How to Start a Bakery: Your Guide to a Successful Business

 

Did you know that over 770 million cupcakes are eaten in the US annually? Well, it’s true, and this doesn’t even account for all of the other baked goods that Americans love!

If you have a passion for pastries and want to share your recipes with others, you’re in luck. Starting your own bakery is a fun and lucrative task. Read on to learn how to start a bakery and bring in the dough… no pun intended.

Set a Budget

Your budget is the first and most important thing to consider before setting up a bakery. This will allow you to make sound financial decisions to ensure that you have a high ROI. The primary goal of any business is, after all, to make money. If you aren’t turning a profit, your business will be unsuccessful and you won’t be able to share your love for baked goods for very long.

First, think about how much money you have to set up shop. Consider taking out business loans from your bank or asking investors to give you a bit of extra cash. Once you know how much you have, subtract the money that you’ll need for the bakery equipment, operation space, and employee onboarding.

Once that’s done, it’s time to figure out how much income your bakery will have to run with on the regular. Project your gross income based on how well others in your industry are doing. You can reassess this once you actually open up shop for more specific and accurate projections.

Then, you can calculate your net income by subtracting expenses. This will require you to sit down and consider how much you’ll need to spend on materials such as dough, spices, plates and utensils, equipment repairs, rent, and tables/chairs. Remember to subtract the money you’ll need to pay in taxes, too!

Have Something Great to Sell

Before you can start preparing to open your bakery, you’ll need to make sure that you have delicious products that will actually sell. This means experimenting in the kitchen to perfect old recipes and create new ones.

Grab your grandma’s cookbook and flip to your favorite pages. There’s no better way to start this process than to begin making some of your family’s special recipes, after all. You know that these are delicious, unique, and appealing, and even if you decide ultimately not to serve them, you’ll have somewhere to start off.

If you’re planning to open a bakery, you probably are already passionate about sharing your baked goods with the world. This means that you likely already have some recipes that you, your family, and your friends love. Talk to these people about what their favorite things that you make are and set up shop with those items in mind!

Get the Right Tools

However, before you can start experimenting, you’ll need to have the necessary items to experiment with. Commercial bakery equipment is different from that you use at home, so you’ll need to set a budget and invest in these appliances.

This means a high-class commercial-grade baking oven, of course, but it also means smaller things. To get started, make sure that you invest in:

  • Pots and pans
  • Various types of mixers (hand, paddle, static, drum, high-sheer, etc)
  • Blenders for breaking dough and materials into smaller pieces
  • Commercial dough-kneading equipment
  • Spatulas, oven mitts, and other utensils for easy handling
  • Sheet pan/storage racks for cooling and storing pre-made pastries in the kitchen
  • Cupcake towers for serving
  • Utensils to give to your guests

To access these tools and many more, head over to https://thesmartbaker.com/. There, you’ll find more ideas for the goods that you need and gain access to new bakery equipment at a reasonable price.

Practice and Experiment

Once you have the right tools for your commercial kitchen, you’ll need to test them out. Using commercial appliances rather than personal ones will take a bit of getting used to, and you’ll need to try making your favorite recipes with this hardware. This ensures that they’ll turn out just as they’re supposed to and that you get the same quality in your bakery as you’re used to getting at home.

After you’re familiar with the equipment, you can experiment a bit with their settings and applications. Come up with ways that you can be more efficient with old recipes and improve upon new ones.

This can mean adding a new ingredient to your favorite muffins, using a different kind of cinnamon in your signature cinnamon buns, or kneading the dough of your bread differently than you used to to make it more fluffy or dense. The possibilities are limitless!

Come Up With a Preliminary Menu

Kitchen experiment never really ends in a professional bakery, but you need to open sometime. Once you’re familiar with the equipment, sit down and come up with a preliminary menu for your store.

Ask yourself what items you think will sell best and add those to the menu. You also will want to consider what is unique and will make you stand out from your competitors. If you sell something special that can’t be found at other bakeries, you’re sure to be more successful than if you only sell standard items.

You also will want to think about what’s practical for you to make in large quantities. If you can only have the funds or equipment to produce five strawberry cakes a day but have the means to make ten chocolate ones, the latter is a better investment in the event that you can’t have both.

Make Business Preparations

The preparations that you make should depend entirely on your business goals. The SMART goal method is a great tool for creating realistic objectives in an easy-to-understand way. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable (by concrete checkpoints)
  • Achievable (by a business of your size, experience, etc)
  • Relevant and related to where you want your business to go
  • Time-bound (achievable in the amount of time that you have to work with)

Considering this framework when creating objectives will ensure that you have a way to measure and quantify your success.

Finding a Space to Operate

To open a bakery, you’ll need a commercial location where you can actually sell goods and cater to guests. Check out Craigslist, LoopNet properties, or other online catalogs until you find a space for rent. You also can just wander around your prospective area of operation and look for vacant storefronts.

Once you find a space to operate in, you can move all of your industrial baking equipment into your kitchen. Make the most of your space by putting as many appliances against the walls as is possible. This will give your bakers the majority of the kitchen to maneuver so that they can remain comfortable and productive.

Remember to include a fan! Kitchens get hot, and happy bakers make for happy bakeries.

Hiring and Training Personnel

From there, you’ll need to hire and train employees for your bakery. Make sure that you get experienced bakers for the kitchen who have the ability to follow your recipes to a T. After all, you want to deliver the best goods to your guests!

Experienced commercial bakers will already understand how to use your equipment. Have them practice making your recipes. This will give them a greater idea of what you as the restaurant owner want.

You also will need to hire some greeters, waitstaff, and baristas (if you do the smart thing and serve tea/coffee with your pastries.) Make sure that everyone you hire is personable and excited about your bakery!

Get the Word Out

Once you’re ready to open your bakert and set a date, you’ll need to get the word out about your grand opening. Word of mouth is awesome, but taking to social media is even more effective.

Post about your bakery opening and use appropriate hashtags. Purchase location-based ads so that those in your area can find your bakery. This ensures that you get the word out to those who actually have the ability to get to you!

How to Start a Bakery: Opening Your Business

While you may think that actually opening your bakery is the longest and most eventful step in the process, it actually is the opposite. You’ve already done all the hard work! Make sure that you bake your bread and treats the morning that you sell them and you’ll be good to go.

Invite people in for your grand opening with a discount on certain items. Be liberal with free samples- they can boost sales by 2000%. This is the time to showcase your business and get people through the doors.

If you’re particularly ambitious and able, you may even want to throw a VIP grand opening party! Invite those that followed you on social media early, have shown interest in baked goods before, are members of bakery-related clubs in your community, and those who might be interested in partnering with you to sell your goods at restaurants, school fundraisers, and more.

Have fun and feel accomplished. You did it!

Get Started

You’ll need to invest in marketing services (such as PPC ads, SEO, SEM, and social media marketing) after opening your bakery, but that’s a problem for your future self. You now know how to open a bakery and get people through the doors, which means you’re ready to roll for a good while.

Now that you know how to start a bakery and make it a huge hit, it’s time to get some more recipes to experiment with. Check out the ‘recipes’ tab on our home page for some ideas on new products that you can bake and sell.

Get out there and start making dough (to reel in more dough!)

Leave a Comment: