A trip to the bakery is always a treat. If you’ve ever thought about opening your own, our tips will help you make your sweet dreams a reality.
Few things are more charming than a local bakery. The small bell at the door announcing your arrival. Glass-lined counters lined with homemade treats glistening with sugar. The warm smell of fresh-baked bread.
However, any professional baker will tell you that a lot of hard work goes into cultivating this setting for customers. Our tips for starting a successful bakery will help you keep your bakery dreams sugary sweet.
Doing the Prep Work
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” and this is true in all business ventures, especially bakeries. Taking these preparatory steps will give your bakery a firm foundation:
- Have a vision. Know what kind of bakery you want to open. Will you be a counter-only bakery? Or will you do catering and online orders as well?
- Create a business plan. As a new business owner, you will receive a lot of feedback about your finances and business direction. Having a plan will keep you focused during that turbulent first year.
- Know the legality: Food businesses require a lot of legal logistics, such as permits, licensing, and sanitation, and the specifics may differ depending on your city and state.
If you haven’t already, see if you can spend time working or volunteering in a bakery before you start your own. This way, you’ll get firsthand exposure to the business side of things.
Finding the Space and Equipment
When you are looking for a building to house your bakery, you’ll want a space that will accommodate your business’s needs. For instance, a bakery-café will need much more front-of-the-house space than a counter bakery. Additionally, you will need a space that can house the necessary equipment, such as:
- Commercial mixers
- Industrial refrigerators
- Holding and proofing cabinets
- Industrial dishwashers
When you procure your bakery equipment, ask the manufacturers or salespeople to recommend foodservice equipment repair services. Having these numbers from the beginning will save you time if they break down later.
Creating the Menu
But all the good planning, excellent venues, and great equipment in the world won’t help you start a successful bakeryif you don’t have a solid selection of delectable goodies to offer. When you’re creating your menu, keep these ideas in mind:
- Identify strong recipes you already have.
- Balance your menu between crowd-pleasing standards like cookies and out-of-the-box specialties that will set your bakery apart.
- Consider offering gluten- and dairy-free options for those with dietary constraints.
- Think about adding a few savory options to your menu, like quiche or hearty bread.
- Add baked goods to your menu from multiple cultures, such as paczkis, conchas, mooncakes, and challah bread.
Remember: your recipes are one of your greatest assets, so guard them carefully. Make sure you have multiple print and digital copies both at home and at the bakery itself.