I have been operating my business by renting space in a commercial kitchen going on 3 years now. I am currently planning to open a shop. However, I pretty much run my business alone with the help of my husband doing deliveries. My major concern is finding help and how much help should I hire? Opening a storefront changes the ballgame completely and the overhead can be SCARY!!! I know that I will continue to wear many hats in my business, but what positions should I absolutely hire help for to help to free up some time for me to market the business and to handle the other many aspects of the business. What is the minimum number of employees needed to get me started? Thanks a heap
AWhat are your current resource constraints? How much of an hourly wage are you paying yourself now?
Current resource constraints: time, space
I currently pay myself 40% of the revenue on a weekly basis
Because I am currently doing everything alone, my hours are forever...so, I don't calculate my pay by the hour.
I don't know if that is the correct way, but it has been working for me since I am the only employee.
I would start with one employee to help with the basics and then go from there determining your needs once your storefront is bustling.
The two most critical employees you'll need is someone to handle customer contact (phone calls and counter sales) and a baker. You can do the rest, but those positions can't be done by you alone*.
It's critical your front end person be a real people person and be able to follow your strict directions of how you want those details done.
Your baker should be someone who ISN'T a big talker. Find someone who is an introvert, perfectionist (don't laugh... but look for a nail biter).
Write out your ground rules before you open your doors so your employees can memorize your policies and reference them when you're not available. Also get your recipes in perfect order so your baker can make everything with-out even asking you a question.
*As to, do you need more then two employees to start with; that depends upon your area. In my area, food businesses are over whelmed with business and lines for the first 6 months they are open. Everyone is excited and everyone goes to the new place to check them out. To succeed in my area you must over staff in the beginning!!!! Then when things settle down you can get into a routine. In the beginning they'll ask for everything/too much (breads, danish, croissants, ethnic specialties, bagels, coffee, soda, you name it anything your not selling they'll ask for). You can't let yourself be overwhelmed by that. Have a set menu, set opening times, set policies, set prices.
You've obviously done your homework for the past 3 years. I'd be willing to bet you'll do great!!
Original message sent by Cynita
Current resource constraints: time, space
Can you be more specific? You'll need to break down current and forecasted supply vs. demand for all the different roles involved in your business. If space is a constraint then more labor may not help you.
I currently pay myself 40% of the revenue on a weekly basis Because I am currently doing everything alone, my hours are forever...so, I don't calculate my pay by the hour. I don't know if that is the correct way, but it has been working for me since I am the only employee.
You'll need to know how much you can afford to pay employees for the role(s) you need more supply for. If you can't afford to pay market rates (plus the additional overhead/taxes) you need to take another look at your cost structure and pricing.
It depends upon your location. If your shop is in a high foot-traffic area, you should probably hire two people, as Stitches recommended. Someone to handle production and someone else to do counter sales and all those miscellaneous front end chores. If your shop is in a low-traffic area, start with one front end person while you continue doing all the production.
I'm in a similar situation, although we've only been in the commercial kitchen for one year. I'm looking to hire a few people for the front counter, so they can rotate shifts part-time. I will probably be hiring a baker and eventually decorator who can handle basic decorating jobs so I can focus on all of the custom work. My issue is figuring out the schedules for the decorator. The baker would probably be a full time position since we will be baking every day for the retail shop. There are times where I need another pair of hands for custom cakes but some weeks I don't have more than one custom cake. Do I have their schedule on an as needed basis or having them part-time and train them when they don't have much to do?
I was at Starbucks yesterday and had a interesting conversation. They used to start new employees ringing in drinks, to learn them. They realized it lead to a lot of confusion because they didn't know the product they were selling and they'd take special orders wrong. So now they start new employees mixing drinks. You can't sell product properly if you don't really know what is in them.
My Mom had a bakery and our counter people never worked in the kitchen so they were always telling customers wrong info.. We used to tell them to taste everything to become familiar with our product. You know that never worked. They didn't want to taste everything and they weren't skilled enough in baking to know what they were tasting.
So if I ever get my dream bakery I will start my front end people in the kitchen. They won't be baking cakes but they will be filling éclairs, etc...
...........just a thought.
Just remember you reap what you sow. It's hard to find good employees who work on as needed basis. People need steady pay checks to remain loyal. Then when you really need them, they aren't trained well enough to be of much help.