Need Exp. In Bakery Before Starting Buisness, Help! =)

Business By dandy207 Updated 11 May 2008 , 2:42am by indydebi

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dandy207 Posted 8 May 2008 , 2:52pm
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To those of you that have already started your own buisnesses...
My ultimate goal is to run my own bakery. I am going to school right now for math and buisness classes. I am continuing to keep trying to expand my clientel. The one other thing that I really need to do right now is to get expierience in a good professional bakery. Im pretty sure that gaining experience in a local 'chain' store bakery isnt going to help me much? Am I right about this? What I need to know is what you look for when hiring people, what kind of experience with cakes? Do you frown upon experience in grocery stores, I know that alot of the time you can gain bad habits and become quite sloppy when working at places like these. Do I need to have a portfolio of cakes?
Any advice and answer to my questions would be a great help, Thanks!!!

10 replies
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cakeryluv Posted 8 May 2008 , 2:59pm
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Well, I'm in the process of getting legal right now, but in my opinion, experience is still experience. It's more of a personal choice if you want to be "sloppy", regardless of where you work. I worked for a local bakery/caterer who taught me the right way to do things (most of the time icon_biggrin.gif ) but it was what I pulled from the experience and the fact that I had some natural talent.

You can still do a good job, learn a lot and be a non-sloppy decorator, even in a chain store bakery. You might be limited by the types of decorations and the cakes you are able to create, which would be the main drawbacks I see. Plus, if you're making your own as practice, you're still expanding your knowledge.

I'd definitely start a portfolio so people can see your range and that you're not "just" a chain store decorator.

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kakeladi Posted 8 May 2008 , 3:09pm
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I never did get around to hiring anyone but look inot the cost of it.....unemployment, insurance, etc, etc. It ended up costing me at least dbl the hr wage to hire anyone.
What to look for? Have them make a cake or do whatever it is you are going to have them do on the job. I would not rely totally on their pix but do have them bring some in.
Wash dishes? Do they really get things clean to your liking? Make icing? Are they neat about it or will you (they?) have to clean the whole place after?
Thing like that will make lots of differences in the long run.

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leah_s Posted 8 May 2008 , 3:10pm
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What you will gain from any bakery experience is SPEED. The standard when I worked in a bakery was 20 minutes from pulling a cake out of the cooler to putting it in the display case. Yep, filled, base iced, bordered and decorated with 5 roses and some leaves in 20 minutes. I couldn't do it the first few days, but after that, I could do it with a couple of minutes to spare.

You will also learn industry standard lingo.

But you don't have to work long. I only had to work in a retail bakery 120 hours for my internship if I remember correctly.

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cakeryluv Posted 8 May 2008 , 3:15pm
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Oh, leahs, you just brought memories flooding back of the torturous "baby cakes" we used to have to make each week. We'd line up literally hundreds of mini cakes, baked in PITA foil pans, and have to speed frost, border, flower, bud, leaf, and write "Best Wishes" on. Oh how I DESPISED those tiny little cakes! icon_smile.gif

But yeah, they totally taught speed!

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littlecake Posted 8 May 2008 , 11:10pm
post #6 of 11

speed is the name of the game in this biz...i worked in a couple of in store bakeries for years...they don't have to pull you can lift them up.

IMHO unless you've worked at a bakery you will be shocked when you try to open your own's worlds different than working at home for hours on end on one sheet cake.

all i did was ice cakes for weeks on end when they started me out.......I HATED IT...but dude...i'm mario andretti with the spatula now.....and they are square as a brick...easy as pie.

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dandy207 Posted 8 May 2008 , 11:44pm
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Thanks for all the great tips ladies. I used to make dairy queen cakes, I did that for about 5 months. The cakes came in frosted, well... it was just icecream, but they were just starting out selling them so all I had to decorate with was buttercream, and I got really good at borders and flowers. Fast at it too. They didnt look like the typical 'cheesy' dairy queen cakes in my oppinion after I got done with them lol. Anyways, so what you ladies are saying is that working in a grocery store chain bakery will be just as valuable experience as working in a more upscale bakery?
I really just need to get familiar with the workings of a bakery, and with the equipment and so on.
Littlecake= you are so right when you say 'they don't have to pull you can lift them up' . Very true!

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barbaranoel Posted 9 May 2008 , 12:07am
post #8 of 11

I am mgr of a grocery store bakery, you will definately get a lot of practice. In our store, we don't do alot of "kit" cakes. Most of ours are "decorator" choice, plenty of practice on flowers, borders, writing.
Plus you get to practice with their supplies not your own.

We have several pastry chefs who work for our chain who do it for the stability, job security, pay and benefits - its not as bad as you would think.

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littlecake Posted 9 May 2008 , 2:30am
post #9 of 11

after i worked at an in store bakery for a couple years...i went to apply at a place where a woman had her own place....she had never worked at a bakery, she was self taught....she decorated pretty but the stuff she didn't know was amazing...i actually showed her some of the things they taught me....she had stuff in her shop she had no idea how to use....she didn't even know you iced rounds upside down because the bottom is flat..(she had me ice a round...i took it out flipped it over, she goes UH UH! i was wrong)..she bought some premade icing like we used...said she couldn't use it because it was too stiff...i informed her you put it in the mixer and add water....never heard of doing roses on a stick...i made one and she watched like i was doing magic.

but you would she know these things if no one told her?.....there are a ton of things i learned that i'm sure i just take for common knowledge ...but it's really not.

i didn't go to work for her, i decided to open my own place instead.

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ccr03 Posted 9 May 2008 , 5:24am
post #10 of 11

littlecake makes a very good point!

My first job out of college was for a local business magazine - WORST JOB IN THE WORLD - the owners SUCKED. However, I learned so much about the magazine industry. Actually, I've worked at three different kinds of magazines and learned something different about the industry. EXTREMELY helpful, and will definitely be helpful when I start my own later on down the line.

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indydebi Posted 11 May 2008 , 2:42am
post #11 of 11

I agree with the "at least you learn speed" thing. I have 6 high school girls who come in after school. They have already learned Debi's Mantra is "Time is Money". Seconds count. If a recipe (when enlarged) says 12 tsp of something, they better know that's 4 Tbsp ... I am NOT paying them to scoop out something 12 times when they can scoop it out in 4.

Maybe because I'm in the city of the Indy 500, but I've always been fascinated with the pit crews and how they shave seconds here and there just by the placement of their tools and how they set up the pits. Seconds make a difference.

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