What are the main challenges of owning a bakery?
Many kids answer “baker” when asked what they want to be when they grow up. To a kid, it can be hard to imagine a job better than daily being surrounded by delicious donuts and mouth-watering muffins. Owning a bakery isn’t exactly a piece of cake all the time. It comes with many challenges. Some of our readers shared the challenges they see bakery owners facing. Keep reading to find out whether these challenges seem worth it, or if they sound easy as pie.
Tracy Mattson is a professionally trained pastry chef and owner of COOKIE…take a bite!
Retaining Staff and Product Freshness
Staff and product freshness are the main challenges I have found in owning a bakery. I have found it takes at least three months to have a staff member fully trained. Keeping staff on board is tough in this tight job market time. We offer health care and above-living wages to ensure our full-time employees are invested. Part-time has been more challenging as we don’t have as much to offer besides a competitive wage and free cookies.
The other issue in owning a bakery is always having fresh items on the counter. It is a challenge to decide if something should be carried over to the next day, especially if it has been a slow day and you are sitting on a lot of inventory.
In the rare instance I do carry a flavor over to the next day, I always feel conflicted. We don’t taste any significant difference; otherwise, we wouldn’t have it available, but we run the risk of turning off a customer. If the customer isn’t wowed by our cookies they won’t return. We have to weigh where we lose money: on the inventory or the lost customer. We have decided it isn’t worth the risk of turning off a customer so we have partnered with a local food insecurity nonprofit that picks up our day-old cookies and distributes them to their clients. A better win-win scenario.
Stay Profitable Satisfying Customers
The main challenge of owning a bakery is the sheer volume of work that must be done. There are so many different elements to consider, from baking and decorating to marketing and customer service.
In addition to all of the logistical challenges, many ethical considerations must be made when running a business. For example, if you own a bakery that serves food with high-calorie content (such as cakes), then you may want to speak with your customers about their health and diet before they eat your baked treats. If you own a bakery that sells gluten-free products, then you need to make sure your employees know how much care goes into keeping those foods safe for those who have Celiac disease or other food allergies.
In addition to all of these issues, the biggest challenge becomes how do we keep this business going? How do we make enough money? How do we stay profitable while still making sure that our customers are satisfied?
Preparing Large Orders
It’s hard to find employees. There are a lot of people who want to work in bakeries, but not everyone can do it. If you’re looking for someone who is willing and able to work long hours, then you might want to consider hiring someone who has previous experience running a bakery.
You need to be on top of your inventory. You need to be able to keep track of what’s in stock at all times so that if someone asks for something, you can tell them what they need and where it’s located.
You have to be able to handle large orders quickly and efficiently, which means having different kinds of equipment (like ovens) that allow you to make different kinds of food quickly without spending too much time cleaning them or having them break down often.
Stiff Competition for Slim Profits
As far as I’m aware, competing with other bakeries is the main problem a bakery confronts.
Being unique will help you stand out from the crowd. Making something no one else creates is sometimes necessary to achieve this. Doing things better is sometimes the only option. Many degrees of compliance must be continuously satisfied. The profit margins are often quite slim. Even if materials may be purchased at wholesale prices, their cost is still considerable. The working environment is not always pleasant.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.