Where Does Everyone In Business Buy Their Baking Ingredients?

Business By HappyCakeBaker Updated 4 days ago by MamaGeese

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HappyCakeBaker Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 5:17pm
post #1 of 15

Hello,

 

I'm considering venturing out into the cake business. Obviously the basic principle is to charge more than it costs you to make the cake so you can make a profit. My question to those in cake business is: Where do you typically purchase your baking ingredients? A mainline grocery store like Kroger, Wal-Mart, Sam's, Costco? Or is there some place to buy ingredients in large bulk quantities that people use? It seems to me that it's going to be very difficult for me to make a profit if I buy my ingredients at one of the mainline stores above. I'm thinking there have got to be places people buy ingredients in bulk, like restaurants do. Any advice or input would be appreciated!

14 replies
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mariel9898 Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 3:12am
post #2 of 15

I would like to know this also, specifically for those under CFL or who do small volume.

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enga Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 3:37am
post #3 of 15

You can go to the restaurant supply stores and order wholesale when your register your business and obtain a Tax ID (EIN) number.

 

You have to have one to buy products wholesale. 

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enga Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 3:59am
post #4 of 15

When I first started, I registered my business name DBA, and filled out the necessary tax forms. When I received my EIN,  I opened up accounts with local restaurant supply stores, BakeMark, Sysco and a few others on line and rented a small commercial kitchen.

 

I would still shop at places like Walmart, Sam's and GFS if I saw a bargain. I understand how you feel. It's hard to make a decent profit buying all your ingredients at retail prices.

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costumeczar Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 9:04pm
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I only do wedding cakes and work from home, so I shop every week since I don't have a lot of storage space. Based on that, it's less expensive for me to go to Walmart or the local grocery store than it is to buy from the local PFG distributor.

 

My food costs are about 15% of the cost of the cake, so if you're not going to be able to make a profit based on your food costs you're probably charging too low a price. The rest of my expenses are a lot higher than my food costs, so basing your cake pricing on the food costs alone is going to be a mistake.

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bandofbirdies Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 1:54pm
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I planned on getting an EIN (I'm starting up too) but my boyfriend and I just did pricing at Walmart and Costco. If you're doing scratch, Costco is the way to go for flour and powdered sugar. But otherwise, if you're doing box, I would suggest Walmart until you can do wholesale.

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embersmom Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 6:10pm
post #7 of 15

A licensed friend of mine splits her shopping between Costco, Walmart, and our local supermarket chains, depending on what's on sale.  She doesn't live anywhere near a restaurant supply store.  Plus, like costumeczar, she doesn't have enough space to buy a lot of supplies so her shopping goes more toward the "buy it when if need it" method.

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morganchampagne Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 7:15pm
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AI used to shop at the local wholesaler and I still do for certain things. However for eggs and things that are dairy (except butter) I go to the local grocery store. Sometimes the wholesaler has special things you can only get there and they have more of it. But space is definitely an issue

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liz at sugar Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 7:33pm
post #9 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

I only do wedding cakes and work from home, so I shop every week since I don't have a lot of storage space. Based on that, it's less expensive for me to go to Walmart or the local grocery store than it is to buy from the local PFG distributor.

 

My food costs are about 15% of the cost of the cake, so if you're not going to be able to make a profit based on your food costs you're probably charging too low a price. The rest of my expenses are a lot higher than my food costs, so basing your cake pricing on the food costs alone is going to be a mistake.

 

Bingo.  Your hourly labor charges, packaging and overhead should add up to the lions share of the cost of a cake.  Like costumeczar, my food costs run between 15 and 20 percent.  But I don't make wedding cakes - just smalls (bars/cookies/etc.).  But the costing process is the same.  Doesn't matter if you are selling a $2 cookie or a $2000 cake - the basics are the same.

 

Liz

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Natka81 Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 7:40pm
post #10 of 15

I have checked 2 restaurant/bakery suppliers near me one -1 hour away, 2nd- 2 hours away, their prices are higher then Costco and Wal Mart. I  decided to shop at Costco and Wal Mart. 

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TheSugarLab Posted 18 Jun 2014 , 3:38am
post #11 of 15

I have a retail bakery as well as custom orders. I order weekly (sometimes twice a week, usually when I forgot something or underestimated how quickly we would go through things) from Chef's Warehouse. They're a smaller distributor than say Sysco or Dawn. I also supplement with trips to Costco to get both ingredients (specifically powdered sugar, which is twice as expensive through Chef's Warehouse) and other operating stuff like paper towels, ink, etc. I do sometimes make trips to my local supermarket or Smart n Final to get what I couldn't get at Costco or Chef's Warehouse. 

 

If you need bulk amounts, I think a distributor is the way to go. Before we got busy enough, I was just doing weekly trips to Costco. If restaurant depot was closer, I would have gone there instead of costco since they had more ingredients that I need. Costco also does delivery to businesses. Free for orders over $250. Or they charge $25, I think. 

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aray756 Posted 19 Jun 2014 , 4:26am
post #12 of 15

AWalmart for baking supplies and online for decorating supplies like Amazon or the Baker's Kicthen.

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simonwilliams120 Posted 14 Jul 2017 , 10:02am
post #13 of 15

Mostly businesses use a big wholesaler for bulk purchases. I mostly purchase bulk products from MVR Cash and Carry. You’ll need to register yourself in order to find the best deals and have access to the wide range of options.

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youngj Posted 1 week ago
post #14 of 15

I do cakes out of my house, small ones nothing wholesale. I buy my ingredients at Costco, but I use flour, eggs and milk on every day cooking things so how I have figured out how much my cakes cost then I add the board and box and my time to the pricing of my cakes.  For my cake supplies boards, boxes, bags, tools (if needed) I have a cake store 30 min from me so I go to them. I have ordered cake boards off of amazon before buying bulk does save you money but sometimes you don't always have the storage for bulk things.

After so many cakes you will have a good set of supplies, food colorings, maybe some left over fondant, maybe extra boxes. 


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MamaGeese Posted 4 days ago
post #15 of 15

I have a cottage food business....to buy wholesale so many of them require huge minimums, I don't have the space. Also today I noticed butter had increased $1 per lb. ! And vanilla extract ...omg.. I'm beginning to wonder if I can even do this....I refuse to use cheap brands, but I live in a rural area where people are used to buying cakes at the grocery store bakery. I want to do my own recipes, so I don't really want to work in a bakery, but just cannot make the numbers work. I put a lot of effort into every baked good I make, but refuse to do it if I can only make 10-15 $ per cake. The way prices for good ingredients fluctuate, it's maddening! I had a Sam's membership last year, but they don't carry a lot of the brands I like, also the nearest Sam's / Costco is an hour away....just feel like I waste so much time trying to find a sale, constantly worrying if everything I had to go through to get licensed has even been worth it...anybody else out there been successful with a home cottage kitchen ? So far this business is costing ME a fortune!

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