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How to Start a Bakery Business

Are you obsessed and in love with baking? Do your friends and family come to you with requests for baked goods and treats? If you are looking at a career path as a baker, it’s a rewarding vocation that brings good income, stability and flexibility. The UK bakery market is worth £3.6 billion and continues to grow, making it a great sector to break into if you love working with people and, of course, baking. Wondering how to start a bakery business? Find out what skills you need, the different paths you can take, important considerations to keep in mind and how to legally establish your business.

What Is a Baker?

Bakers are responsible for preparing and making baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, muffins, loaves of bread and cakes. The duties and responsibilities of a baker differ according to the work setting. For example, if you work in a bakery or retail store, you'll likely fulfil orders for customers, whereas if you work in a factory setting for a manufacturer, you'll be mass-producing baked goods.

If you enjoy making tasty baked goods in a kitchen setting, a baking career can be a good fit. Although your pay can start on the low side, you have options to increase your earnings — like opening your own bakery and becoming a specialist baker.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Baker?

Surprisingly, there are no educational requirements or licensing needed to get started as a baker. But if you are serious about making baking a long-term career, you’ll want to undertake some specialist vocational training. Several UK colleges offer relevant courses like the Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Baking, the Food and Drink Operations Diploma or the Diploma in Professional Bakery (Level 2). Many people get some level of training first, then do an apprenticeship at a bakery to get their foot in the door of the industry. If you can train under a high-profile and well-experienced baker, this will benefit your skills and will look great on your CV.

What Career Paths Are Available?

Being a baker is a popular career choice, so you’ll need passion and drive to set yourself apart from the competition. To get started, review the career options you have as a baker. Here are the top-four career paths bakers take:

  1. Working in a Bakery — This is the easiest way to get started as a baker and is often the first place to start to gain the necessary skills and baking experience. No matter what bakery gives you employment, you’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You won’t have a say over how much you are paid for your services or the hours you work.
  2. Wholesale Baking — Another option is to work in mass production bakeries which create large amounts of baked goods to supply other businesses with — supermarkets, for example. You will be expected to use machinery and production line processes to meet the required targets.
  3. Freelance Baking — Once you have gained sufficient experience, you can choose to operate as a freelance baker. To do this, you might need to consider registering as a sole trader or setting up a company. You can then be your own boss by either selling your services as a personal baker or specialising in making bespoke baked goods for particular occasions, e.g. birthday cakes.
  4. Open Your Own Bakery — You can do this in one of two ways, opening a franchise or opening your own bakery. This option is for bakers who not only have the skills but also the entrepreneurial drive needed to start a business. It’s much harder than working for someone as an employee. It can be slightly easier to set up a franchise because you have the recognition of a brand name, but you won’t be able to call all the shots. If you open a bakery, keep in mind that start-up costs and expenses, as well as administrative work, will drastically increase.

How to Start a Bakery Business

If you want to create a baking business, you’ll need to create a solid business plan before you even think about putting a deposit down on a shop. Research your competition, see what is already out there and find what is lacking in the industry. Which part of town could use a new bakery? If you can fill a need, you will be more successful.

Here are several other aspects to consider when starting your bakery business:

  • Sort Your Home Baking Insurance — Public liability insurance and product liability insurance, usually sold together, can cover you if you’re sued by a member of the public for injury or damage.
  • Make Your Bakery Stand Out — Considering there’s been a 48% rise in the number of independent bakeries out there, you should make sure your business stands out. Do you have a speciality, for example? Maybe your niche could be in vegan or gluten-free bakes, or concentrating on cupcakes for children’s parties. Be sure to have a good sense of the local market too, as most customers need to be close enough for in-person delivery or collection.
  • Build Your Online Presence — You’re going to spend a lot of time making your products look beautiful, so photographing them and displaying them on your website will be key. Set up a website covering what you do, where you’re based and how people can place an order. Set up a Twitter account, a Facebook page and an Instagram account for your business, keeping them updated with posts and photographs. Don’t forget to interact with other users and businesses too!
  • Get Out and About — Even if you’re setting up a baking business from home, it’s good to get out and tell people about your business, developing a reputation locally. Consider applying for a stall at local events, including food markets and fetes. You can offer people free samples, sell cakes and give out flyers and leaflets to promote your business.
  • Market Your Business — As well as going to events and setting up social media accounts, think of more ways to market yourself. If you’re specialising in wedding cakes, try to put flyers in a wedding dress shop or develop a relationship with a local wedding venue. You could try Google Pay Per Click (PPC) ads or Facebook advertising, but remember to narrow the audience down to your local area so that the adverts only appear for people within your delivery zone.

Other aspects to consider for your business plan are your business model and legal structure, where you will be offering your services, organising a budget plan, setting prices for services, designing your recruitment strategy for hiring employees and creating a marketing plan that includes how to build your online presence.

Ready to Form Your Bakery Company?

If you are ready to start a bakery business, it’s time to form your company. You can form a limited company or go the sole-trader route. Deciding and completing your company formation can be the most challenging part of starting a business, but it’s crucial to your success.

Are you ready to start a bakery business? At Mint Formations , we help you form your limited company or self-employed business and take away all the stress that comes with starting a business. We’ll secure your brand name and get your company registered fast so that you can start doing what you love.

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