stefkovic Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 2:11am
post #1 of

Ok, so I went for a working job interview at a local bakery in town. I was given one of their recipes and told to mix and bake the product. I was then given a cake to frost and decorate as I wanted with buttercream. I passed with flying colors, so at the end of hearing how will the cupcakes and cake look after baking, and how wonderful my decorated cake looks I get I will start you at $7.25 an hour. I couldn't believe it. I made more,(8.50) then that at Food Lion and there I don't even have to bake, just plop on the board and decorate. Here I thought going to a regular bakery would be more decorating freedom and more money. So is this average money for a private owned bakery? Cause if so I guess I need to get a not so fun job and save the cake decorating for a hobby.

18 replies
remnant3333 Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 2:45am
post #2 of

I have heard that it is pretty tough working in a bakery.  So sorry that you are having to deal with people like this.  I only do it for fun and as a hobby.  When I decide to cook cakes I normally do it for the neighborhood kids. They love it when they get cakes.  That way I am not under any stress and can enjoy baking and decorating.  Good luck with the bakery job!! Hopefully, it will get better for you!!

sewsugarqueen Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 4:20am
post #3 of

I get minimum wage at the bakery I work at and know that's what others start at in my area.  A very physical job at times lugging buckets 30-40 lbs and heavy trays, not to mention dishes and clean up.  That is the reality of most bakeries... profit line is not high in our area and I'm sure many other places.   For me it lets me decorate cookies the way I love and since I live in apt with cats will never bake out of house.   

  I think you would need to build up reputation and clients before you would get more money.

...plus side is produce I get and our boss is very generous about letting us eat what we want there.  Of course this way I can tell customers  what stuff tastes like.  maybe cake shops do better  Can someone tell me how their profit margin works vs  bread/pastry bakery.

jason_kraft Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 4:48am
post #4 of

ATypically you would find out relevant information about the job (such as compensation) before the interview, otherwise what's the point of interviewing, especially a working interview?

Unfortunately in some areas there are bakers (licensed or not) that set prices below market value, which depresses the entire market. As a result, minimum wage may be all this bakery can afford and still make a profit if customers are being stolen by undercutting competitors. Grocery stores can usually pay more since their bakeries are often subsidized by other departments.

KoryAK Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 7:27am
post #5 of

I always say this industry has a very poor sweat to dollar ratio and truly, I steer people away from it as a Plan A in life.  I wish someone would have told me :) (a million years ago)

stefkovic Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 7:11pm
post #6 of

Well, in 2008 I resigned from working as manager of a flower shop, that I have been working for for 18 years. I was getting burnt out on the floral industry trade as I have been in the industry for over 30 years. As I started working in a florist right out of high school. I wanted to trade in my fresh flowers for sugar flowers. So I quit to start my new carreer knowing I would have to start at the bottom again. So I started at Food Lion, to get the speed I would need, and the basic experience. But not making it on the pay and hours they could give me I also went back to the flower shop part time as designer, not manager. Now, 4 years later still making about the same as when I started in 2008, not much. I am just surprised as to how low the pay scale is for decorators. As I said I could understand low pay from a grocery store, but surprised at the pay being lower at a privately owned bakery. I am worth more then that and if they want a 7.25 designer/decorator they will get that, roses and balloons. Unfornately you get what you pay for as everyone says on here, 19.99 cake from Food Lion where I get 8.50 an hour or a 49.99 cake from a private bakery and I get 7.25 an hour. Hmmmmm?

crustdust Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 7:26pm
post #7 of

AWelcome to the food business. You work when everyone else is having fun and at the end the end of your paycheck you still have bills left to pay.

Laurelj Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 8:01pm
post #8 of

AHmm can you say "starving artist" boys and girls ? My daughter interviewed at a high end famous bakers private business here in California. After a "normal" I am told, 4-6 month process they couldn't even offer her enough to even make is worthwhile to drive the 120 every day just to get to work. Artists rarely make what they are worth, sad but true:-(

howsweet Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 8:17pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 
Unfortunately in some areas there are bakers (licensed or not) that set prices below market value, which depresses the entire market. As a result, minimum wage may be all this bakery can afford and still make a profit if customers are being stolen by undercutting competitors. Grocery stores can usually pay more since their bakeries are often subsidized by other departments.

That was my first thought. When people undercharge, they're shooting themselves in the foot because of the above, cheating themselves of fair remuneration and are undercutting someone else.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 8:52pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

Unfortunately in some areas there are bakers (licensed or not) that set prices below market value, which depresses the entire market. As a result, minimum wage may be all this bakery can afford and still make a profit if customers are being stolen by undercutting competitors. Grocery stores can usually pay more since their bakeries are often subsidized by other departments.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet 

That was my first thought. When people undercharge, they're shooting themselves in the foot because of the above, cheating themselves of fair remuneration and are undercutting someone else.

 

yes this is all true

 

and

 

when i go to Michael's i am amazed at the tools available for the clever and the clumsy do-it yourselfers

 

africkenmazing--we're just talking in another thread about a low priced pillow cake--

 

hey you can buy a dang pillow cake pan--it doesn't have to be a sculpture--it's a simple two layer cake!

 

so not only do peeps underprice, the industry has been slowly pulling the rug out from under us for sometime a few decades

 

mortally unfriendly to owners as the tool makers try to stay alive too

 

no good answers--

 

<insert musical notes> stayin' alive, stayin' alive ahh ahh ahh ahh staying ali-i-i-i-ive

ddaigle Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 8:56pm

Been there....done that.    Compensation is not normally discussed (here) at the first interview.   I worked at a bakery for years that paid low wages.    I considered it "paid training"......learned what I could and got the hell out.  

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 9:06pm

like ddaigle said, bakery jobs are good for experience and training, but certainly not for money!

I know our local bakeries pay minimum wage, ($9.19), here, and have a very high employee turnover. Unfortunately, it's all they can afford though, like Jason said, they have a lot of undercutting competition.

One of our places went out of business about 2 months after Safeway opened up down the street, people just got their bread and nasty cheap cupcakes there instead.

A specialty bakery will almost always be a better job, that's what I did when I first started, in a shop that only sold custom cakes.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2013 , 9:44pm

undercutting competition is bad, real bad

 

these are the users not the pushers

 

the pushers, the enablers are all the companies that make all our stuff available to everybody

 

i can buy cake deco stuff--really cool sh*t at my local grocery store

 

at my l.o.c.a.l g.r.o.c.e.r.y s.t.o.r.e

 

i can't necessarily equip myself for a tier cake there but you should see the awesome products they have--on occassion

 

like for holidays for example

 

they had these cookie pans--that made awesome detailed valentine cookies amongst many other things

 

the enablers and the enabled are gaining momentum for sure

Baker_Rose Posted 5 Mar 2013 , 4:04am

In my rural neck of the woods, back in 1996 I worked at a grocery store bakery as the full time 2nd decorator.  The 1st decorator made $14 an hour to my $8 per hour and she had a very nice full benefit package and supported a disabled husband and two kids on that money.

 

Same town, flash forward to today, 2013 and a cake decorator makes $8 an hour, usually starting at $7.50 no matter her/his skill set or experience.  Part time, no benefits or a benefit offering that is 110% of your weekly take home pay, making it impossible to accept.

 

No wonder I retired.
 

embersmom Posted 8 Mar 2013 , 3:55pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker_Rose 

In my rural neck of the woods, back in 1996 I worked at a grocery store bakery as the full time 2nd decorator.  The 1st decorator made $14 an hour to my $8 per hour and she had a very nice full benefit package and supported a disabled husband and two kids on that money.

 

Same town, flash forward to today, 2013 and a cake decorator makes $8 an hour, usually starting at $7.50 no matter her/his skill set or experience.  Part time, no benefits or a benefit offering that is 110% of your weekly take home pay, making it impossible to accept.

 

No wonder I retired.
 

 



It's amazing how much the retail landscape has changed.  I'm one of the last FT bakers/decorators in my chain.  If I leave, retire (which is many years away, btw), or something-or-other, my position itself will no longer exist.  I'll be replaced by two or three PT people on minimum wage who will have minimal training because it's cheaper.  It's all about the bottom line for any publicly traded company.

 

We recently had a PT clerk quit after roughly 6 months.  She was scheduled 6 days/week for no more than 4 hours a shift, and what she made didn't even cover the gas for her 50-mile round trip to/from the store.  The position was the only one she could find in our area. She finally decided it wasn't worth the hassle, and I can't blame her one single bit.

 

I worked for an independent bakery for a spell many years ago.  I was paid less per hour than what I'd been last making at another supermarket chain, but I was paid more per hour than probably most of the other employees (discovered that by accident), many of whom had already had been there for years.

lesucreaufour Posted 8 Mar 2013 , 4:30pm

A bakery ask me to go work for them and they wanted to pay me 20$\hour.....baking and decorating cake 3-4 days a week!

I had to refuse the job since i want to stay home a bit more to take care of my 7 months old baby.

 

I'm not sure if the bakery in your town are cheap or if nine was to generous.....but 7.25$\hour is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you want my opinion....the don't know how much to pay a experience cake decorator.

 

Good luck

xxx 

cupadeecakes Posted 8 Mar 2013 , 5:40pm

Oh goodie, War Stories!  When I first interviewed at a bakery as a decorator / pastry chef I had a working interview that basically lasted all day.  I was offered $9 / hour and was told that I would would come in at 4am and leave at noon (or earlier if I finished all my duties).  Once I started the job I was then informed that it was a salaried position and that the hours were from 4am until I finished my list, which was always HUGE!  AND that I had to work 6 days a week.  So for about 8 months I worked 6 days a week from 4am until usually 5 or 6:00 PM.  They worked me like a dog but I learned so much about baking, decorating, and the business aspects while working there.  I still look back on it as my "pastry boot camp".  But I do feel for you, it does suck!
 

embersmom Posted 8 Mar 2013 , 9:47pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by lesucreaufour 

A bakery ask me to go work for them and they wanted to pay me 20$\hour.....baking and decorating cake 3-4 days a week!

I had to refuse the job since i want to stay home a bit more to take care of my 7 months old baby.

 

I'm not sure if the bakery in your town are cheap or if nine was to generous.....but 7.25$\hour is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very, very generous, IMO :)  The only decorators I know who make that much have either been around for a very long time and/or are also managers/business owners, and there aren't many of them these days.

embersmom Posted 8 Mar 2013 , 10:09pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupadeecakes 

Oh goodie, War Stories!  When I first interviewed at a bakery as a decorator / pastry chef I had a working interview that basically lasted all day.  I was offered $9 / hour and was told that I would would come in at 4am and leave at noon (or earlier if I finished all my duties).  Once I started the job I was then informed that it was a salaried position and that the hours were from 4am until I finished my list, which was always HUGE!  AND that I had to work 6 days a week.  So for about 8 months I worked 6 days a week from 4am until usually 5 or 6:00 PM.  They worked me like a dog but I learned so much about baking, decorating, and the business aspects while working there.  I still look back on it as my "pastry boot camp".  But I do feel for you, it does suck!
 


I love war stories too :)

 

Your story is very, very familiar to me, minus the salaried position.  When I was first hired as a simple clerk with the understanding that I'd be taught to both bake and decorate, I was offered $7/hour.  That was above minimum wage in my area at the time.  I learned the ropes simply by watching first (the manager didn't trust brand spankin' newbies until they'd put in their time doing the scut work), then learning things piecemeal.  I learned to decorate with old cake boards, a deli container of icing, and a bunch of pre-cut parchment cones.  He let me borrow the more "esoteric" tips to practice, so I ended up learning to make a mum before making a rose!  He also made me practice my writing during every single shift until I could do it legibly and in a straight line.  Baking?  I trailed the head baker twice a week starting at 2AM until I learned the entire sequence, then they gave me his days off.

 

For years I worked overnights 6 days a week.  I'd do the bake first, then start on the decorating as the first shift came in to bag the rolls, slice the bread, pack the cookies, etc.  Our cake layers came in frozen from a local wholesale bakery, so I had an easier time in all I had to do was fill, stack, ice, and decorate.  In time I graduated from doing Deco Pac sheet cakes to doing what we called "fancy" (aka time consuming) cakes.  We had a projector-type thing where you'd slide in a drawing, turn on a lamp, and the drawing itself would be projected onto the cake.  You just had to follow all the outlines.  I remember one particular cake that took me 4-5 hours because of all the detail!

 

You don't get rich by any means in this business, but if you stick with it, people will recognize your talent and will pay you accordingly.  Or maybe, given the economy of late, I should say "should".

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