efficient at a bakery with dedicated workspace and commercial equipment.

You'll also want to make sure you have a business plan, there may be a good reason for the lack of independent bakeries in your area. Selling wholesale to the grocery store might prove to be more profitable.

costumeczar Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 6:54pm
post #5 of 19

I'm in Richmond...I don't know what the benefit of having a storefront would be if you're baking from it. If you have a store that you want to allow people to come to, you're going to have to be there, so you might as well be doing some baking there while you're hanging around. If you're baking at home than going to the store to meet people you might as well just get a little office for consults, which is what I do.

With a storefront location you have to be there during business hours...In my mind it would be worse to have a store that's closed a lot than it would be to not have one. What was the benefit of doing the baking from home and having a storefront also that you were thinking of?

jason_kraft Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 7:04pm
post #6 of 19

The store doesn't necessarily have to be staffed by the owner, that's what employees are for. The tough part is finding trustworthy employees to run the store and fitting the increased overhead into the monthly budget.

costumeczar Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 7:15pm
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

The store doesn't necessarily have to be staffed by the owner, that's what employees are for. The tough part is finding trustworthy employees to run the store and fitting the increased overhead into the monthly budget.




Right, but being a home-based bakery I can guarantee you that you're not going to make enough to hire an employee unless you expand into a storefront where you can increase production. Unless you have commercial equipment in a home-based commercial kitchen, which doesn't sound like what the OP is dealing with.

Ashleyssweetdesigns Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 7:16pm
post #8 of 19

costumeczar do you mind me asking how much you pay to rent out an office? How often do you meet there with clients?

costumeczar Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 7:20pm
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashleyssweetdesigns

costumeczar do you mind me asking how much you pay to rent out an office? How often do you meet there with clients?




I share an office with 4 other home-based wedding businesses (not cakes), so we split the rent and it's $95 a month. The rent for the office is $450 then we have an internet connection too.

I use it two or three times a month for consults, and it works out really well.

Ashleyssweetdesigns Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 8:04pm
post #10 of 19

Wow that's a great setup. Thnx for the info.

uniquecreations Posted 17 Dec 2011 , 10:54pm
post #11 of 19

Thank you all for your replys I would have my family because we are a family business to run the storefront but I see your point about being there to bake, I just wanted to get some input on the pros and cons. The town is not a really big town that I live in but there has just never been a bakery here. But my home business is doing very well jut wanted to expand. Once again thank you all for yor help

mombabytiger Posted 18 Dec 2011 , 4:32pm
post #12 of 19

I wouldn't do it. You are going to spend all your time at home baking - and I mean ALL, unless you have a production kitchen in your house. Then you'll be loading up your car in all kinds of weather, transporting, unloading, setting up, selling all day and then starting the same cycle all over again. If you think you can have a storefront that doesn't require your presence, think again. You probably won't even break even, never mind turn a profit. Operating a bakery is way too hard to be doing for the fun of it.

LNW Posted 18 Dec 2011 , 8:45pm
post #13 of 19

There is a baker here in my area that does what youre thinking of doing. I couldnt for the life of me figure out why they were always closed. I drive by all the time and I always wanted to stop in but its never open so after a while I figured they must have gone out of business and forgot about them. Then one day I went by and surprise surprise there was someone in there. I didnt stop but I did call when I got home and they explained that the storefront was just for consultations and meeting clients to pick up cakes etc. They didnt bake there so they only opened the store when someone was coming in, which they made it seem like it was a lot but I drive by there pretty often and its always closed. I dont think it makes them look very good, always being closed like that.

We have a storefront for our tech business and we are almost never there since my dh can remote in and do most everything from home. But our partner practically lives there so its open and people can wander in whenever and if he or my dh are gone we have employees who man the office/phone. The storefront is just an office space to keep the computers and junk out of our houses really. Having that storefront has been AWESOME for business though. Youre not just another guy who defragged his own pc and thinks he can fix any computer issue anymore. Youre a real business and people take you more seriously. But someone has to be there. But there is a big difference between a technology business and a bakery.

uniquecreations Posted 18 Dec 2011 , 10:40pm
post #14 of 19

Thank you all your advice has been well received thumbs_up.gif

scp1127 Posted 22 Dec 2011 , 7:37am
post #15 of 19

I am opening two storefronts in the next several months. My commercial kitchen on my property is large and can handle the work. It also has three separate 6' fully equipped work stations available for employees.

I completely disagree with the employee issue. You can get excellent employees if you know where to look. For example, my daughter attends a prep school. There are numerous honor students who can work after school and just as many parents who want to supplement their income in this economy. The work ethic is high above the norm for the students and the parents, who obviously raised those students. This is just one example of looking in the right place. In return, you must create a desirable job for those employees.

I am not finished planning this full retail location, but a related food business with the owner of the other business manning the store is my optimum plan. I'm being vague here, but my plan is not.

In the other location, my husband has some great employees who are interested in moonlighting. The one location will be mainly a pickup location with small items to add to the purchase. That location is adjacent to my husband's business.

I actually have a third option. My mother-in-law wants me to put a limited amount of items in her store (she owns it). There are some simple HD requirements for this one. You can't get any more reliable than another business owner who happens to be related. This one would be limited to gourmet candy.

QTCakes1 Posted 27 Dec 2011 , 3:54am
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

For example, my daughter attends a prep school. There are numerous honor students who can work after school and just as many parents who want to supplement their income in this economy. The work ethic is high above the norm for the students and the parents, who obviously raised those students.




Your absolutely right about this. Everyone knows that kids that attend regular high school just don't have any kind of work ethics. Heck, they are raised by us lowly regular folk, how could they? Thank you for once again showing us the better, superior way of things. We are all just so grateful that you even bother with us regular people on this forum, who I am quite sure a majority on here have children that attend public school. thumbs_up.gif

pc2420 Posted 27 Dec 2011 , 5:24am
post #17 of 19

QTCakes1, you totally beat me to that reply thumbs_up.gif

MimiFix Posted 27 Dec 2011 , 2:04pm
post #18 of 19

The best thing is to first check with your licensing agency to see if it's allowed. In New York, the permit for home-based processors does not allow this; but it's not written anywhere in the regulations.

When I started I had a home-based permit and sold wholesale to area stores and retail at the farmers' markets. After a couple of years I found a small storefront (defunct pizza shop) and moved my business there. It was an open floor plan so I worked in the back and went up front when customers came in. It was an okay set-up but if I had it to do over I would have hired someone to wait on customers and then help me in between. Working alone like that was definitely a high-stress situation.

FromScratchSF Posted 29 Dec 2011 , 2:28am
post #19 of 19

People do it all the time here (in CA, San Francisco to be exact). Commercial retail space availability is at an all-time low, rent is at an all-time high, and getting restaurant space is so expensive in permits you better have hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get your doors open. So lots and lots of people have super small retail spaces (100 square feet or less) to sell the product but prepare the food off site in a commercial kitchen. Same business model as a food tuck. It was the direction I was going until I decided to have a baby and now I actually only do cake part time. I already get up at 4am to bake and I have to be done by 8am to be a mom. If I opened a small retail outlet or a "pick-up window" all I'd have to do is get product in the "store" by lunch, stay open thru 5 or 6pm, and have one or 2 additional employees. Or I hire a baker and I run the store. Once my kid is a little older it's the way I'm going (and probably the only way I can afford here). So no, not crazy at all and if done right in the right space, profitable, especially since I already have a following.

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