Small Business: How to Open a Bakery
by Miki Markovich, via studioD |
Opening a bakery is challenging. Being passionate about baking, business and customer service should provide you the fortitude you need to navigate difficult times. Be prepared to field issues spanning accounting, human resources, management and baking techniques. Stay focused on customer experience and quality baked goods. Listen to what your customers and employees are saying.
Mike Kalupa, owner of Kalupa’s Bakery, suggests having initial funding to run the business approximately two years. If seeking loans, he recommends applying at community banks that may have a vested interest in the community instead of approaching national branches. If unable to secure financing, minimize expenses by starting small.
A location with a base of 1,000 to 2,000 families is ideal according to startabakery.com. When seeking the location, consider rent, lease terms, target market and ease of use. Ensure you familiarize yourself with lease specifics such as the option to renew.
Provide samples. If your product is top notch, you will earn repeat customers. If your product needs improving, you may receive helpful feedback. Attend community events or cooking shows to share your wares. Monitor online review sites such as Yelp and Urbanspoon. Address any issues that arise. Consider creating an informative website that accurately reflects your branding. Utilize social media such as Facebook and Twitter to engage your target audience.
Differentiate yourself from other bakeries. If your baked goods are all-natural, nut-free, egg-free, gluten-free, made by hand, certified Kosher, vegan or vegetarian inform your target demographic via marketing efforts.
Hire the right employees to minimize labor and maximize results. Be open with your staff and ask for their input. According to the author of “Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders,” Rajeev Fershawaria, people are motivated by three key factors: work environment, company role and professional growth opportunities. Hire quality employees and provide the training and support they need to be successful.
Save money where you can without jeopardizing quality. This may mean purchasing used equipment, seeking different suppliers and ordering food in smaller quantities to minimize waste.
Look at your bakery from an objective viewpoint. Evaluate whether or not it is a pleasant, convenient experience for your customer to enter, order and pay. Ensure your dining area reflects your brand and is a relaxing atmosphere to spend time. Also analyze your kitchen organization. Ensure you have ample storage space and that machinery, work areas and supplies are organized logically.