Kitchen Renters, Can I Pick Your Brain?

Business By HappyCake10609 Updated 11 Jun 2011 , 11:03pm by HappyCake10609

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HappyCake10609 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 6:20pm
post #1 of 5

So, I have been wanting to start my business for a while now. I live in the great state of New Hampshire and they offer a Homestead license that allows for home bakers, however when I finally decided to go for it and started inquiring about how to proceed, I learned that my city is "self-inspecting" and does not offer the license to residents. I was crushed!

So since then I started searching for a kitchen within my city to rent time/space in, to no avail. I had just about given up, but decided to expand my search to surrounding areas, and I found something that looks promising, but is a bit more expensive than I was expecting and also about a 40 minute drive from my home, hence my questions!

This place rents by the day, so I need to figure out how I would best split up/spend my production time so I don't waste time or money. So my question to you, specifically if you are in a "by the day" agreement, can you briefly explain your production schedule?

This place I am considering offers dry and freezer/refrigerator storage, would it be wise to spend a day baking popular flavors and sizes and freezing them until use? Or do you group your orders for the week/couple of weeks/month and do the baking at one time? Or do you bake to order each week?

How many days a week do you use your rental kitchen (or how often when you were starting out)?

They said they are pretty solidly booked on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which interrupts the "schedule" I use when baking- bake Wed. assemble Thurs, decorate Fri. I suppose I could bake on Tuesday and freeze until Friday, would I be setting myself up for failure?

There is another kitchen about the same distance away, they are cheaper and rent by the hour, but do not have any kind of storage available. I don't see how they are still in operation, but is anyone in this type of situation, bringing ALL of your stuff back and forth, including the cake? I'm not understanding how that would be OK, but not OK for me to just bake in my kitchen (I haven't heard back from the Health Dept, because I did contact them with that question).

I know I'm asking a lot of questions, I guess I just need a feel for what a production schedule might be. I'm used to "decorating on my own time" whenever I have a free minute/hour at home!


4 replies
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MnSnow Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 12:42am
post #2 of 5

I rent by the hour and yes haul everything back and forth. When you look at the availability of kitchen space (practically none), you do what you need to do. Yes it's a pain and I hate it, but I do what I need to so that I can be in business.

The kitchen I rent from is a banquet facility, so I need to schedule around their kitchen time. I have never had to freeze anything, not do i want to make this a practice. My goal is always fresh and I stress that to customers.

Renting kitchen time doesn't need to be a permanent situation, just a temporary one. Another way to view it-- milage is tax deductable icon_smile.gif
Pass that cost onto your customers when figuring out your cost per serving or delivery fees

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HappyCake10609 Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 5:34pm
post #3 of 5

Thank you! I agree, you do what you have to do and at this point my options are limited. I suppose I need to contact the Health Dept again and ask about bringing the cake back and forth because the hourly facility is much more affordable.

Thank you for your input!

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jason_kraft Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 10:12pm
post #4 of 5

In CA product must remain at the kitchen until it is delivered, and our kitchen has on-site dry storage and a walk-in fridge and freezer. We typically use the kitchen 2-3 days per week for 4-6 hours each day, and we plan our schedule for a minimum of downtime. The on-site fridge really helps with this, since we can prep cake 1, prep cake 2 while cake 1 is baking, prep cake 3 while cake 2 is baking and cake 1 is chilling, decorate cake 1 while cake 2 is chilling and cake 3 is baking, and so on.

We don't keep any inventory so everything is made to order, and we typically book 2-3 weeks in advance so I make sure we have several orders every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for maximum efficiency. But there's nothing wrong with freezing cakes, we've kept cakes frozen (fully decorated) for up to 1-2 months on occasion, and you can't tell the difference between thawed and fresh. There are a few exceptions, for example cakes with fresh fruit filling should not be frozen.

For us a kitchen rental is a permanent situation, I've run the numbers and it doesn't make financial sense to open a retail shop based on the demographics of our target market. We would need to make 4-5 times the number of cakes we currently make to achieve the same level of profitability.

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HappyCake10609 Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 11:03pm
post #5 of 5

Thank you so much for the information! I think even if I am allowed to cart the cake back and forth, I might still be better off with the kitchen that provides storage. I just need to figure out if I can get enough orders and charge enough in my area to make make it worth it to me at $150 per day to rent!

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