Business and Operations
Concepts for Success: Reality check Part 2
By Diane Chiasson
This article is the second in my series on what you need to consider when opening a bakery.
By Diane Chiasson
So you really want to open up your very own bakery? Welcome to part 2 of my opening a bakery business reality checklist. Once you have decided what type of bakery you want to run, got the proper business legal papers, permits, and licences, as well as your business plan together (part 1), it’s time to think of the equipment, display cases, and packaging that you will need.
1. Equipment financing
As part of your bakery’s business plan, you must conduct thorough market research on the type of equipment you will need to make sure that all of your bases are covered. You first need to know how much space you will have for your bakery equipment, and then you have to prepare a list of equipment and supplies needed to make all of your baked goods, as well as finding out the associated cost. Here is a list below to help you figure out which option is right for your bakery needs.
Commercial ovens: Before you buy or lease commercial ovens, make sure that you know how many ovens you will need for all the types and quantity of bakery products you will be producing. Ovens vary considerably in price and quality. The heart of any bakery is its oven. Don’t just get any run-of-the-mill oven. This is the most critical piece of equipment that you will need. Ensure you purchase the right ovens and get the best for your money.
There are many types of commercial bakery ovens such as convection, deck, roll-in rack, and revolving. You should keep in mind that you will need even heating, it to be airtight, self-cleaning, and almost always have a ventilation hood. Some may include proofing and deck ovens. Look for energy-efficient equipment; it will help you cut costs on your utility bill and it’s better for the environment. Don’t forget to discuss warranties and return policies. Last but not least, try to deal with a bakery manufacturer and supplier who has a qualified and professional team of bakery engineers on staff. This will ensure that you get access to the best information and high quality equipment available in the marketplace.
Baking equipment: There are various types of mixers, including floor, cake and dough mixers. You will need a few tabletop and hand mixers, and some larger commercial floor mixers if you anticipate a high volume of baked goods. You will also need dough dividers and sheeters, holding and proofing cabinets, commercial walk-in refrigerators and freezers or reach-in, and undercounter units, chillers, retarder/proofer, food processor or chopper, slicer, and a few sturdy work tables.
Smallwares: In addition to ovens, refrigerators and mixers, there are other smaller items that you will need to buy such as baking sheets and cooling multi-levelled shelving racks. A variety of baking tins for muffins and cupcakes, pans, baking sheets and trays for pies, cakes, loaves, springforms, and breads, as well as a good selection of metal cutters, dough cutters/scrapers, sifters, mixing bowls, decorating equipment ingredient and storage bins, scales, packaging paper, and all kind of baking utensils.
Storage and display cases: You will also have to think of what kind of storage you will need for your bakery. The last thing you need is to find spoiled ingredients in your bakery, and this is why you have to invest in some storage bins or units to keep all your ingredients safe and free from spoilage.
In terms of bakery display cases, as you know, presentation is key to attracting customers. You want to buy the best display cases in order to show off your bakery items, and how you display your bakery products will make or break a sale. You will have to consider refrigerated and non-refrigerated styles, depending on the type of bakery products you plan on selling. Remember to choose a display case with a good lighting system. Proper lighting display cases will not only increase the visibility of your products but will attract more customers. You also need to consider whether you want a self-serve display case or one where customers will be served from behind the counter.
2. Get good quality packaging… but wait… don’t print yet!
Once you have done your research on what type of equipment you should buy for your bakery, you need to consider good quality packaging options. Packaging is not only essential as a way to protect your bakery goods from damage, but it will also help promote your bakery’s brand. Think very carefully about the size, weight, and design/composition of your bakery items.
Don’t worry if your bakery products go out in a plain white paper bag or box for a while, it’s all right. You don’t need to brand every single item in your bakery store before you open your doors. You first need to know what’s selling for a few months before having hundreds of bags, boxes and coffee cups printed. Use custom stickers or labels to decorate your bags and boxes until you really know what’s working. After a few months, and once you know the right size for each bag or box, you are now ready to maximize the marketing potential of your bakery by ordering your branded products. Don’t forget that offering eco-friendly packaging is also an excellent way to show your customers that you care about the environment.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.