or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

new pastry shop

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello everybody. I would like to get your trusted and valued opinion on a matter that im sure that you are all familiar with. I started a new venture recently with a new company which is for now small. Our menu consists of about 10 different items cakes and pies. Now the owner, which is my direct boss, had initial projection of selling about 50 cakes and pies a day. We weren’t looking to hit those numbers right off the bat but she wants to get close to those numbers as soon as possible. We were talking about doing wedding cakes and special occasion cakes as well, and also some small fruit tarts and other tarts. So far, as the staff goes it is just myself and one part time guy who takes care of the box lunches. Not even a dishwasher. The question I have is it totally insane to try and run an operation like this without a freezer or a refrigerated showcase for the front of the house. We do display our cakes but not refrigerated which decreases the shelf life. Just your opinion is this a uphill loosing battle under these circumstances:eek:
post #2 of 19
If the owner has any intention of selling 50 per day, I hope that she can at least provide professional photos of them. It is wasteful and foolish to display a perishable item out of refrigeration. Maybe you can run some alternative ideas past her.
post #3 of 19
There aren't alot of small (2 people) bakeries that do those kinds of numbers. Considering that it's a new place, you'd really have to advertise and have the right spot (alot of businesses in the area) to do those kinds of numbers. Display case or no case, first you have to have that kind of volume walking in your doors looking for that SPECIFIC item (since your not selling a wide variety of baked goods).

My opinions. Bakerys that do those numbers on cakes are selling alot of b-day cakes, not dessert cakes. To do alot of b-day cakes it's very helpful to have several flavor choices on hand DISPLAYED (because these types of buyers won't wait). It's also pretty hard to accomplish this with only two people. Getting interupted 50 times in a day to write a message on a cake, box it and ring it up, restock the cabinet, etc... leaves no time to do any baking or real production.
If you try to sell using photo's that means you looking to do decorated cakes and that's a far more time consuming task then mass production and writing on a basic assembled cake. No way that's going to happen with two people.

So there's several things in your post that are troublesome. 10 items is a wholesale bakery doing a huge volume. 10 items isn't enough to open a small retail bakerys door (in my opinion), your not meeting enough needs.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
Reply
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
Reply
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks Momoreg and Wendy, I never thought of trying to do Digital photos but I think that Wendy may be right, that there is a lot of time involved. Also that wouldn’t go with the owners Nostalgic Theme the owner s selling and marketing point is on Nostalgic. Most of the cakes and pies that we opened up with are nostalgic type desserts. Surely we are not doing those kinds of numbers at this point, but those numbers are part of the business plan. What we have realized at this point there is a higher demand for smaller desserts that yield fewer portions than the larger cakes. We had discussions on doing individual desserts along with what we are presently maintaining on the menu. Another idea on the front burner is special occasion cakes and wedding cakes. Even though I mentioned that there are 2 people in the kitchen one is only part time and he is responsible for all box lunches. I know I cant do the numbers that she want to do by myself and I told I hop that we don’t get that busy. I think my breaking point is to try and get this all accomplished without a freezer. I think you are right Wendy 10 items isn’t enough to open a retail shop. This is my first time in retail but I do know how to produce in high volume. You are also right about having a larger menu to choose from creates more traffic through the door. Without a refrigerated case we are limited on what we can display By the way do you think the health dept. Would have anything to say about displaying cakes at room temp. We don’t sell them, we usually just throw them away after a few days, the owner thinks that is the price she is willing to pay for being in business. Thank for your opinions I really appreciate it. I should e mail this to her. What do you think?
post #5 of 19
I hope she is open to your suggestions. Without a willingness to accept other options, it doesn't have much hope. If the owner is prepared to spend $ on throw-away cakes, why not add up what a year's worth of cakes costs, and buy a nice freezer-fridge combo.
post #6 of 19
Danno,
It appears that you have a vested interest in this place. " I hope we don't get that busy"NoNO. You need to have more help lined up for when you do get to those numbers.
At this point I feel the most important thing is feedback from what customers are telling you. If it's small pastries, then your in the small pastry business. If it's wedding (much better profit margin) then head that way. You can never let the labor get in the way of expansion. If your partner is not on that same exact page then it might be time to go off on your own, since you seem to be carring some of the weight.
Emasil, lets chat.
paninicakes@comcast.net
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #7 of 19
I have a Cake Salon, by appoinment I see customers and they choose the cake they want. In the back we supply 3 country clubs, 3 restaurants and 3 caterers on a steady basis. There are 3 of us and only two work full time.
I have a web site and two going on four photo albums full of cake pictures.
Next week I am opening my web boutique for cookie, truffle and favor sales.

It's been a year and we are paying our bills, repeat business is great and I have invested any profit into advertising and building the site.

I do not want a retail shop because of what W. said, you get 50 customers, there is no time for baking! I also have three small children and a husband with his own gig so the hours required for a retail shop make my head spin! I am working on getting more steady wholesale biz and retail biz but looking over my post, the words I use are salon, boutique and the like. That's my nich, people come to me with the big celebrations and special parties and the wholesale comes from the high quality desserts we provide for special events.
Everything is baked to order and I use no cases in my salon. We have tastings and look see's.

It sounds like you want to have a groovy old fashion bakery catering to lifes little celebrations!

Cases are not that expensive, you have to shop around, you can get wood and glass custom made for the nostalgic look!

Best of luck!
e-mail for further chat.......
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Michelle nice web site, you do really nice work. Severasl years ago i worked in a whole sale shop in N C where we supplied coffee houses, hotels, the universitys, and restaurants. We did all finishing in the am and did all the baking in the afternoon and any cakes that were baked fron the previous day were 75% finished then wrapped and frozen then we coukld just pull them and finish them as we needed them. where im at now without a freeezer we will just about have to bake 1 or 2 cakes at a time.To me that isnt practical. the front theer are some attique furniture around the room we have some old style cake stands the we use to display the cakes. Now that may sound cool and everythng but when you try and sell these cakes by the slice and they sit out for 8 hours and try to get 2 days out of them, that is not a good direction to go in. I agree with you that a refrigerated case is the way to go its elementary. Well i do appreciate your input, thanks
Danno
post #9 of 19
The missing information to this whole thread is: what is the owners business plan? Has she run any numbers on a calulator to see what kind of business volume she needs to do to actually become profitable? Then looked at how she was going to produce that quanity with the people and equipment she has right now. If she can't match those two (which no one can do with-out a freezer) she needs to make adjustments and find some more income, because her plan was flawed from the beginning. In a bakery not doing heavy b-day and wedding cakes-your better having more freezer space then cooler space.

Nostalgia sounds great to me, it is sort of a "in" style right now. Bakery wise, I can think of alot of fun things and ways you can play up that theme. How is she doing it? But foremost it's a business and you have to have a plan and work it. Incuding regular hard long looks in the mirror and your books to evaluate if your plan is working or if you need to modify your plan so you can remain open.

I don't get the impression that she has a lot of flexiblity and experience in running her bakery.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
Reply
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
Reply
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Wendy, you are right, she has no experience in running a bakery. She has no real hard experience in the food service biz. I think she went through the TGIFridays training program or it was one of those chains. For the past 10 years she sold health insurance. She does have a business plan. And according to her business plan to be profitable we need to be selling 56 cakes and pies a day and also 104 box lunches. Now also part of her business plan the pricing of the cakes and pies were between 25 and 30 and within a few days she dropped them to about half. That is the first hole in her plan that I can see. Daily sales we are doing about 10 box lunches and maybe 1 or if we are lucky 2 cakes and pie a day. We sell more by the slice but what happens if we sell half of a cake by the slice we usually end up throwing out the other half due to age. So what we started doing is pre slicing cakes and pies and individually boxing them and keeping them in the cooler. I would thing 3 days max on those. The other day I threw out 60 pieces of cake and pie. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t like to throw food away, she thought it was because it was my art, but I said no, im not concerned with art Its my time and effort that I put into it and that it just increases my work load. I like to think of a freezer as a bank and all your product is money, and the best place to put your money is in the bank. I finally got to the point the other day I sat down with her and told her that I though it would be in her best interest and mine if she brought someone else to take the position. Ya know I have had several conversation with her about how important a freezer and a refrigerated case and it just doesn’t seem to be that important to her at this point Hey what can ya do
Thanks Wendy.
post #11 of 19
Danno,
I failed to tell you I have a walk-in freezer and refrigerator, and a reach-in of each. The back of the shop has a cold room and a hot room.
Good luck on your future endevors!
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #12 of 19
Danno,
Good decision. I hope you move on to bigger and better things.
post #13 of 19
I hear ya and feel for you Danno! She choose you for your expertise and then doesn't take your advice........


Somethings can't be saved or worked out. BUT when this kind of thing happens to me, later on long after the facts are over, I always wish I had continued and tried to succeed instead of leaving out of frustration. But I've left out of frustration at more then one place, so I surely understand how you feel.


If you can-take a deep breath and try to stand back and remember it's not your business (even though your giving your best) that always helps me calm down. Sometimes I wish I had continued on and kept recieving that pay check and seen the day that owner woke up. It will come for her.

If your not in a hurry to another job could you stay and chalk this up to a huge learning experience and use it? It doesn't seem like this place can make it, but that's not really your problem in the end. It "could" contain more knowledge for you if you can stand it. I'd play it out and be her dummy. Exercise your recipes, learn whatever you can, make as many contacts as you can in the field.....you could stumble upon your next job this way.

These "things" (refridgerators and freezers) that aren't so important to her......they are hard to understand of course from professional experience. Best I can figure is she has deeper pockets then you'd guess and is willing to keep loosing money. If I were you .....I'd keep working there while I looked for something better.......you just never know what will happen (but then I'm not so good at being patient at times).
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
Reply
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
Reply
post #14 of 19

new pastry shop

Danno, There is a restaurant in NYC that had a very tiny front of the house Pastry Shop. (10x12 feet) They only showed their pastrys on stands and shelves fokr the bread. Now I think they sold out ea night. Maybe if u had a very wide range of tarts, sm indiv cakes, and smallish decorated cakes and certain types of breads, that u sold out or almost did each nite. The customer would get to know the talents u have, thus growing the business. She might go for the purchase of at least a show case. I never lliked to hold anything to long anyway. Some desserts just dont hold even til the next day anyway. Cakes maybe the 2nd or 3rd day, even then they may be uck! Find a restaurant u could delliver to ea pm to sell the items u didnt sell that day. Now Im talking aboout the stuff u made that am. What do you all think of that. Youd not be loosing $. Make sure they use the bakery's name for getting them at 1/4th the price or etc.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wendy, you bring up a couple good ideas. I realize it isn’t my business, and to just throw stuff away every day stuff I know that could have been saved with the proper equipment doesn’t make any sense to me. Yeah I will collect a check every other week, but it is just hard for me to take that approach to a job. Another thing you brought up something I don’t like to think about, those jobs from the past, and what if I would have stuck it out, where would I be today, ahhh who knows. I have take a lot for this present job at the cost of my boss’s decision making. Im sure it will help me in the future. As of right no we aren’t that busy and when the holidays roll around Im sure we will get busier Im not sure how I will react to a working environment that isn’t properly equipped.

Hey wizcat, this is the first time I have seen you on here Welcome. It’s not like im on here day in day out. Our store front is over 1000 sq feet, we have a ton of room. We are going in the direction of smaller desserts like fruit tarts, but we are trying to still maintain our dessert items that we started out with. You are right about the cakes after one or two days. Especially ones that are finished with cream cheese. We have an Italian cream cake and a carrot cake and I swear the second day the cream cheese start to get funky. And after sitting out a room temp for 8 hours, I wouldn’t want to pay full price for something like that. One thing I have to keep in mind is that Im working by myself, not even a dishwasher to speak of and everything is from scratch. We have one part time guy who takes cake of putting together box lunches, and I usually help him out each day. So I don’t have a lot of time and individual desserts can be time consuming. That is one thing my boss doesn’t understand. She hasn’t worked in a commercial kitchen before. So she can talk all day about things she wants to do. I have mentioned o her doing the desserts in sheets and cutting from that and she didn’t take to that. It screws with the customer perception. Im gonna keep on going here and do what I can do till she can find someone else that buys into her plan. Thanks for that suggestions wiz.
Danno
post #16 of 19
Hey danno,
Do you see any potential for business or success here? Things seem to be contradicting themselves here. Since she does not know anything about baking, she hired you for your experience and production. If she only willing to accept half the deal then I would move on.
I saw you mention sheets." it screws with the customers perception"? is she referring to the look or the old fashioned theme? We do triangles, diamonds,parallelograms sp? lol, etc and garnish that the customer would never know they came from a sheet.
Last, danno, if you would not purchase something in your own shop, then it's time to leave.
Good luck to you!!
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #17 of 19

new pastry shop

Nanno, In reading your reply, maybe I was wrong with incouraging u to stick with it. I dont believe she should be telling you how to make the pastries, since she is not trained to do so. Owners who try to tell u how to do things are those whom I do not want to work for. Pastry Chefs are in demand now. Bet u can go to a restaurant there (where are u?) and have a chef be glad not to be responsible for the desserts anylonger. Its quite different working in a restaurant.and is an experienct you should have, so u can make the decision restaurant vs bakery. Quite often you work 40-60 hrs/wk, depending on your responsibilities. But its worth it to get that high. I dont think I could ever work for a bakery unless its my own. And, then I'd want it to be wholesale and retail. I have some ideas to suggest for your menu, but I have to go now. Hubby is about to come home and we have to go to eat, since I was too lazy to cook.:smiles:
post #18 of 19
I think this is good advice! that I will follow myself!!! I am relocating to a bit larger space to a storefront now!!

I don't see the point in doing business without refrigeration!!! How did she pass inspection??

Danno you are right, how can she in all reason, sell cream based cakes after being out for 8 hours?

Ugh
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Reply
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Reply
post #19 of 19
I totally agree with with this...
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Reply
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking