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How to Own Your Own Bakery

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Owning your own bakery means more than simply greeting customers and baking sugar-and-cream-filled goodies. You will need to have good business sense and be prepared to work long hours if you want to make your business a success. Check out restaurant trend websites, such as those of ModernBaking and the International Dairy·Deli·Bakery Association (see Resources), to research the outlook of the industry.

Attend a culinary institute to become a classically trained pastry chef and learn the business skills required to open a restaurant, including basic bookkeeping, purchasing and scheduling. Gain experience by working as a baker or pastry chef to familiarize yourself with the day-to-day needs of a bakery.

Create a business plan. Research other bakeries and their rates of success to determine the right strategy for you. Consider aspects such as the type of business (whether sit-down or take-out), the location, hours of operation and the number of employees needed. Calculate realistically the amount you would need to start the establishment and the amount you will need to net each day in sales to pay vendors, employees and your lenders.

Finance your bakery by applying for a business loan at a bank or by securing private investors. Present your business plan as well as your credit history, collateral interests and repayment plan. Avoid signing a lease on a location or purchasing costly equipment until the contracts on the financing have been signed.

Apply for licenses and permits. Determine what department handles business licenses for restaurants and bakeries in your state. Contact local government agencies to set up a time to have the location inspected by the health and fire departments. Consult with officials about zoning requirements and sign permits and specifications as well.

Hire a staff. Advertise for help on job websites and in local publications. Focus on candidates with an interest in cooking or those who are recent graduates of culinary school. Conduct interviews and hire those that would be a good fit with the style of your bakery.

Open your bakery with fanfare. Announce the grand opening online by creating a business website and Facebook page. Be prepared to handle any issues that may arise calmly, in order to keep customers coming back to your bakery.