Taking the step to opening and running your very own bakery is a massive leap. From buying new kit, to ordering bags of bulk flour, you’re looking at setting up shop and becoming successful.
For you, this might have been a life-long dream – but you need to go in prepared, with your wits as sharp as your chef’s knives. This guide will help point you in the right direction and give you the confidence you need to have those cookies flying off the shelves.
Find your Talent in the Market
Be original. The economic reality of a successful bakery is that – to survive – you can’t just be a copy of your competitors. This wouldn’t be fair to you, either – you’re original and unique, and you deserve a business that reflects and celebrates those quirks.
Be the best, the first, or the only one. Find a niche where your talents and a market gap overlap – no matter how ‘niche’ you feel it may be. Also, don’t be afraid to switch things up when seasonal sales start to slow.
2. Start Small
When you’re new to the professional baking scene, you can make the learning curve far easier and simpler if you start small with a lean product offering.
The first few months of your bakery, you should focus on your passion and lean into your talents. This will guarantee that you’re providing the very best for your new, treasured customers. Gaining a reputation is incredibly important during this time, snd it’s up to you to make sure this reputation is positive.
So, focusing on our own talents will ensure you’re producing the best product possible. So, if your real talent is decorating cakes or baking the best muffins, pick a particular area and channel your time and energy into it.
3. Say Goodbye to Mate’s Rates
Before you choose to go full-time – when you’re selling muffins and cookies as a side gig – it’s fine to give the neighbor a discount, but when you take the leap and start tackling a full-time bakery, it’s different. All of those nice, friendly people you previously offered discounts to are now going to need re-educating on the realities of owning a business.
Don’t feel guilty or self-conscious, either. Those who love and support you also understand the necessities of feeding your family and paying your rent.
If you want to offer a small discount to your family, that’s fine, but whatever your policy is, make sure it’s consistent. Some customers will do anything for a bargain – so don’t trip yourself up by trying to be nice.
4. Buy Brand New
The price tag can certainly be more daunting, but – combined with the second tip – always try and buy as new as possible.
It is almost always a far better investment than second-hand. Whilst second hand might appear less expensive upfront, it can cost you further down the road.
Second-hand equipment results in unreliability: ovens and mixers wear out as time goes by, meaning they’re less efficient and more prone to uneven baking and sub-par performance.
This creates unnecessary expenses and disruptions for you; you end up spending more money to replace or repair old kit, and also taking a hit to your new business’ reputation.
Records of maintenance are often non-existent for used equipment; any replacement parts can also be exceedingly expensive or difficult to obtain, adding a degree of unpredictability.
On the other hand, buying brand-new bakery equipment gives you a decent warranty and customer support.
5. Pick the right spot
There’s no point in setting up your gorgeously-decorated bakery in an empty truck stop. You’ll need to scout around for a part of town where there is a strong market for your cakes and cookies.
Conduct plenty of research into your chosen location; talk to locals and see their current habits at the location. If it’s already a bustling shopping district, then expect the rent to reflect that.
At the same time, if you plan to supply your baked goods to other local businesses — such as providing desserts for a local restaurant — you need to establish whether there’s enough demand in your area. Your best bet is to find other newly-opened businesses, or have an incredibly strong value proposition.
This process will also help you conduct plenty of research on nearby competitors. A bakery offering croissants and coffee might well thrive in a commuter district, but if the area is already chock-full of these, then you’ll need to switch things up.
Make sure to look beyond the baked goods, do your research and match the local demand.