Product Freshness, Waste And Planning

Business By Shaywest Updated 8 Jun 2021 , 11:23pm by SandraSmiley

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Shaywest Posted 4 Jun 2021 , 1:56am
post #1 of 12

SO, I opened a small, specialty bakery in the middle of the pandemic.  Crazy I know!  We ONLY sell ALL KETO and ALL Gluten Free baked goods.  In general, we are doing well.  When we first opened, we could not bake fast enough to keep up with demand.  Now, it is summer and things are slow.  Im still learning and we provide detailed nutritional labels for everything we make so it takes me a minute to get new products from my head out to sell :)  Usually a week or more.  Anyway, I am really struggling with knowing how much to make etc.  I have done a decent job so far managing waste especially since our products have a longer than normal shelf life.  I guess I am wondering what other bakeries do?  Is everything tossed at the end of the day and they start from scratch?  Are cakes made and frozen so they can be pulled and decorated for last minute request?  Is there an upcharge for that?  Currently, I make all my cakes fresh and only take orders that I manage to do that with.  However, I get a good bit of "I need a cake tomorrow" phone calls!  I have made a few cakes and kept in the case and then of course, those did not sell!  It is maddening!  I also on a few occasions have been asked "when was this made or is this fresh?"  Again, we have a longer shelf life and only freeze a few cupcakes here and there to have on hand if we get caught off guard and need more in a hurry!  Again, just really curious what other bakeries do?  What is considered standard with regards to waste etc. etc. Any insight would be helpful.

OH and any marketing tips would be appreciated as well.  We got  a TON of media coverage when we first opened and biz was booming.  We are a bit puzzled why things have slowed down so much.  We have a good social media presence and have several that drive from all over the state to get our treats.  Lately, it is just SO sporadic! 

11 replies
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ReginaCoeliB Posted 4 Jun 2021 , 1:31pm
post #2 of 12

I remember taking a couple of classes at college that were a treasure, cost control and purchasing for hospitality. I remember the instructor (who was a very experienced business man) telling us that most restaurants and bakeries go bankrupt not because the quality of food, but because of waste. Waste is caused by lack of planning. Every case is unique. You must know your market, it is hard to plan with a rollercoaster market. I see nothing wrong with freezing extras. I remember also a little town bakery in Upstate New York. in order to stop waste they sold everything 50% on Saturdays after 4 p.m. It was hilarious to see a looooong line forming outside the bakery at around 2:00 p.m. of people hoping to find something and take advantage of their no waste policy...I guess the full price sales on Saturday was zero! Good luck!

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MamaGeese Posted 4 Jun 2021 , 4:56pm
post #3 of 12

In my opinion most all cakes improve after being frozen, unless they have fresh fruit or certain fillings in them. I usually freeze just the layers and then if you get a call, you would be able to offer them something. A local baker here posts what she has left at the end of the week on Facebook and lowers the price, I think that is a good idea. 

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ReginaCoeliB Posted 4 Jun 2021 , 6:38pm
post #4 of 12

Actually, frozen cakes are better than fresh ones. First, the water will freeze and will be stabilized... I mean it will not evaporate leaving behind a dry stale cake. And second, that crystalized water will break the gluten network, improving the texture of the final product. Once I read a lady saying I proudly freeze my cakes! I do as well. As long as you follow good hygiene practices... why not? And if that helps you to avoid waste and make an extra income out of a rush order...even better!

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jchuck Posted 4 Jun 2021 , 9:52pm
post #5 of 12

We had a local bakery in town that did as exactly as ReginaCoeliB posted. They closed at 6 pm, and at 4pm discounted some of the fresher items that wouldn’t last being refrigerated. They closed, and I really miss them. We currently have a local donut shop and cupcake shop that discounts the donuts/cupcakes in the last hour. If there’s any left. We have a vegan bakery that freezes the days leftovers. Everything from cupcakes, to cookies to cupcakes. Then sells them frozen, slightly discounted, but not by much. Maybe 20%? I’ve bought there vegan brownies and cupcakes frozen. And of course, they tasted just as good as the day they were made. ❤️

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MBalaska Posted 7 Jun 2021 , 8:00pm
post #6 of 12

I haven't baked in a while, (a very long while)  but when I do.........

I freeze every cake even if it's just overnight.  I love the texture of a frozen/thawed  cake.  It's much softer & dare I use the word??    Moister.

I've not experimented yet with frozen batter.  That's something I'm interested in trying.

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SandraSmiley Posted 8 Jun 2021 , 5:22pm
post #7 of 12

Like the others, I try to always freeze my cakes, at least overnight.  There are people (snobs) who declare their cakes have NEVER been frozen.  They do not know what they are missing!

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jchuck Posted 8 Jun 2021 , 6:41pm
post #8 of 12

MBalaska & Sandra

This thread isn’t about “freezing cakes”.  o:)   It’s about handling leftovers or spoilage running a cake store front. I was giving examples of what some local businesses do here with their leftover cake/treats inventory.  

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MBalaska Posted 8 Jun 2021 , 7:40pm
post #9 of 12

.......................That pretty much reminds me why I haven't visited the forum for a year or so.............  signing off for another year or so,

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-K8memphis Posted 8 Jun 2021 , 8:38pm
post #10 of 12

i agree with mb (gonna miss you...again) and sandra and reggie and mamageese, i too always froze my cakes -- well except for family cakes like texas sheet cake or something -- those never lasted long enough to get to the freezer -- but tier cakes and what i sold and stuff like that -- and i wasn't as smart as reggie with all the great science behind why we do what we do -- it was necessary and it worked out great and i thought the cakes turned out better --

but i am gonna steal the thread for a second, shaywest, don't be mad at me ok?


i mean in high school i won a book i'd already read -- then there was a dry spell for like fifty years and i mean it wasn't $1,000 in sushi or air travel (two things i don't like) but i LOVE jewelry!!! i am beside myself 


jumping up & down with jewelry joy ring

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-K8memphis Posted 8 Jun 2021 , 10:04pm
post #11 of 12

and to shaywest -- pastry chefs use freezers -- like sandra said, there are some people who like to get in your business like they know what's best as if something frozen is below standard -- not at all! 

a freezer is an awesome tool -- use it despite what random customers might say or think --

I would recommend saying something to the effect like -- I use all of the equipment and all of the ingredients available to me so that I can deliver the very best product possible   -- I don't eliminate anything worthwhile -- then maybe explain your refund policy -- that if anything is not satisfactory and the item is returned you will refund --

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SandraSmiley Posted 8 Jun 2021 , 11:23pm
post #12 of 12

June, I am well aware of the question asked in this thread, but I wanted to reiterate that freezing is also something I recommend.  

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