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I aspire to become a pastry chef and to own a bakery, what are tips for starting and running a successful business?

I am twenty-three years of age and I have a had a burning passion to enter the culinary world ever since I was a child. Owning my own business is one of my dreams after getting some more hands on experience. What would be some good advice/tips to running a successful bakery?

business chef baking pastery # cooking # entrepreneur culinary # culinary-arts


It is great that you are passionate about opening a bakery. I've been a pastry chef for 10 years and from what I've learned working with others, there are many aspects to consider. Having the skill and passion will allow you to maintain a strong customer base, however, its important to reach as many people as possible. I took finance classes along with my pastry to allow me to handle the business side as well. Other important factors are businesses in the area. If your location is near a number of high employee businesses, offering catering options could allow you to have repeat accounts of large volume that can really help you prosper. I believe the ability to also have a solid lunch menu(feature your breads and savory pastries with sandwiches for example) is another way to grow James Look

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Naomi’s Answer

My advice to you is to make sure you have some good business, project management, culinary, and entrepreneurial classes under your belt. This will afford you the opportunity to then strengthen your knowledge-base to create and manage a very good business plan and follow through on a successful business model. You may also want to first work as an apprentice within a local bakery to learn the in's and outs of what it looks and feels like to run a bakery successful and gain first hand customer service management skills to hone the craft of excellent customer service and communication skills.

Take other online courses to practice your culinary skills, and do some research to find your "niche" of what would your bakery could offer that you are truly passionate about and that stands-out from the others, to catch your customers attention. Have you thought of taking it to the next level with crafting a skill as a 3D Pastry Chef? :-) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/dining/pastry-chefs-architecture.html and https://pastryartsmag.com/trends/the-rise-of-3d-pastries/ and https://thespoon.tech/3d-food-printing-hasnt-really-taken-off-this-3d-printing-exec-turned-pastry-chef-hopes-to-change-that/

Focus on a "visual marketing brand" to build your online social media presence and this will also build your visual credibility over time.

Good Luck,

Naomi Harm

Naomi recommends the following next steps:

Invest in online culinary course - checkout free Coursera course here https://www.coursera.org/courses?query=cooking
Take business, project management, customer services courses to improve budgeting, management and communication skill sets.
Work in a local bakery to learn the craft and skill of what is working and what may need improvements.
Discover and identify your pastry chef niche that makes you stand out
Add a tech enhanced element of a 3D pastry chef technique to make you stand out from the rest.

Thank you, Naomi for the quick and very helpful response. I will gladly take the tools and resources you have provided for me. Jyssica J.

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Katherine’s Answer

I'd make sure to have a clear vision for your business and do/have something that sets you apart from the competition!
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James’s Answer

It is great that you are passionate about opening a bakery. I've been a pastry chef for 10 years and from what I've learned working with others who have had their own bakeries, there are many aspects to consider. Having the skill and passion will allow you to maintain a strong repeat customer base, however nowadays, its important to reach as many people as possible. I took finance classes along with my pastry training to allow me to handle the business side as well. Other important factors are businesses in the area. If your location is near a number of high employee businesses, offering catering options could allow you to have repeat accounts of large volume that can really help you prosper. I believe the ability to also have a solid lunch menu(feature your breads and savory pastries with sandwiches for example) is another way to boost your success.
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Sharhonda’s Answer

My advice is to make sure you have a great team around you. You don't have to be great at everything involved in running a bakery but make sure you have people that are good in the areas you need help. For a while you may find yourself doing more of the day-to-day business tasks than baking so make sure you're ok with that. If that's not something you're comfortable with consider working in a bakery and learning the business side and time management from someone who is already doing it. Be sure to take notes on the things they do well and not so well, sometimes we learn more from failure than success. Good luck!
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David’s Answer

Learn from the best and raise a good chunk of money to start. You don't want to run out of funds while you are getting the business up and running.
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David’s Answer

Learn from the best and raise a good chunk of money to start. You don't want to run out of funds while you are getting the business up and running.
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Nancy’s Answer

Definitely shadow or spend time in a bakery, so you can be sure you can invest your time and money into this area. It's one thing to love to bake for family and friends. It's another thing to do it every day, all day for people you don't know.

Every successful entrepreneur has a clear FOCUS. Don't try to do and be everything at once. Start small and specific before expanding broader.
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Ada Indira’s Answer

You have the most important thing, the passion.

Next step, create your business model. I recommend Business Model Canvas, it is simple and will help you to create your value proposition, define your market segment, costs, etc.

Look for a mentor or for a entrepreneurship seminar or class. That will give you a better understanding of how to get started.

Learn project management foundations: how to create your plan, how to gather requirements for your business, how to prioritize work and estimate resources. This will lead you to a good execution of your business.
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Latricia’s Answer

Talk to the owner of a bakery!
Start with your favorite - ask about why they started, what are the joys of the business, what are the difficulties, and how they would do it differently knowing what they know now.
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Luke’s Answer

There are a lot of great suggestions here but I think this one is the best. People over-look the vision because they do not understand it. Let me explain.

Anyone can learn to manage a business ledge. Anyone can keep track of an inventory. YOU can bake, and that's wonderful. But what will set you apart is your passion, not for just baking, but for why YOU are baking. The vision statement is a way to communicate your specific passion to your employees. This way every customer who interacts with any employee, will receive the same experience as if they were interacting with you. In the economy we live in, that passion is what will dictate success or failure.
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Blake’s Answer

Hey Jyssica,

I would recommend finding a local business, preferably in the food industry, and work there for a while. This will allow you to see first hand what struggles they have and you can build your own business strategy around that.

Thanks,
Blake
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Nancy’s Answer

Definitely shadow or spend time in a bakery, so you can be sure you can invest your time and money into this area. It's one thing to love to bake for family and friends. It's another thing to do it every day, all day for people you don't know.

Every successful entrepreneur has a clear FOCUS. Don't try to do and be everything at once. Start small and specific before expanding broader.
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Updated Translate

Ada Indira’s Answer

You have the most important thing, the passion.

Next step, create your business model. I recommend Business Model Canvas, it is simple and will help you to create your value proposition, define your market segment, costs, etc.

Look for a mentor or for a entrepreneurship seminar or class. That will give you a better understanding of how to get started.

Learn project management foundations: how to create your plan, how to gather requirements for your business, how to prioritize work and estimate resources. This will lead you to a good execution of your business.
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Sam’s Answer

General tips for running a successful business:
- make sure your product is differentiated from your competition in some way
- 'White glove' exceptional customer service, that is ingrained in the culture of your business (meaning very employee you hire demonstrates this). Doesn't matter if your bakery is retail or wholesale, treat your customers like gold and make sure they know you are thankful for their business. Use a CRM system to capture information on your customers, track their purchases, communicate with them, etc.
- A solid business plan that includes a financial budget that estimates money coming in and money going out (many startups don't do this)
- Network and form good relationships with other business owners in your community, business owners help other business owners

Good luck!
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Jennifer’s Answer

There are some terrific answers here already. What I would recommend is that you consider some basic business courses or something like an "MBA in a Day." Sadly, even the best pastry chefs can lose a business by not properly understanding their rent, utilities, food and labor costs. By taking the time to understand how to build your business (expenses, revenue, profit)- your pastries will fly off the shelf!
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