Grocery Store/ Chain Cake Decorators

Business By Katied75 Updated 5 May 2008 , 4:01am by akrainis

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Katied75 Posted 4 May 2008 , 4:55am
post #1 of 14

Do we have any here?

If so, what do they pay and how many hours per week do you work? Can it be a Monday through Friday type job, or maybe early Saturday's type job, or must you work normal retail schedules?

Also, how quickly can your pay go up? I was at a nice, small chain grocery store near my house recently and I noticed how nice their cakes were. They obviously have a good decorator compared to some of the stores I've been to. Not sure about how their cakes taste though... Regardless, it got me wondering about that job.


13 replies
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CakeDiva73 Posted 4 May 2008 , 5:03am
post #2 of 14

I was offered a job at the local supermarket.....wanted me to work every single weekend, holidays, must work late on Fridays and early on Saturdays.......Nooooo thank you! With 4 kids, that kind of a pressure cooker schedule wasn't going to work out for me.

I still would love a little p/t job at a bakery to give me the opportunity to sharpen my skills, etc. icon_smile.gif hope it works out for you.

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mjarvis78 Posted 4 May 2008 , 5:26am
post #3 of 14

I work pt as a cake decorator at Publix. I have a pretty unique situation, though. My store is only busy Mon-Fri. We are located in a business park area so the majority of our customers come in before work, during lunch at after work.

I only work Mon-Fri 9 am to 3 or 4pm. My bosses are really flexible about my schedule. If I need a day off during the week because of a school activity, they will give it to me. If I need to take an extra long lunch, they let me. They know I am fast, talented and easy to work with, so they work with me alot. That being said, it is the lowest paying job I have ever had. I only make around $10/hour. However the flexibility of my schedule is a definite plus.

I love Publix. I love (most) my coworkers and I love the customers that come in. I have become soo much faster, and the quality of my work has improved greatly. They encourage me to be creative, so even though it can be the same thing over and over, the store managers encourage us to do things that will make our cakes and desserts stand out.

I recently bought the "Hello Cupcake" book, and we have used a few of the ideas in our stores.

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CarolAnn Posted 4 May 2008 , 5:27am
post #4 of 14

I think it'd be great to do some part time with a good decorator for the experience and exposure. And I'm a real good cleaner upper too. But no thanks on cranking them out on the half hour just to keep shelves shelves stocked. If anything that'd zap my love for it in no time. Just my own thoughts here. Not knocking anyone who does it/enjoys it.

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ThatsHowTcakesRolls Posted 4 May 2008 , 2:31pm
post #5 of 14

When I decided that I wanted to pursue cake decorating as a business I decided that I would work in a bakery first to see if I liked it. I started out part-time while still working my full-time Medical Billing job and really liked it. When I went full-time I was working 6-2:30pm 3-4 days out of the week and then each weekend I would work either Saturday or Sunday. There were 2 of us so it worked out that way. I thought the hours were great. The pay was decent. This was in 2004 - I was making $10.50/hour (that was less than a year too and I was starting out). I stayed there for almost 2 years and left only to work in a custom bakery that decorated cakes more elaborately and I was able to work any schedule I wanted at this new Bakery - as long as the orders were done on time. I started out at $14.00/hr there so the money was better but I only stayed there a couple of months because by this time, I had really really improved and I realized this bakery was now my competition. They wanted me to make dummies for them and I did do a few of them but realized that now, this bakery was going to have MY designs on display forever if they chose. I quit immediately and yes, I do make a little less money than I did when i worked full time (that was 2 incomes with my part-time business) I was able to focus on my business full-time so I am actually making the same amount of money now that I have built it back up. It really wasn't that difficult of a transition.

You have to start somewhere and I think starting at a Grocery Store is a great place to start. I think the pay is decent. It is a lot of work - but I wouldn't be where I am today without that experience. It gave me speed and since I am only 1 person - I need it. I was able to do 6 wedding cakes in 1 weekend last year. There's no way I could have done that without the production and speed I learned in my grocery store bakery job. Give it a try - you can always quit if you don't like it. Good luck!


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Katied75 Posted 4 May 2008 , 4:13pm
post #6 of 14

Thanks everybody. Tammi, I hadn't thought of the speed factor but that is a great point.

One question though... you don't get any fondant experience in a grocery store, correct?


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mjarvis78 Posted 4 May 2008 , 4:19pm
post #7 of 14

We do some fondant wedding cakes.

Another plus of decorating at a store is that I am 100% confident in my stacking and wedding cake construction.

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littlecake Posted 4 May 2008 , 4:37pm
post #8 of 14

i worked at a couple of them for a couple of years...the pay was ok, the experiance was learn speed.........and they do things different than "the wilton way".

i bought hello cupcake cute is that book? simple, and a lot thicker than i thought it would be!

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SanguineMuse Posted 5 May 2008 , 1:31am
post #9 of 14

I worked at Safeway for 6 months and it was terrible. Granted, I will admit that the experience was great, in terms of learning speed, but other than that, personally I hated it. The pay was straight min. wage, the work level was higher than a person can do.. even the woman I worked with who had been there for 12 years said they expect us to do -far- more in a day than is physically possible. Then there was the "Safeway BS", being that the managers were rude and no one ever wanted to tell you anything unless you asked them in specific detail. I finally quit after working 3 days with an awful cold, being told I -had- to come in on my day off, and then when I was about to pass out and had to go home, I got yelled at for 'dragging them down'. Yeah...... so, I don't know about Publix or any of the other places, but I would warn -strongly- against Safeway.

Also, for me, I -hated- come in to work and making 'cakes' with frozen, plastic wrapped cake and using icing that came out of buckets... but that's more a personal thing I suppose.

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missthang Posted 5 May 2008 , 3:19am
post #10 of 14

Hi! I've new at this. I've never posted before so not sure if I'm doing it right but here goes.... I was just intrigued by this post. I work at United Supermarkets here in TX, for just a few months. Pay is CRAP.... however... I am going to open my own business and being that I didn't have a LOT of decorating experience, I needed a) experience and speed and practice and b) startup capital and I'm getting both.

I was a stay-at-home mom, but my youngest just started kindergarten and I was wanting to start my own business. I'd been decorating cakes since my first Easybake oven and 4H food shows.... and I LOVE it. I just kind of fell into the job at United, but it's been a blessing. I've been able to practice my piping techniques. They ARE quite flexible with the scheduling, and the thing is.... they ARE all about speed and mass producing the cakes (which bothers me sometimes, because I am such a perfectionist), but is HAS made me speed up considerably.

I DO wish I could do more fondant work... but I've used my earnings to buy cake supplies at home and I go home after work and start playing in fondant. Yes, I am obsessed.

But... I think people must be passing my name out because I constantly have people coming in requesting ME to do their cakes (especially the 3D ones) over the other decorators there. Which.... I love -- however, that's what I'm wanting to do with my own business and I KNOW how much they are charging there ..... but the work I put in those cakes is worth SO much more. I just don't believe in not doing things ALL THE WAY. lol. But.... I just have to look at it as practice. I'm just hoping my personal business will take off and I can take my time making things perfect.

Anyway - sorry for the lengthy post - but there's my 2 cents. lol.

..... but I do get a little embarrassed by the quality of cakes I see at most chain bakeries. I sometimes don't want to admit that's what I do. (but I won't be for long hopefully)

FYI: all the cakes in my portfolio are ones I did at work..... do you think they are 'grocery store' quality?

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all4cake Posted 5 May 2008 , 3:42am
post #11 of 14

I worked for Sam's for just over two years. The job was awesome on the days I was able to limit contact with annoyances(management)....there was no having to run the deli or anything like that, it was decorating ONLY.

In the beginning, it was 5-1:30. Another cake decorator arrived who "no can work nights", I went to nights without a problem. It actually worked better for me.

I had gone to Food Lion for an interview while employed with Sam's..."well, you'll only be doing actual decorating about 2% of the time. you'll be cutting meat, baking breads, stocking, working the deli....for XXX dollars(about 3bucks less than what Sam's was paying)" oh, smokes! "and you couldn't tell me this when you asked me to meet you to discuss it???"

I went to HT at their request (I agreed because I had thought I could work there and Sam's...there's like 50 miles between them...out of comp range).
They had the same deal as FL but were willing to pay 3 bucks more than Sam's, wanted me to terminate my employment with them but wouldn't agree to the two days I requested off...Sunday and Monday...slowest friggin' days in pretty much any bakery. No, they wanted to jack around my days...I reckon that's understandable from their viewpoint...not mine though.

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littlecake Posted 5 May 2008 , 3:49am
post #12 of 14

That's why I worked at other bakeries, I was planning on opening my own place...I know I could have never opened up my place with out learning what I learned there.

Yeah, most cakes made at in store bakeries are awful looking...

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heyjude Posted 5 May 2008 , 3:53am
post #13 of 14

I work at Food Lion and it's pretty crappy. I'm not only the decorator; I do all of the other various deli and bakery activities. We have this completely ridiculous thing called 'Standard Practice' with which they give us this little book and we're not allowed to do anything you don't see in that book. The designs in that book were last updated in 1982 by the looks of them.

I get paid $9/hr. I'm nineteen and it's just a job until I get done with school. I keep applying to Publix because they do wedding cakes and all these other marvelous things. I did go for an interview at Kroger for a decorating position, but they were only going to pay me $8.10/hr. I'd have to go almost a dollar lower, go to part-time and lose my full-time benefits at Food Lion. So, I declined.

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akrainis Posted 5 May 2008 , 4:01am
post #14 of 14

I worked at a grocery store bakery for 2 years. While it's not something I'd want to do now, it did give me great experience.

Speed is definitely an important factor.
Our store had a high volume bakery- we were very popular, and the decorators were expected to put out over 20 cakes per day plus all the special orders. Certain times of the year were busier than others- the busiest was this time of year because of graduations.

I think round cakes were supposed to take about 7-9 minutes to decorate. I take much longer on cakes now, but because of my supermarket experience, I can make an impressive spray of buttercream roses (even Rich's bettercream roses) and my handwriting is pretty good.

I was lucky in that our store was known for having colorful, creative cakes, so we were really given a long leash on what we could do. Lot's of airbrushing, image transfers, holiday cakes, etc.

The downside was we couldn't do fondant, carve cakes or make tiered cakes.

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