Baker's Husband

Discussion in 'New User Introductions' started by matt tieken, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. matt tieken

    matt tieken

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    Hello everyone, I am the husband of a baker in a small town. She has been selling at the local farmers market for 4 years and has grown a true following and made a name for herself.

    She is starting a bakery downtown and we are very excited. She hopes to start out as a one-man-show and transition quickly into a two or three person operation. She plans to be open from 6:00am to after lunch with a menu of muffins, scones, cake, pie, cookies, bread and the like. She also plans to serve coffee for the morning crowd driving through town which is huge.

    We have been working on a business plan and menus for about 6 months. We also just bought a 1250sf building that will need to be finished out.

    Here is her website - https://www.sheilas-bakery.com

    Here is the layout for the bakery (I know it is small) http://i.imgur.com/V0kqE1g.png. I am meeting with an architect this weekend to start the official design/plan review portion of this project. The building is about 19 feet wide and 65 feet long. We are trying to avoid getting a hood so all the appliances will be electric and we won't have a real range (at least at first).

    We hope to be open by December 1 to start taking orders for Christmas.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    -Matt
     
  2. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    How exciting!

    My biggest tip?

    Start taking orders and getting deposits way before December.

    Like the beginning of November.

    You don't have to over pack the schedule..... but I have found most commercial accts want to get things taken care of early.

    Gives their sales dept something to hand out during their holiday sales calls.

    Having been on both sides of that equation I find it to be a win-win situation.

    mimi
     
  3. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Nice job on the website all the baked goods look wonderful. I don't like the idea of opening a new business on Dec 1st. Your wife who is starting out as a "one Women operation" is putting a lot of pressure on her. Right now all the baking has her finger print on it in a once a week farmers market operation. Im most all cases a food service/restaurant will have a soft opening with a lot of employees on the floor. They will have a few managers walking the floor insuring good service and talking with the customers. The kitchen will also over staff for a few weeks training a lot of employees on how the Chef of Corp whats things done. I have seen seasoned pros screw up a new restaurant opening. If your plan is to open the bakery in December make sure you have all your staff  trained and in place. A busy bakery opening during a busy time of the year can't open with a skeleton untrained crew. Remember you only have one time to make a first impression. Your wife can only stretch herself so much before it gets to be to much. The more people you have trained the better off you'll be. This opening isn't about how much money you can make in December. This opening is about how many people I can impress with your quality and professionally managed operation........The best.........ChefBillyB
     
  4. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    So true....

    mimi
     
  5. matt tieken

    matt tieken

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    ChefBillyB:

    That is something we have been struggling with.

    Scenario 1 - Open with limited hours/employees and add hands and hours if the demand dictates.

    Scenario 2 - Open with 7 day a week 14 hour a day operations (exaggeration), mucho employees and drop hours and hands if we don't get the business that will support that.

    Is it a sign of failure if we open 7 days a week then drop employees? We would probably have to trim back hours and days open if we cut employees.

    Not sure if I am making sense, but we are contemplating these scenarios.

    flipflopgirl:

    We also plan on a soft opening early in November, but we are announcing December 1 as a start date in case the schedule creeps.
     
  6. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Hey Matt, one thing to remember is and like you said, it's a small town. Word travels fast, good and bad. When I start a new business I have more than enough employees to cover whats needed. I can't know  what demand is, I just need to be able to respond to it when it happens. The only thing your wife needs to be doing during the busy time at the bakery is PR. She needs to be out front taking with people and making sure all their needs are taken care of. She can't take care of her customers if she has to run around making more brownies and scones because the display cases is empty. You need key people in key positions. The baker needs to have people know what she knows. Every item in the display case needs to have a reason for being there. If your signature item is Cinnamon rolls and you run out at 7AM, whats the turn around time for replenishing that item. In the beginning you don't know what you don't know. But, you can think about what you don't know before you open your business. The logistics of knowing will help insure that you will not fall shot and have people walk out of your bakery without getting what they came for. You also need to watch out for over hiring and pissing off employees that thought they had a job longer then 3 weeks. You may need to hire some key people and part time people that lets you cut them back to part time after the busy weeks are done. December will be busy, but, January could be dead. Most restaurants go through Hell in January because everyone is worn out and ate to much in December. Running a good quality operation doesn't just happen, it's planned...
     
  7. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Ditto. I owned a small town business for twelve years and can attest to this. In my experience (and watching other businesses over the years), you will be busy when you first open. It will drop off after a couple of months, not to mention the dreaded January as previously mentioned by ChefBillyB. I dealt with dreaded January for 12 years with no respite.

    It is better to open initially with an abbreviated schedule and add as you go. I say for a few reasons.

    One, it will keep your operational budget to a smaller number. A lot of people will tell you that more hours means more sales. To a degree this is true, but when new, the public interest will be there and they will make it a point to get there when you are open. If it is more difficult to access you due to limited hours, they still will, so no real loss of business. Plus the difficulty encountered, will translate in people's minds as you are THE place to go. It may not seem to make sense, but we talking human behavior, it doesn't have to make sense :~)

    The second reason for starting off abbreviated, is because it is better to add employees as you go rather than to lay them off. Laying off employees will generate hard feelings and start gossip that the business is not doing so well. Both hard feelings and gossip, travel way fast in a small area.

    Word of mouth advertising (gossip) can be your best ally or your worst enemy.
     
  8. matt tieken

    matt tieken

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    There are so many things to think about and so many decisions to be made.
     
  9. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Matt, better today then Dec 1st....When you have a Grand opening you want to "Fail Safe" two things, customer service and quality. You can hire employees to cover job positions. You can also have friends and family members do some of the easier/ nonessential jobs like cleaning tables, emptying garbage/ helping restock, backing up and keeping the coffee station clean and so on. You may ask how long should we do this "Fail safe" approach to opening the business. The answer is " When you can stop". Everyday your open you wife will learn and be more comfortable with the operation. As the operation gets more comfortable her employees will be able to handle more. Labor isn't a luxury it's a necessity to run the business successfully. Once you get past a certain point you will have answers to all these questions. Right now just worry about getting the design down correctly. The labor and reasoning for the amount needed will come later. I think you got the drift of whats involved in opening the business labor wise.......Take care........ChefBillyB