Converting old building to a bakery

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Joined Jan 31, 2012
While I've designed and built out a few commercial kitchens, I have no experience with bakeries. 

So Im foggy on what all is needed, but the codes for equipment remain basically the same. 

Generally speaking an exhaust hood and ansil type fire suppresant system is required for 

any appliance that cooks food in the open and can therefore start a grease fire.

This would include grill, range, deep fryer, flattop, and salamander broiler. 

Have you physically walked into your county heath dept office and asked for info and guidelines 

on commercial  kitchen requirements? If that doesnt work, as restaurant owners in the area--you might

be surprised at what you learn. 

You definately nee to get estimates first, because things like the hood and fore system alone can run up a 

lot of money..... so can that pesky grease trap, not to even mention the equipment and other contracted work.

My feeling on architects is that you need to present them with an already planned out kitchen, upon which they do their 

whiz bang CAD magic. Ive found that letting them try to design it isnt usually a good idea
 
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have you considered posting this question on a bakers forum like dan lepard's or the fresh loaf forums. there are a lot of pro's out there who are more likely to have experience with setting up a bakery.

especially on dan lepard's. (I used to frequent those two and came across famous names)
 
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If you need knowledge with equipment or design, go to a large restaurant equipment store.  For bakeries, try a bakery equipment store.

Your municipality HAS to provide you with what they want to see in your kitchen. Don't even start untill you know what they want, so if need be, pay them a visit.  Most municipalities will require a grease trap for any commercial kitchen or bakery.  I do only chocolate and pastry, but am required to have one. You will need a hood for a griddle and any other gas fired equipment.  Many municipalities do not require a hood for electric ovens.  A hood is a major expense and most municipalities will require a mechanical engineer's drawings (and stamp) for the shaft and make-up air system design.  I repeat, a mechanical engineer, not an architect.  Hoods are a major expense.
 

kuan

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Staff member
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Nancy, my advice to you would be to just start the bakery.  A hot line built from scratch, especially one using gas, will put you back close to $50k.  You can have a simple bakery using an electric oven, a triple sink, a refrigerator, stainless counter, for far less.  Oh, and one induction burner. :)  (Edit:  also 2  stand mixers and a floor mixer)

During my junior years I did work in a tiny bakery like I just described.  We did baguettes twice a day and there were people lining up out the door just waiting for the baguettes.  We did maybe 2-4 different pastries each day and aways had a strudel, chocolate cake, 2-3 different focaccias, chocolate mousse and creme brulee.  Open six days a week it was probably 60-70 hours of actual production work.  I don't remember what kind of volume we did but it was enough for the owner to stay happy.
 
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I'm north of Boston, and my estimate for an 8' hood is $12K; the rest of the construction for a 1200 sq ft space is running about $55K.  I am currently running a 4 burner gas range with oven under and a double stack Blodgett gas convection, an 8x10 walk in, a two door reach in freezer, a 20 and a 30 qt hobart and when I first started to look at new space, the town didn't have any plans so I had to start from scratch.  You definitely need to start with your local BOH (some towns will put their requirements online, which is helpful - in my case, they specified that a grease trap had to be a minimum 100# model, and that sealed concrete floors are ok and these two pieces of info were really useful). The fire dept may cite the building code (which for me means that they don't require smoke detectors because they're only required in residences, they're optional for commercial spaces.  A C0 monitor is required though.) 

If you can't get the info you need, start with the State Food Code and call in a restaurant supply dealer to work with you and your architect as others have mentioned.  Go look at and talk to the owners of other food businesses in your town and see what they say, and look around their kitchens. 

Good luck! Keep us posted!
 
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Thank you Everyone for your good advice.  Looks like the hood is the biggest expense so I will try to avoid that if possible, I wonder if I will need it for an electric range or only for a gas range?  I have seen some pretty good deals on 4 burner range with double oven in the $2K range which doesn't seem bad.  I'm also wondering what our local requirements will be for the grease trap, that also seems like a pretty big expense.   I will contact some restaurant or bakery supply dealers to come down and make a proposal for outfitting the kitchen.  I have been getting in as many restaurant & bakery kitchens as possible lately and asking questions. 

When it comes to refrigerated pastry cases, is there any particular brand to avoid or one that's better?  The refrigerated pastry case is a pretty big expense. 

I really like the idea of starting maybe a little simpler - concentrating on the bakery and serving afternoon tea; then as I get my feet under me offering brunch; maybe fancy breakfast on Sundays.  Kuan, the range of bakery products you suggest is about what I had in mind, and I hope to get fancy cake orders too.  The nearest bakery offering quality cakes is 20 miles away. 

Thank you again! - Nance
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Yes, you will need a hood for electric ranges, most municipalties will want this as even electric ranges will produce grease laden vapours and odours and they need to be removed.

Refrigerated pastry cases:

1) Avoid used at all costs

2) Avoid gravity coil types at all costs

3)Avoid anything made with barficle board (particle board comprised of sawdust and glue), or plywood.  There are a lot of cheap N. American brands that still do this.

4) Double glazed glass is preferred.

5) remote compressors are a bit more expensive, but your front area will be quieter and cooler

6) Test out the sliding doors and shelving system at the store before you buy

Always buy the brand that has a factory rep and a authorized dealer in your area.  This is the single most important piece of advice I can give when buying ANY equipment.
 

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