Storage Units For Speciality Cake Shop

Business By zaheera Updated 23 Feb 2013 , 3:06pm by zaheera

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zaheera Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 8:43pm
post #1 of 7

I am finally realizing the dream of opening up a store!

But, as I have been working from home up to now, I'm not sure what type of storage I would require in a commercial kitchen, for producing speciality cakes.

Particularly with refrigeration. I'm thinking of getting a walk-in fridge, but would it be better to get a walk-in freezer and have undercounter fridges?

I do a lot of kiddies cakes, carved, and tiered.

But also do petit fours, sweet tarts and cupcakes.

Please help! I'm so confused

6 replies
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BakingIrene Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 9:46pm
post #2 of 7

A walk-in fridge or freezer is a permanent installation, very expensive and not moveable. If you rent a storefront, the owner of the property would have to consent to this installation. Once installed, it is prohibitively expensive to remove. 


You might look for a shop that already has the walk-in refrigerator.


If not, it is be better for you to consider free standing refrigerator and freezer, which can be put on a  truck and moved to a different location or resold. These are stainless steel utility units NOT display units. They accommodate multiple racks inside, they come on casters, they should have locking doors. Your local board of health may require you to have one refrigerator for raw ingredients only and one for finished cakes.  You can add more of these units as your business expands.


You will also need a refrigerating display unit or two depending on your intended layout.

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zaheera Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 8:05am
post #3 of 7

Hi bakingIrene, thanks very much for this info, its very helpful.

I'm wondering if you have a pic of this? Because I am imagining a coke fridge, and I'm sure this is incorrect as that would be a display fridge.

Thanks in advance :)

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havealittle Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 11:03pm
post #4 of 7

This is a good thread...I am going to follow...I am working on my business plan and trying to make sure I get it all in there!


Best of luck!

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BakingIrene Posted 22 Feb 2013 , 6:43pm
post #5 of 7

Well, it took me a few days to recover from the shock of being asked to provide a photo of a commercial fridge.  Some CC members have never worked in a commercial food establishment of any kind. I write the following out of my concern that a lot of money might be spent with a total loss at the end.


I can only describe commercial equipment for sale in Canada. In-store bakeshops, sandwich shops, delis, fishmongers, ice cream shops all use similar equipment which is required to conform to local regulations.  Your region has health regulations which to some extent control how you equip a commercial food establishment.  Making a profit safely drives the rest of the decisions.


OP, your sales agent is showing you the equipment that has the highest profit margin for his company NOT what you require.  Freezers operate best when they open at the TOP not the side.  When you buy equipment you must consider the electricity use as well as the useful lifetime of your purchase.  In Canada it is legal and economical to purchase used foodservice equipment.


There are several steps that many of us have taken on a casual basis that are necessary  to owning a baking business.  They include working for another owner (even part time) at any of the food businesses listed above.  It is absolutely necessary to have a good working knowledge of the commercial l regulations in your region, and large-volume procedures are significantly different than for home bakers who have permits to sell their wares. 


Your education needs to start with some not-for-degree cake making courses at your closest certified culinary college/post secondary technical institute. These all have evening or casual courses for home bakers, but they take place within the professional kitchen on campus.  You will be able to see not only the furniture but the mixing equipment and commercial hand tools  that are necessary to make a profit.  The schools' mission being education, you would be able to ask freely about the equipment at the end of each class.


You then need to educate yourself in commercial methods of handling perishable foods both to conform to local regulations and to prevent the loss of profit.  There is only one way to acquire this knowledge--on the job.  Work for somebody else in a sandwich shop or deli because these have the highest proportion of perishable foods and they train every new hire. In Canada, shops are required to train every new hire in the safe methods of handling their specific food products (although they do not issue a certificate).  In Canada, shops that do not control waste and sanitation including vermin on multiple feet are out of business in short order.


You will need to earn the safe food handling certificate for your region--and an owner frequently has to earn a higher level of certification in order to be able to supervise others. 


A business owner needs a good six months cash reserve for rent and utilities and employees, because traffic will build from nothing over several months. This is in addition to the funds required to equip the business.  The business must pay for labour, and  business and  employment taxes on time even if  it has lost money in that pay period.


Please, if you have been watching cake TV, you have seen many many hours of how NOT to work in a commercial cake kitchen, and very rare fleeting moments of the right way to do so.  Please educate yourself in the practical requirements in your region before you even think about sinking the price of a house into a commercial food business.

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ellavanilla Posted 22 Feb 2013 , 7:28pm
post #6 of 7

I agree with everything Irene has said, Have you even priced a build out based on your needs and the zoning requirements for your area? Most commercial coolers, whether a walk in or a reach in,  require a floor drain...for each unit. You'd need special sinks for sanitizing and hand washing and they each will need a special drain that keeps sewage from backing up. In my area you need to have a covered dumpster ALSO with drainage. Gas ranges require a hood and fire suppression system. In my area, everything,  from the type of tile grout in the bathroom to employee changing rooms is regulated. 


The list goes on. 


I see that you're in South Africa, so I'm sure that some things will be different there, but there will be standards and those standards COST. For me, the cheapest build out, from vanilla shell, to commercial kitchen was around $80,000.


BUT to your specific question about refrigerators, a reach in is perfect for me. I have one with a glass front, which is sometimes called a reach in merchandiser. The only way to know what you will need is to look at your specific needs. One other thing, the compressors on walk ins can be finicky and keeping the proper temp and humidity difficult.



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zaheera Posted 23 Feb 2013 , 3:06pm
post #7 of 7

Thank you for your insightful info.

The 'utility fridge' was what confused me but I know now exactly what you are speaking about.

I have worked in a couple of big bakeries before, and have seen the type of refrigeration that is used, but just wasn't sure what would be better small scale.

I have asked around at catering stores what a utilty fridge is and in south africa its simply referred to as a commercial fridge, sorry about my dumb blonde moment! icon_surprised.gif

I have also studied a diploma in patisserie... so am right on track now!

But thank you to both of you, my next step will be to find out what the regulations are in my area

I do need a business license to operate,which I have, as well as safety, health and fire checks. But will do more research on this.

Have decided to get 2 undercounter fridges, as BakingIrene suggested one for raw ingredients and one for cake, and a commercial upright freezer.


Thanks again, I feel so silly! icon_redface.gif

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