Imagine your dream of opening your own pastry shop finally becoming a reality.
Maybe you’re ready to make the first move, but you have no idea how to start a bakery business. Your passion for sweets can become a successful operation if you take the process one thing at a time.
Consider these seven steps to get your business off the ground.
1. Define Your Identity
There’s more than one type of pastry business you can open. Before doing anything else, determine which of the following concepts you’d like your business to follow:
- Food truck
- Counter service
- Specialty bakery
- Online business
The route you take may change as well. You might choose to start a small online business or open a food truck with the intention of someday moving into your own storefront. It’s a good idea to have these goals mapped out early, so you have an endpoint to move toward.
This is also a good time to think about the types of baked goods you’ll offer. Starting drafts of your menu early in the process may be key in defining your brand’s identity.
2. Procure Startup Capital
A detailed bakery business plan can help you outline the amount of financing you’ll need to get the business started. Do research in the industry to gain accurate insight into the pricing of equipment and materials. Factor in labor and overhead costs and brainstorm the ways you plan to offset all of these expenses.
With an informed figure in mind, you can pursue financing through investors or small business loans. Either way, you can’t move forward until you have the money to take the next steps.
3. Choose a Bakery Location
If you’re setting up an online business, you may think it’s okay to skip this step, but don’t dismiss it too quickly. Operating your bakery out of your home can quickly become an overwhelming situation. It’s smart to rent a commercial kitchen where you can prepare your items before sending them to customers. This gives you access to high-end equipment that could speed up the production process.
For other types of businesses, find the perfect storefront by factoring in things like foot traffic, potential competitors, and the type of demographics in the area. Make sure the space will work for your concept; it doesn’t hurt to bring in a contractor to price out any improvements you’d like to make before you sign the contract.
4. Purchase Baking Equipment and Supplies
Once you have your space prepared, it’s time to outfit it with all the equipment needed to start a bakery. Regardless of your recipes, you’ll need some basic fixtures and supplies:
- Commercial mixers
- Sheet pan racks
- Baking supplies
At this stage, it’s also good to start procuring vendors for the ingredients you’ll need to make your creations. Calculate how much it will cost to prepare one item, so you can price it to your customers accurately. Businesses with poor profit margins lose money quickly.
5. Staff Your Baking Business
To figure out your staffing model, start by deciding how many hours your business will be open each day. Then, define the roles you need fulfilled. How many bakers will you need prepping food? How many cashiers should be out front at one time?
If you’re going to hire a manager to help you run the day-to-day operations, make sure it’s someone with experience in the baking industry. Spend time training your new staff and make sure everyone knows their job prior to opening day.
6. Create an Online Presence
At the very least, start with a basic website that outlines what your business is about and where to find you. Make use of popular social media sources, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Many customers search for restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries online before visiting in person. This way they can read reviews, preview the menu and decide if it sounds appealing.
A social media presence also gives you the opportunity to communicate directly with customers. You can address and resolve complaints to protect your reputation. At the same time, you can offer coupons and special deals to get people in the door.
7. Keep Selling
No matter how successful your business may seem, you should never stop selling. Always keep an eye out for ways of reaching new customers, while holding on to those you already have with top notch customer service and quality baked goods. Don’t be afraid to experiment with ideas for new recipes or revenue streams. A bold approach like this keeps your audience interested.
Despite all of this hard work, sometimes the hardest part of opening your business is perfecting the product. If you’re a baking novice or you wish to strengthen your skills, the Oregon Culinary Institute can help you get the training you need to wow people with your desserts and pastries. Dedicated programs allow you to focus on the concepts you feel passionate about. Request your information packet today.