I am a Marketing professional with 20+ years of experience in the food/bev industry, including Pillsbury, General Mills, and the wine industry. I have an MBA in Marketing and good general business management understanding. But, I have become weary of corporate politics and office life, and am considering changing my career path by opening a pastry shop. I have loved to bake virtually since I could walk, and would consider myself an accomplished home cook. I have a fondness for artisan pastry & breads, but no experience in foodservice other than waiting tables years ago. As I evaluate this potential career change, I'd love to get input from other Pastry Shop owners on the following:
1. Can I own a successful/profitable pastry shop by hiring out a pastry chef and front-of-house manager, and simply doing the overall business management myself? Or, is it too difficult to make a profit and run a strong business if the owner is not doing one or both of these roles themselves? Where do you suggest I look to hire these key roles?
2. Do I need additional schooling in order to own a successful pastry shop, even if I hire out the roles mentioned above? If so, which of these do you suggest and why:
*French Pastry School (Chicago)- Professional Pastry & Baking program, 24wks
*Kendall College- A.A.S. in Pastry & Baking, 5 quarters
*Kendall College- Hospitality Management (is this needed in order to own/run a successful pastry shop?)
*Le Cordon Bleu (Chicago)- A.A.S. in Pastry & Baking, 2yrs
*Other suggestions??? (do not want to relocate to attend school, so hoping to choose among options in Chicago)
3. Any suggestions on how to evaluate potential locations, both zip codes and specific sites? My target will be affluent suburban, but I am wondering if there is a good source for evaluating traffic, other retail sales, etc. that you suggest in considering possible location.