Commercial kitchen for cookies?

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by brooksms, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. CBake03

    CBake03

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    I did what you did. And I have to tell you I WISH MORE THAN ANYTHING I stayed home. We used all our own money so we did it "debt free". There is SO MUCH on the commercial side you cant even begin to fathom. I've been in the cookie game for 7 years and have large accounts. I do cookies for NFL teams, Home builders, Fortune 500 companies, etc. My building is only 1,900 SQFT and in an industrial park (not open to the public) and as much as I LOVE what I do. Im tired. Im tired of it already. I am being forced to expand my menu to accommodate the cost of staying open. And just because something seems like it will be a quick move in like this building it wont be. The city/health department is a finicky beast. Just because it was approved for the previous tenant doesn't mean it will be approved for you. Our plumbing alone for the grease trap and etc was a little over $9k. Dont even get me started on the vent hood price. Cookies are how I make money and I made GOOD money at home. I had the same problems you occurred. wanting to sell in stores, shipping, etc. And now I just wish I kept it at home. Decorated cookies are a labor intensive. No matter how you look at it. There are long days and nights. I still work long into the night but instead of being in my comfy home im up here. Think of how many cookies you have to sell to make the rent payment on a 3,000 SQFT building. You will be forced to do that every month. not including Insurance, Machinery you are financing, Electric bills ( Mine are around $465 a month) Dumpster bill, phone bill, Ingredients, packaging, etc. I literally take home NO MONEY every month. Im counting down the months until i can get out of the lease. You seem determined and I was too, But Put the pen to paper and do the math first. I did and it wasn't realistic and now im paying the price. As far as ovens I have 2 blodgett 3 phase electric ovens. They do just fine and i can cook around 300 cookies in about 12 mins. I have 2 - 20qt mixers and making bigger batches wasnt an issue at all! It was a lot smoother than I thought.
     
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  2. brooksms

    brooksms

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    Thank you & the previous comments for your insight! Luckily selling enough to make rent isn't a concern. There are still other expenses of course but risk is very minimal in my situation. Again, it's a long story but to be honest I likely would be doing everything from home if I could. It's not an option unfortunately! Whether your numbers were realistic or not, I think the attempt is commendable. I'd rather try and fail than sit around wondering what could've been, you know? I wish I had industry experience beforehand but the timing didn't work out that way. My main concerns are making a consistent quality product while being time efficient and knowing how many orders I can take on at once. It's good to know you didn't have issues with making larger batches! I may test one at a nearby commercial kitchen to see what happens before shopping. There are also a ton of small tidbits I wish I knew off hand such as the best way to store bulk brown sugar etc. These details are common knowledge for those in the industry but the information doesn't seem to be published to learn otherwise. It's tough!
     
  3. azenjoys

    azenjoys

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    For what it's worth, King Arthur hosts a 4 day class that might be a good jumping off point for you.. here's the description..

    Setting Up A Successful Bakery 4-day class with Jeffrey Hamelman
    Norwich, Vermont

    If you’ve always dreamed of opening a small bakery, this revamped class will help. Learn all aspects of beginning an artisan operation, from what equipment to buy to how to write a business plan. Students will have the opportunity to mix and bake products to understand the choices involved in product and equipment selection, costing and market assessment. Specific topics include: bakery layout, equipment selection, product selection, cost control, market assessment, business plans, and management plans. We've updated the class to add an extra day with an increased focus on business planning and bakery layout. Lunch included daily.

    October 29-November 1, 2018, 9 am - 5 pm daily

    April 29 - May 2, 9 am - 5 pm daily
     
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  4. jcakes

    jcakes

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    Taking that class listed above is going to be your quickest way to gain the knowledge you want. The only other suggestion I would have is to visit a restaurant supply house that also does kitchen projects - you'll pay them to design your kitchen and they will suggest equipment you have to have (e.g. grease trap, dish sink, oven, refrigeration, ventilation, fire suppression, etc) which is specific to the town you are operating in; equipment that's nice to have (dishwasher but it has to be vented) and equipment you would lust after (revolving rack oven). what kind of oven you get has a lot to do with what you are making. Cookies are ok in a convection oven; and while you can bake cakes/cupcakes in a convection oven the quality of the bake is better in a conventional oven. Don't forget about transportation - will you need a refrigerated van?

    We can all type lengthy messages but it won't help you because it's just words on a page. What I learned my first year in business was astronomical; I'd never worked in a commercial bakery before (I spent time in my friend's bakery so I had an idea of layout and equipment) but I shared space for the first 14 years I was in business; I have my own space now but am still renting. I do not want to own a building, I don't need the additional hassle of building maintenance on top of running a business.

    If there are no bakeries near you, go check out the supermarket bakery and see if they'll give you a tour (probably not because of insurance liability if you slip). The layout will be different depending on where your ventilation goes, where the cooler goes (because of roof access for the condenser unit) - get a pro to help you design the space. See what your town's health dept requires if there is a change in ownership of the building/business. The process could take a year (it did for me. I found my current space in March, signed a lease in Sept and moved in in January once construction was finished. Mind you, I had an architect working on designing the space since June when it was clear that the landlord and I were on the same page about renting the space.

    Good luck. The road ahead is long and arduous; be prepared.
     
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  5. granola girl

    granola girl

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  6. jcakes

    jcakes

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    Based on personal experience with my local Restaurant Depot, I would not trust them to design a kitchen. Their equipment staff might be knowledgeable about it or they might be new and just learning. Here in MA, there's a place called United Restaurant that sells everything you need for a commercial kitchen and you can hire them to design your kitchen or take a quick look at your plan/blueprint and see if there's anything you're missing. I would look for a place like that before RD. There might also be a used equipment dealer who offers a design consultation program; just find out what kind of experience they have. I used such a place to replace my cooler panels and when I told them the condenser/compressor size they still didn't take that into consideration and now I have a cooler that's too small for that. Eventually I will replace it but I'm still really annoyed that they didn't take that into consideration when I told them to.

    Sometimes your design is going to get hijacked by the layout of the building or space you're going into: as in; I had to put my ovens/hood/fire suppression at the back corner of the space because that's where the roof access was going to be easiest (they already had AC units for the rest of the tenants up there); my walk in cooler ended up on the opposite wall from where I wanted it because I had to put in a second hand sink and it was easier/cheaper to do it along the wall with the rest of the plumbing from the dish sinks/mop sink. I ended up burying the 100# grease trap (size required by the town) in the floor of the janitor's closet so I could have more floor space.

    You probably already know more than you think, to be honest. Look at your work flow - where do you spend most of your time walking to/from? Do you need your packaging to be right near your production? How much are you doing in dishes (do you need an automatic dishwasher? would it save you time and the expense of another employee? Another employee when not doing dishes can be doing other things....) What does it look like to get deliveries? Easy access or do they have to navigate stairs? PM if you want to chat details :)