If you’re looking for a small business with growth potential and you love to bake, learn how to become a baker. Even with franchises and corporate baked goods factories seemingly everywhere, most people would prefer to go to a local bakery for their breads, cookies, cakes, and other baked treats, because of the quality and superior taste of local bakery products.
Learning how to become a baker is hard work, and it won’t be easy to compete with supermarkets and other big businesses, but plenty of local bakeries have thrived for years, so success is very possible, if you’re willing to do what it takes.
What You’ll Need to Succeed as a Baker
While it is possible to begin at home to become a baker, the standards set by the health department are often much higher than a person can maintain in a home kitchen. Commercial grade ovens, mixers and other equipment will be necessary to produce enough product to make the business worthwhile. For these reasons, opening a retail bakery location makes a lot of sense, even though it will cost more in the beginning.
Profit margins can be tight in the baking business, so controlling waste and having a good head for business is necessary. Hold off on hiring employees for as long as you can, but don’t sacrifice service to save on payroll. One of the hardest part of running a bakery is determining how much of each product to make. You don’t want to get a reputation for always running out of popular items, but you don’t want to make so much that you end up wasting it. It will take time to strike a balance and get the hang of it.
A standard business license, as well as a permit to operate a food business will be required in most areas. Regular health inspections are the norm, and in some cities your health inspection grade will be displayed on your window, so be sure your operation is in tip top shape and always clean and sanitary.
Finding the right location for your bakery is critical. A downtown location is great, because people walking by your store will smell what’s baking and be drawn to you. If you are in a business district, consider offering a morning special, like free coffee with the purchase of a Danish. Also think about adding lunch items to your menu to draw the lunch crowd.
How to Market Yourself as a Baker
Once you learn how to become a baker and have found a great location, you won’t be able to rely solely on passers by coming in on impulse. You will need to find creative ways to market your business. Word of mouth can take you far, once you are established, but at first, you have to give people a reason to come in.
Throw a huge grand opening celebration, with free baked goods of all sorts and coffee and other beverages. Try to get some press coverage for your event by sending press releases to all the local news outlets.
Also consider creating some flyers and walking around to businesses in the area, offering a free cookie and dropping off a flyer wherever you go. Some offices might ask you to cater meeting and such, and you can add additional revenue by offering local delivery as well.
If you are already great at baking, learning how to become a baker for money is just a matter of the business side of the business. Once you’re as good at that as you are at creating delicious baked goods, becoming successful is a piece of cake!