Are you one of those who make delicious cakes for their friends’ birthdays instead of buying them? Do you know how to prepare your own sweets for breakfast every morning?
If you are thinking of becoming your own boss and want to take advantage of your skills, setting up a bakery can be a great business idea for you.
This venture has many advantages, and infinite possibilities to make it grow and improve its profitability.
You can start a simple bakery where you sell take-out cakes, or turn your store into a cozy cafeteria where your clients come to chat with their friends.
In addition, products such as bread, sweets or birthday cakes are items that we all buy on a daily basis or for every special occasion, we celebrate.
Therefore, it is a profitable type of business with which you can achieve good benefits in a very short time, although it is necessary to take into account some suggestions to be successful.
Here you will find a complete guide with all the steps you must take to set up your bakery, and some extra tips that will help you have loyal customers who buy from you again and again.
The 14 steps to start a successful bakery
1. Think about the type of bakery you want to open
The first decision you must make is what type of bakery you want to start. There are four types of establishments that you can generally start:
- Online bakery: Thanks to new technologies, nowadays you can set up a bakery on the Internet without much effort. You will only have to create a web page, upload photos of your products with their descriptions and prices, and incorporate an online purchasing system. But remember that if you are going to cook your cakes at home you will need space, equipment for baking and decorating, and a well-conditioned place to store your freshly made creations.
- Bakery with products to take away: This is the typical bakery where customers enter, choose the products from your counter, and take them to take at home. The advantage of this model is that you can do it in a small place since you will not need too much space.
- Specialized bakery: If you are good at cooking a particular type of cake, opening a specialized bakery is the best option for you. You can specialize in products such as birthday cakes, cupcakes or special sweets, or even special confectionery for people with eating problems, such as sugar-free, lactose-free, gluten-free, vegan …
- Bakery with cafeteria service: More and more people rent a large place where they put a bakery counter with cakes, and the rest of the space is furnished with comfortable tables and chairs so that their customers can have their sweets there accompanied by a nice coffee. This option is the one that has a higher investment compared to the rest, but also produces more income than the others.
Before choosing one of these four models, you should consider some things such as what talents you have to cook (if you are going to be the one who makes the sweets), what is your budget, and the goals you want to achieve.
An example: if you barely have savings, but you don’t want to take out a loan to start your business, the best option would be to start with an online bakery since it is the cheapest model.
If you want to open a specialized pastry shop, but you only know how to bake traditional products such as bread and muffins, you will need to hire a specialized person to cook them, or take a course to learn by yourself.
So think carefully about these three fundamental factors first – your capital, your talents and your goals – and choose the type of bakery that best suits you.
2. Check if there is competition in your area
When starting any type of business it is essential to find out if there are competitors that sell products like yours, and how you can differentiate yourself from them to be successful.
Competition is not bad, because that means that there is a market of customers who want to buy what you offer; but you must be careful with certain aspects.
If you are thinking of renting a place on a commercial street where there is already a bakery that sells birthday cakes, it would not be good to put a business that also specializes in cakes there.
The most logical thing would be to either set up another type of bakery in which you offer different sweets, or look for another street in which there is no undertaking like yours.
Think about which area you want to start your patisserie, and take a walk there while you write down the businesses that could be your most direct competitors.
3. Write a business plan to help you organize
I will never tire of saying how important a business plan is for any type of venture. With this simple book you will be able to see clearly all the steps that you will have to take, and what to do if any type of problem arises.
In the business plan you must reflect what type of bakery you are going to open, what products you will sell, who your customers will be, what are the possible competitors that may appear, the money you will need to start everything …
4. Get the capital you need
Setting up a bakery is not cheap, unless you do it through a website in which case you will save a lot of money.
But if it is a traditional pastry shop, you must have a series of expenses such as renting the premises, paying licenses and permits, hiring employees, paying for electricity, gas, ingredients, kitchen equipment …
Make a list of all the expenses and costs you will have to calculate an approximate price of the money you will need to get to start your business.
When you have the total calculated, add between $3000 and $4000 more in case of any unforeseen event, and then find ways to get that capital.
If you have some money saved, you can invest it in your bakery and get the rest through friends who can lend you. Or directly go to a bank to finance your business idea.
But don’t forget to also look for help such as subsidies that the governments of all countries have for entrepreneurs or small companies like yours.
5. Find a place to put your bakery
Now that your idea is coming true, it’s time to look for a place to find the ideal place to start your bakery.
If you know your city well, go visit the areas that you think have the greatest potential for your business to be successful. Look at neighborhoods that are relatively new, with a good number of inhabitants, and where there are no patisseries like yours.
If you do not know the place where you live well, you can look at some web page that has demographic data about how many inhabitants there are in each area, which streets are the most commercial, etc.
What I do recommend is that at this stage do not buy your premises: rent it only for a few months.
In this way you will avoid that, if your business goes bad, you do not invest too much money in this purchase.
6. Check what licenses and permits you need
All businesses need a series of permits and documents in order to open their doors (if you want to know what they are, look at these procedures to open a business).
But there are certain ventures that require special licenses such as a bakery, since it is a food business.
Go to your town hall and the Department of Health Services of your State and ask what are the papers you need, what documents should you fill out, and where do you have to present them.
This step is VERY IMPORTANT: do not think of selling your first candy without ALL the necessary permits, because otherwise they will impose a very expensive penalty and close your business.
7. Make a list of the equipment you need to get started
Your store will not only need a nice decoration and a counter to sell your sweets: also in the back, you will have to install all the necessary equipment to bake and preserve your cakes.
The general equipment that a bakery usually needs is the following:
- Test boxes or fermentation chambers (places where bread and dough can rise to the proper temperature)
- Baking sheets and racks
- Mixers mass
- Work tables
- Sinks to clean used utensils
- Balances for weighing ingredients
- Tools to decorate sweets
- At least a refrigerator to store products and ingredients (depending on the amount of candy you make)
- Other small appliances, such as mixers
You should also have other additional equipment such as a counter and a box to collect, showcases where you can see your cakes, shelves, napkins, plates, glasses, trays and wrapping paper …
Once this list is made, you will have to find suppliers to buy all the necessary equipment.
Be sure to contact at least three different dealers to check prices, machine quality, and also ask them what their return or exchange policies are, or if they have discounts when buying multiple units.
8. Contact food providers
Whether you are the one who will cook or you are going to hire a specialized pastry chef, you will need the raw materials to make your cakes and bread.
You can buy some ingredients at any grocery store, but most will come at a better price if you buy them from a wholesale supplier.
Look for companies that offer these foods in industrial quantities and contact them to see what their prices are, the quality of their raw materials, their purchasing conditions …
Do not settle for just talking to one company: contact at least three or four different ones and ask them all the doubts you have in order to reach the best agreement for you.
If you do not know any ingredient distributor, you can go to trade associations specialized in food so they can give you a list of companies that sell this type of product to other bakeries.
9. Calculate your sale prices
Once you know how much each ingredient will cost you, the materials you need to make each cake, and the time needed to cook it, it’s time to calculate the sale price for your customers.
This is a decision that you can only make based on your expenses and the percentage of profits you want to make with each candy you sell.
10. Order enough material for the first two months
Here it is very important that you calculate the approximate number of products that you will sell in the next two months to buy enough ingredients with which to make those delicacies that you will later sell.
I know it is not easy, but you must calculate the people who will be able to enter your premises, and how many of them could buy some of your cakes.
Make sure your approach is always pulling high so you never run short of ingredients.
For example, if you think that in two months you will sell 150 loaves of bread and 75 cakes, increase the number to 200 loaves and 100 cakes so that if you have more customers than you expected one week, you will not lack products to sell them.
When you have made this calculation, you can better buy the ingredients you need from the supplier you chose before.
11. Create a good advertising strategy
Customers are not going to come alone to your business. Some of them may pass in front of your window and enter your bakery to buy without having to do anything.
But the vast majority will look at your premises for a moment, and then they will pass.
So it is necessary that you make a good advertising strategy that manages to attract buyers and make them want to buy from you again and again.
If you have decided to set up a bakery in a local, the first thing you should take care of is having a nice and clean showcase that invites everyone who walks by to enter your store.
On the glass, you can also place posters with the offers you have at that time, or funny phrases like “we have warm bread for you!” or “come in and try the best candy you’ve ever eaten.”
It’s also a good idea to give out flyers or flyers on the streets near your bakery for people to visit, or to offer samples for potential buyers to try out your products.
Also use the Internet to attract more customers in your area: create profiles on Facebook and Instagram where you upload photos of your cakes with the address of your local, or make a website so that they can better locate you.
Contact local newspapers, radios and televisions, tell them the story of how you started your business, and what is special about appearing in these media and that more people know you.
But above all, don’t forget about the most important advertising tool of all: your own clients.
Treat them well and make them feel special. If someone enters your business, they like what you offer, and you also make them feel good, they will most likely recommend you to all their friends and acquaintances.
12. Interview potential employees to hire them
Whether you like to cook, and you’re going to be the one to bake the sweets, or you need a pastry chef to make them, you’re going to have to hire employees to help you with your bakery.
You can’t be in two places at once – cooking and serving customers – nor can you put a cook to work while charging shoppers.
So you should start looking for someone before opening your bakery.
Post a job offer online, in the newspapers, or talk to acquaintances to let them know you’re looking for someone to work with.
The employees you hire must be friendly, have a good presence and treat customers well, and that they do their tasks effectively.
A good idea is to put them on trial for a week or two to see if they work well.
If what you need is to hire a pastry chef, you can ask him to cook you a couple of sweets to see if it is good. Do not settle for little, and make sure he is a good cook.
In the event that you are going to be the cook, and you have to hire someone to collect and serve clients, you must make sure that they are a kind and trustworthy person.
Remember that he or she will be the one to handle the money in the box, and for that task you will need a person you trust.
13. Decorate your premises to reflect the personality of your bakery
A good decoration, both inside and out, is essential to attract customers who want to enter your store and buy from you.
That is why you must reflect the personality of your business and your products with your decoration.
If you are going to sell cakes focused on a young audience, such as children or teenagers, the decorative elements of your store should be in line with this, for example putting more childish details on the showcase or inside.
On the other hand, if what you want is to set up a bakery aimed at adults, with an informal but elegant atmosphere, all your decoration should be more sober.
14. Open your business with an opening party
You already have everything ready to open your doors! Set a date on the calendar to open and your buyers to enjoy your delicious cupcakes.
A good idea is that a few days before you announce in different media such as your social networks, your showcase, with posters on the street or leaving brochures in the mailboxes, which will be the inauguration very soon and that you will have a small party to celebrate it.
In it you can give your visitors exclusive samples or offers only during that day (for example, give away a sweet when they buy another one) to make yourself known and more people come.
In this way you will gain customers and ensure a large part of the success of your bakery.
Setting up a bakery is not only a great business that will leave you good benefits with your products: it is also a fun experience that will give you the economic freedom you want by becoming your own boss.
If you really enjoy cooking and you want to be an entrepreneur, don’t wait another minute and start today!
What kind of sweets would you like to sell to yourself in your own bakery? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.
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