If you’ve ever dreamed of running a bakery, these experts have hard-won advice to share.
Owner, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston
Get experience first. “If you want to open a bakery, go work in a bakery. Baking is the easy part.”
$38,350. That’s the cost of the eight-month Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education. Save it. Real-world experience will teach you payroll, ordering, inventory and all the other important stuff. “Learn these aspects on someone else’s dollar, not your own,” Chang says.
Co-owner, Five Points Bakery and Toast Café, Buffalo
Find your balance. “Don’t sacrifice your personal happiness for your bakery, or you will lose both.”
Our experts say you’ll need…
- License. Food handler’s or distributor’s license, depending on your state. Selling online? Check the FDA’s labeling regulations.
- Commercial equipment. It adds up. Lower your overhead by finding used stuff at auctions and liquidation sales.
- Space. To start, rent space hourly in a commercial commissary until you get a handle on ingredient costs and market demand.
Owner, Dominique Ansel Bakery, New York, Tokyo, London
New ideas. “You must innovate so there’s always something new for guests to discover.”
Six to eight weeks. That’s how often Ansel changes his menu. Highlight what you do well but don’t be hemmed in by it, or customers will consider you a one-trick shop.
Average baker’s salary, by state:
“Baking is nothing like what you see on TV,” says Chang. “Hours are long, pay is low and the work is extremely physical. Your nights, weekends and holidays are gone forever.” Here, what a baker can expect to make across the country, according to data culled from the American Bakers Association.
District of Columbia $54,695
New Hampshire $39,347
New Jersey $58,385
New Mexico $38,898
New York $47,708
North Carolina $46,487
North Dakota $43,243
Rhode Island $35,197
South Carolina $43,685
South Dakota $43,362
West Virginia $35,401