How To Grow Your Business And Maintain Quality?

Business By thecakeladyzh Updated 25 Jun 2015 , 3:51pm by julia1812

thecakeladyzh Posted 21 Jun 2015 , 10:45pm
post #1 of 16

My business - The Cake Lady in Switzerland- is doing quite well and we are growing at a nice pace. We make custom birthday cakes, wedding cakes and corporate cakes. As we are growing I've found a number of helpful tricks to keep us creating a quality product like being uber organized, holding multiple status meetings each day and adding to my staff.

 How many cakes does your business make every week and how to do you keep things organized to ensure a quality product?

 

Looking forward to your wisdom! 

15 replies
810whitechoc Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 11:28am
post #2 of 16

Staff training, staff training, staff training.

We hire our staff as 1st year apprentices straight from school and spend 3 years training them.  They start with learning our basic cakes, they usually stay on the same recipes for at least 6 months until they know them back to front and can cook them as well as I can.  Every day we discuss with them what they are doing, the technical aspects of the recipes and what areas they need to improve on.

One of the biggest  issues is getting them to understand personal responsibility for the level of work they produce.  When we have our meetings assessing staffs progress (they are not present) we discuss what level as awareness they are at.  It usually takes about 2 years for a little light bulb to go on above their heads and they finally understand what we have been banging on about.  Once they have reached that level, we can move them on to test baking new recipes and give them more responsibility in the kitchen.  On average staff stay with us for about 5 years, after that they usually ready for a new challenge and move on.

julia1812 Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 3:15pm
post #3 of 16

Just out of curiosity. ..do you have a non compete in the contract? And if so, what does it state in regards to time and/or area? 

thecakeladyzh Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 3:57pm
post #4 of 16

I think that training is certainly important, but I also believe that hiring people who have integrity is likely just as important.

Here are more specific questions:

1. Does anyone have tips on how to organize a production system for a bakery with several people working on several projects at different times? I have come up with ways to organize, but how do you prepare information, produce, quality control, and follow up?

2. Also, how do you make employees accountable for situations that are preventable yet occur due to negligence...repeatedly?


I have come up with my solutions already, but it would be interesting to know yours.


p.s. Don't forget to mention what your approximate production capacity is, so that we can understand the size business we are talking about.

Apti Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 6:06pm
post #5 of 16

Congratulations on doing so well, CakeLady in Switzerland!  Your concise and specific posts show why you are a success.  Although I am a hobby baker in America, my life before retirement was in sales and marketing.  It sounds as though you could benefit from the professional/commercial aspects of business with baked goods.  There is an excellent online magazine that offers insight into the aspects of business growth you described:

http://www.bakemag.com/  

Take a look at past issues or even contact them by email and see if they can direct you to articles of interest. 

Happy Profitable Baking!

thecakeladyzh Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 7:11pm
post #6 of 16

Thank you Apti and thank you for the mag. I love reading about anything business related and baking related as well.

Just to give you a bit of my background I'm from California and I have a degree in International Business. I also have business experience from when I helped to launch a subsidiary which now generates millions in rev. www.thecakelady.ch you can see my history details there.

 I am constantly reading about business, professionally researched and documented industry reports, and doing observational studies of my own. Despite all of that it's always great to go to the source (you ladies) to share your experiences. So thank you for all of your feedback!

thecakeladyzh Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 7:17pm
post #7 of 16

You can write a non compete into your contract and although they are legally binding they are extremely difficult to enforce. Non competes are anti competition in a country that's all about competition.

 A great strategy is probably becoming "the best thing since sliced bread" to your customers so that they wouldn't dare be stolen away from competition in the first place ;)

Quote by @julia1812 on 3 hours ago

Just out of curiosity. ..do you have a non compete in the contract? And if so, what does it state in regards to time and/or area? 

 

Whiteflower1 Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 7:22pm
post #8 of 16

Aaaaah the magic question. For us, starting out as strictly a wedding cake bakery in 2006, then having the economic crisis occur in 2008, it naturally shifted our business into more of a full scale retail which has turned out to be more profitable than just wedding cakes. We are actually making a shift this year away from custom designed wedding cakes completely as these are not scale able, and putting all of our time and effort into branding our signature product line(cupcakes, brownies, mini cakes, pre decorated cakes,) and opening other locations( we currently have 4) and although this process presents its own level of issues/problems, scaling up is the only way to truly grow profit in a bakery. To be honest, my business partner and I are very excited about this transition away from wedding cakes( you all know the woes of wedding cake decorating) and love being able to have our products available to many people. It takes time to grow a brand, but once you do, the possibilities are endless. Find what is your best /most profitable product through cost analysis and focus on that. Good luck to you and much success!!!! -Marianne white flower cake shoppe

julia1812 Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 9:06am
post #9 of 16

Wow. Impressive website! Love your cakes.

It's completely off topic now, but how are copyright laws handled in Switzerland? Please don't get me wrong...I'm surely not pointing fingers at anyone, just curious as it comes up quite a lot here on cc...

thecakeladyzh Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:02am
post #10 of 16

Thank you so much Julia! 

As an American I will say that Switzerland is a far less litigious society and therefore there is a lot less worry about that.  In terms of copying I have had a lot of people copy our work and I have also been inspired by work. I personally don't get so hung up on those things, because it is the nature of art I think ; HOWEVER, I do understand when people voice their opinions and frustrations about it.

810whitechoc Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:52am
post #11 of 16

Whiteflower 1, we also are moving away from custom cakes and are about to open our second shop concentrating on brownies, predecorated cakes etc.  The custom cake business in my area has become non profitable on it's own, with so many fb people undercutting us, people are just not willing to spend a lot of money on larger cakes and basically don't care what it costs us.  I'm also really excited about the change, we will be opening late July and there is so much to do, but I'm really looking forward to it.

Julia1812, the non compete and no disclosure of recipes is extremely difficult to enforce.  It comes back to the kind of people you employ and their own personal integrity. In over 20 years of business I am still in contact with, and on good terms with quite a few of my ex employees. 

 

Apti Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 4:33pm
post #12 of 16

@810whitechoc & whiteflower1~~Wishing you both enormous success in the transition to a different business model!

810whitechoc Posted 25 Jun 2015 , 1:14am
post #13 of 16

 

Quote by @Apti on 1 day ago

@810whitechoc & whiteflower1~~Wishing you both enormous success in the transition to a different business model!

 Thank you so much Apti, I am paying the first invoice for the set up of the new business this weekend $10,000.00, deep breath, I can do this!

Jedi Knight Posted 25 Jun 2015 , 4:40am
post #14 of 16

I'll be in Zurich next week :-)

810whitechoc Posted 25 Jun 2015 , 11:03am
post #15 of 16

 

Quote by @Jedi Knight on 6 hours ago

I'll be in Zurich next week :-)

So jealous!!!!!!!

julia1812 Posted 25 Jun 2015 , 3:51pm
post #16 of 16


Quote by @Jedi Knight on 11 hours ago

I'll be in Zurich next week :-)

Lol.  Me in 5 weeks. Seems to be a popular town :)

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