is it possible to do a pastry/baking business by yourself

53
7
Joined Oct 9, 2017
I'm just curious if it possible to run a pastry/baking business of any kind on your own plus a cashier? but basically do the baking/pastry making yourself only

is it possible?

this is probably a stupid question to ask lol :p
 
658
276
Joined Sep 26, 2017
It is. I'm doing it.

I run the whole kitchen by myself, but there're a few others supporting me with stuff outside of the kitchen.
 
658
276
Joined Sep 26, 2017
It's a made to order retail kind. I also supply restaurants without a pastry kitchen.

I use quite a bit of technology and machinery to help with the production. For example, I have a retarder for my breads, I have a blast chiller for my pies, and I have a dehydrator for my meringues.

I wouldn't be able to survive doing everything the old school way for sure.
 
2,479
762
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Everything and anything is possible. Every food serve I took over from other companies were done with half the labor that the previous company had. That being said, things just don't happen, they're planned. If your going to have a pastry shop you also may want a specialty coffee to go along with it. You may also want a fresh juice bar. There's much more to worry about than the amount of labor you need. You need to figure what will entice people to come into your pastry shop in the first place. Good customer service don't happen with your staff running around with their heads cut off. A pastry shop means, people stopping in while on their way to work. People don't want to wait for any reason while going to work, dropping the kids off from school or anything else. If you only offer pastries you shouldn't expect people to stop at your shop and then go someplace else to get their morning coffee. Whats going to make me stop at your shop ???????

Think about what items will be in your showcase. Think about how much work it takes on a daily basis to fill and maintain that showcase. Think about what you'll be doing while the morning rush is in the shop. IMHO, you should think about having a cashier come in early to set up the pastry showcase. You should have a helper to do all the minor things in the BOH. You should never waste your time on things someone else can do. You should be the person that puts the quality in the business. You don't need to waste your time putting the quantity in the business.

If you think this way, you'll be able to be at the counter meeting, greeting and assisting your customers. You should work the area thats making you the money. No one will promote your business better than you will. Customers will come back because your there.........Give us more info on your plan.......ChefBillyB
 
5,507
946
Joined Oct 10, 2005
I did it for ten years. But remember this:

Sales is more important than production.

A cashier is fine, but you won't make any money unless someone goes out and gets business.

In my case, it was my partner who did sales, admin, and cashiering. I did all production, all maintainence, all ordering, and all cleaning. We specialized in wholesale chocolate bars, had also had a storefront/cappuccino and fine pastries, but that never made any money, it was the wholesale that made money.

Short answer, you don't need a cashier, you need a partner.
 
53
7
Joined Oct 9, 2017
It's a made to order retail kind. I also supply restaurants without a pastry kitchen.

I use quite a bit of technology and machinery to help with the production. For example, I have a retarder for my breads, I have a blast chiller for my pies, and I have a dehydrator for my meringues.

I wouldn't be able to survive doing everything the old school way for sure.

yeah thats understandable not doing everything old school way... thats pretty cool

you are making decent profit/money as a one person business? I assumed wholesale side is your bread and butter comparing to regular customer/retail.

How does your customers deal with "made to order" aspect knowing they can't just randomly walk in and buy something like most typical bakery or pastry shop?

Do you have a website that show what you are selling?

I did it for ten years. But remember this:

Sales is more important than production.

A cashier is fine, but you won't make any money unless someone goes out and gets business.

In my case, it was my partner who did sales, admin, and cashiering. I did all production, all maintainence, all ordering, and all cleaning. We specialized in wholesale chocolate bars, had also had a storefront/cappuccino and fine pastries, but that never made any money, it was the wholesale that made money.

Short answer, you don't need a cashier, you need a partner.

I guess cashier is a bad word for it lol ... I was thinking of my mother to take on the role because she is retired a couple months ago as an accountant

She knows how to deal with customers and businesses unlike me plus she got accounting experience to do some admin stuffs

since you specialized in wholesale chocolate bars and that is your bread and butter unlike your storefront... is it better to just get a space in a industrial area for cheap rent and do a specialized or niche product and sell them wholesale?

Everything and anything is possible. Every food serve I took over from other companies were done with half the labor that the previous company had. That being said, things just don't happen, they're planned. If your going to have a pastry shop you also may want a specialty coffee to go along with it. You may also want a fresh juice bar. There's much more to worry about than the amount of labor you need. You need to figure what will entice people to come into your pastry shop in the first place. Good customer service don't happen with your staff running around with their heads cut off. A pastry shop means, people stopping in while on their way to work. People don't want to wait for any reason while going to work, dropping the kids off from school or anything else. If you only offer pastries you shouldn't expect people to stop at your shop and then go someplace else to get their morning coffee. Whats going to make me stop at your shop ???????

Think about what items will be in your showcase. Think about how much work it takes on a daily basis to fill and maintain that showcase. Think about what you'll be doing while the morning rush is in the shop. IMHO, you should think about having a cashier come in early to set up the pastry showcase. You should have a helper to do all the minor things in the BOH. You should never waste your time on things someone else can do. You should be the person that puts the quality in the business. You don't need to waste your time putting the quantity in the business.

If you think this way, you'll be able to be at the counter meeting, greeting and assisting your customers. You should work the area thats making you the money. No one will promote your business better than you will. Customers will come back because your there.........Give us more info on your plan.......ChefBillyB

this is a good read, thanks

not much info on my plan yet ... just initial stage to see if it possible to do the kitchen by myself and what product(s) are the best with low labour extensive and profitable
 
3,233
670
Joined May 5, 2010
Everything and anything is possible. Every food serve I took over from other companies were done with half the labor that the previous company had. That being said, things just don't happen, they're planned. If your going to have a pastry shop you also may want a specialty coffee to go along with it. You may also want a fresh juice bar. There's much more to worry about than the amount of labor you need. You need to figure what will entice people to come into your pastry shop in the first place. Good customer service don't happen with your staff running around with their heads cut off. A pastry shop means, people stopping in while on their way to work. People don't want to wait for any reason while going to work, dropping the kids off from school or anything else. If you only offer pastries you shouldn't expect people to stop at your shop and then go someplace else to get their morning coffee. Whats going to make me stop at your shop ???????

Think about what items will be in your showcase. Think about how much work it takes on a daily basis to fill and maintain that showcase. Think about what you'll be doing while the morning rush is in the shop. IMHO, you should think about having a cashier come in early to set up the pastry showcase. You should have a helper to do all the minor things in the BOH. You should never waste your time on things someone else can do. You should be the person that puts the quality in the business. You don't need to waste your time putting the quantity in the business.

If you think this way, you'll be able to be at the counter meeting, greeting and assisting your customers. You should work the area thats making you the money. No one will promote your business better than you will. Customers will come back because your there.........Give us more info on your plan.......ChefBillyB

I agree with this very much. The main thing is organization, planning, detail and financial controls.
 

chefpeon

Kitchen Dork
788
205
Joined Jun 15, 2006
There isn't one baker or pastry chef who I know who has embarked on the "singlehanded pastry shop" concept and did not completely burn out in a few years. Sure it's possible, but the big question is, is it sustainable? No matter how much you love what you do, the kind of commitment and time it takes to run a pastry shop will take a toll. Most recent example is an acquaintance of mine in the Seattle area, Neil Robertson, a James Beard winner, who opened Crumble and Flake. Huge lines out his door every morning and he'd sell out by 10 am. He did most everything himself in the bakery and the popularity and the positive write ups and coverage by the press about how wonderful his pastries were never waned. But he could only sustain it for 5 years. He sold his business, and as far as I know, he hasn't reappeared in the pastry world since. He's taking a much deserved break. http://www.seattlemag.com/eat-and-drink/crumble-flake-patisserie-sold-new-owner
 
3
3
Joined Mar 19, 2018
Doing all of the baking yourself long-term is not sustainable if the business grows to a certain point, but if you can be profitable at a smaller scale then it's possible. Some places are content to stay small and there are places out there with a really tiny staff (3-4 people) that do just fine. Your hours of operation will be the main driving force in how much staff you will need, and your location will play a big role in what your hours of operation will be. Is the location bustling in the morning, afternoon, evening? How is it on Sundays? Mondays? These are questions that have to be answered before you can determine the size of your staff. If you want to run a place downtown and have it open every day from 7am-7pm, then you will need a bigger staff. You would need a day crew and a night crew. If, on the other hand, you want to run a little mom and pop type operation then your hours would have to be different and your staff would be smaller. Long-term sustainability is what separates the businesses that are still going from the businesses that no longer exist. Do not burn yourself out. Hire help, but don't let them burn out either. Other than that, make sure you have a good location, a good concept, and a good product.
 
2,180
653
Joined Oct 31, 2012
To the excellent views already expressed I'll just say that nothing ever happens single handedly. For everyone ever noted for doing anything in any field, there were lots of other people who played supporting roles in some way.
Think ahead, plan ahead. The baking is simply product manufacturing. Running the business is the rest of it.
 
5,507
946
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Hi Jesse D. .....

A bakery is not a restaurant, and I can recall of no bakery that didn't do at least 60% of its sales with wholesales. The bakeries that do a lot of walk-in business usually have a coffee shop as well, which means an espresso machine and some kind of barista, which is not what the o.p. has in mind

It is far, far easier and much cheaper to open and run a wholesale bakery than it is to open one that relies on walk in traffic, and that means that location ( and the corresponding rent) are not a high priority.

In order to set up such a bakery--and secure the financing for it--you need to have a good grasp of the local market, and confidence in getting contracts or sales from local businesses before the lease is signed.

In order to do the above you need to have worked in the industry for a reasonable length of time, and have some kind of partnership with the sales person who bring in the money you need.

A well run bakery thrives on volume, and volume relies on sales.
 
3
3
Joined Mar 19, 2018
Hi Jesse D. .....

A bakery is not a restaurant, and I can recall of no bakery that didn't do at least 60% of its sales with wholesales. The bakeries that do a lot of walk-in business usually have a coffee shop as well, which means an espresso machine and some kind of barista, which is not what the o.p. has in mind

It is far, far easier and much cheaper to open and run a wholesale bakery than it is to open one that relies on walk in traffic, and that means that location ( and the corresponding rent) are not a high priority.

In order to set up such a bakery--and secure the financing for it--you need to have a good grasp of the local market, and confidence in getting contracts or sales from local businesses before the lease is signed.

In order to do the above you need to have worked in the industry for a reasonable length of time, and have some kind of partnership with the sales person who bring in the money you need.

A well run bakery thrives on volume, and volume relies on sales.

I know bakeries that are successful and do 0% of their sales with wholesale. Two bakeries that I go to regularly do not do wholesale, they happen to be located on the same street in an area with a ton of foot traffic. They are both very small operations and their kitchens and staffs are too small to meet the demand of wholesale, they're busy enough as it is. They are take-out only as well, no tables and have cheap little coffee machines. Furthermore, the most popular bakery in my neighbourhood actually had to quit doing wholesale because they became overwhelmed, and decided to focus entirely on walk-in customers. Their location has terrible foot traffic (although it has great parking) but they're so popular that they've become a destination location. So no, wholesale is not necessary. I know a few other successful bakeries in my city (Ottawa) that do not do wholesale. I also know some who only do wholesale, and some who do both. Your business does not have to fit one particular model to be successful. If your location doesn't have great foot traffic, then wholesale makes perfect sense.
 

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