As with many entrepreneurial adventures, there is no one right way to open a new bakery since you can begin the process in a few ways. However, as you consider how to start a bakery, there are a few tenets that will guide you along your way. Use the following steps to find a simple path toward building your own business while you ultimately bring your culinary vision to life:
Explore the Culinary Arts
First, start baking. Work with your teachers to develop essential skills that hone your craft. Practicing under the guidance of mentors and peers will help you produce the highest-quality pastries and bread. During this exploratory time, collect ideas, recipes and baking advice. Invest in classic baking cookbooks and visit local bakeries for your own research. Talk to people in your neighborhood to find out what they love or don't love about their current bakery options.
Hone Your Focus
As you explore the baking world, think about what will make your product different. For example, Tzurit Or of Tatte Bakery & Café in Boston created signature nut tarts that set her offerings apart from the crowd. This is the time to let your imagination run wild. Think about the style of bakery you would like to create and the products you would like to serve. Perhaps you want to set up a traditional French bakery, or maybe you would rather open a gourmet doughnut shop. There are no limits other than the ones you set for yourself.
Test It Out
See how your brand and products sell when you bring them to the public. A great place to start is with local farmers markets, where you have the opportunity to sell your goods without committing to the cost of real estate or staff. Work on some basic branding and set up a simple website with a platform such as Squarespace or WordPress. Think about reaching out to local food bloggers and magazine writers to tell them about what makes your treats so special. The more press you can garner, the better.
Open Up Shop
If you've already outgrown your home kitchen but are not yet ready to open up a brick-and-mortar location, do some research about shared industrial kitchens. Sometimes, food startups rotate the use of an industrial kitchen to save money. If you are ready to open up a storefront, your next steps will be creating a business plan and securing a line of credit. A loan will help you rent a storefront, buy supplies and hire staff. The most important aspect of this process is to have a clear and documented vision for your bakery to show any potential lenders. This vision will also guide you as you choose a space and get started.
As you embark on this new journey to learn how to start a bakery, take it one step at a time and always turn to your mentors for advice. Entrepreneurialism is an opportunity to share your talents and leave an indelible mark on your community. You may be surprised by how many people support your endeavor.
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