Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Starting a Bakery and Using Pre-Owned Equipment

Posted by Sofia at 01:39

Part 1.

I am constantly amazed by the number of e books and other so-called bakery specialists on the internet who are trying to convince real entrepreneurs that the bakery, is a hard business or that the best way to get into business is via a home bakery.

The bakery has been my employment for the better part of 53 years. And, yes, there have been times when to satisfy a wife and family I have tried other types of employment. I have made side-wall hovercraft out of fiber-glass. I have built vehicle parts also from fiber-glass and I have been a welder as well as made rainwater pipe.

If you asked me, "Did I enjoy that employment"? The answer would most definitely be a very resounding NO!The work was dirty, smelly, and as far as I was concerned, a monkey could do it. It was boring!

The bakery does not pay a high wage, and that is very unfortunate. However, it is a steady employment and that beats working out in the bush three months a year under some harsh condition, or working in a car manufacturing plant like a zombie.

The bakery is not a place where an uneducated person can survive for very long. It does require attention to detail

It requires math type skills, as well as English or some other language reading skills. Without a reading skill you cannot know what is in a recipe. There are health regulations to understand and be able to read and follow.

Apart from being able to read there is the fact that every worker must follow certain hygiene specifics. This not only means neat and tidy appearance but it also means that personal hygiene must be addressed too.

Some of these people trying to convince you that the bakery is hard or trying to convince you that their e book is the best in your situation are doing a very disservice to the industry as a whole, because they really have little or no idea how a bakery works. That's because a lot of these e books are nothing more than a compilation of generic information on how to start any business.

I was about to say that very likely most if not all have never even been inside a real bakery, but that would be wrong and make me out to be just like them.

I have, as I said, been working in the bakery trade since 1955. That is over 53 years. I started when I was fourteen years old by making Hot X Buns for family members and delivering them on the back of my bicycle on a trailer that I also built myself. My efforts made over twelve dozen in my mothers kitchen. That was before I really learn to make bakery products in a professional setting.

I can go on blowing my trumpet and giving you trade names and positions I have been employed in, but where does that get me?

All I will say is this: to really learn how to be a baker. Go to a collage school that offers bakery training. If they only offer a three month course the likelihood is that it will only offer a small portion and very likely be on just one very small subject. So you will need to enroll in a number of these type short courses.

Try to find a course that offers at least 10-12 months training. That training should be a combination of both practical bakery production as well as written bakery methods.

Of course there are also schools that just want your cash. There are also schools with poor instructors, as well as schools with some of the best bakery skills around who are trying to teach people who are merely trying to keep their unemployment benefits going too.

There are people who call themselves Chefs. Some of these people have no idea on how to make a bakery work.

Please do not get me wrong here, some chefs are really great cooks, especially when it comes to fillet steak or fondant potatoes or ice cream deserts and can operate a kitchen where one or two plates of food need to be served in a short space of time.

But most chefs that I have known, have very little or no idea on how to operate a bakery where numbers can run in the hundreds and have tight production times. I am not putting the chef down. In a kitchen they can have that job. It isn't for me! In a bakery many are up a creek without a paddle.

Part 2

Now I started writing this article because I am amazed at the way some people are misleading you into thinking that it is easy and the best way to get into business is by starting a home bakery business.

The truth is...

... Starting any business from home is not always an easy task!

Starting a bakery from home is even harder to accomplish!

I'm sorry! I did not mean to burst your bubble and enthusiasm. I just plan on telling you the way it is.

Starting a bakery is a GREAT idea and you ought to push on with your endeavor. It is one of the best ideas you might have and it certainly is a great way to reduce your taxes or at least be able to write off certain taxes that you at this moment cannot.

I am NOT telling you starting a bakery from home will be easy, because it is not an easy task.

If you were going to start a bricks & mortar business in your local super market or corner store, then you will find it is a lot easier to do than trying to start your bakery from home.

The local authority has a number of problems allowing home based business with operating licenses. Those problems in the past have caused them to refuse permission to almost every kind of home based business in today's market place.

Here are just a few that I know about:
o Noise pollution
o Extra traffic
o Garbage pickup
o Rodents
o Health related issues
o Fire emergency problems
o Accidents
o Parking issues
o Building permit issues
o Water consumption
o Storage
o Failure to maintain a clear access

There are others and only your own local authority can address the issues you face in starting your own home bakery.

I did say that it is easier to start a bakery in a bricks & mortar building in a supermarket or corner store and I mean that. But, you still have to operate with the permission of your local authority. You MUST obtain the proper licenses and comply with all building codes, health regulation, parking permits and storage. There should not be any rodents, bugs or health related issues.

In most food related business here are a few of the concerns you will need to consider...
o Building codes
o Plumbing issues
o Grease Traps
o Water uses
o Fire Codes
o Access
o Garbage Issues
o Health Regulations
o Parking
o Leasing ownership issues

Again the only way to address these concerns is to talk with your local authority.

After saying every thing above, about the difficulty of starting your bakery at home, there are places where bakeries have been started at home. There are places where bakeries can be started at home. These might be out in the country where there are no super markets or some place where the area is a rural community. Or it might be in an area that is governed by a religious community.

The only way to assess any of these facts is to pay a visit to your local authority. Once you have spoken with these people you will be in a better position to continue with your business plan and will then know where to situate your bakery business.

Part 3

Although I hadn't expected to make this article a three part information piece, it has turned out to be just that.

Actually it will very likely be a four a five part article by the time I've finished.

People will always try to purchase as cheap as they can.

Now cheap does not mean bad and neither does it mean good. There are good and bad items of equipment on the open market.

In a bakery whether you are starting a home bakery or you are building or buying into a bakery. One of the first piece of equipment you will need is a mixer.

I have worked with bread mixers that are over 100 years old. They work almost perfectly for making bread dough. They are so simple that they will very likely continue to work for another hundred years.

Another type of mixer is a high speed. One that can mix dough's in three minutes or less

But, these types of machines will never lend themselves to making a cake batter.

Will a machine that can make a cake batter work to make bread dough? Absolutely, yes!

Will it be perfect for both types of product? Well, yes it can do both but you will be required to change the mixing utensil.

Another major piece of equipment that will be required is an oven. Now there are several different types of oven. They will all bake your product, but in different ways. So you really need to understand that what you make will decide how you bake.

Of course if your products are donuts then you will need a fryer to cook your products and again there are number donut fryers available. Some are classed as table models.

In other words these are usually approximately 18 inches square and about four to six inches deep.

These types of fryers as well as floor model fryers and fryers with moving conveyor systems will in many instances require what is termed a vented hood. An overhead ventilated extraction system. These systems require a fire extinguisher to be activated by heat in the case of a fire.

When this activates it will use up almost all of the oxygen in the immediate area and cover everything in a white or grayish powder.

There will also be a need to use both fridges and freezers. Here again they can be big enough to drive a truck through, or walk through or small enough to keep but a few items cool.
There are also freezers that are called fast freeze. These later types of freezers will freeze your products right to the core within a very short space of time. Often as fast or faster than thirty minutes.

Of course I can go on about the different types of equipment and their usage, but the comment that brought about this particular article, was that you should buy second hand equipment.

I will use the term pre-owned from here on as second-hand often suggest inferior quality.

Even some of the pre-owned equipment can be inferior quality if the equipment has not been maintained or has been purchased through a disreputable source.

For instance I used a reputable source (as I thought) to have an oil leak repaired in an upright 60 quart floor model mixer in a very well known brand. However, the person who came along to the bakery made the mistake of letting one of my staff know that he had never worked on this type of machine before.

The time of day is now 3pm and we close in two hours and we need this machine at 2:30 am next day. I question how he planned on proceeding. This guy's plan was to knock out the oil seal from below. He had nothing to collect the remnants of the 90 weight oil that was inside the motor and having seen a mechanic from the machines makers do a similar job a few years back I told the guy to leave the bakery, because it was very obvious that my machine would not be ready for me to use by 2:30 am next day.

I have never used that outfit again.

The morel of the story here is although the manufacturer is way more expensive to repair or maintain the machinery it can be a whole lot cheaper in the long run. It is the similar story with using pre-owned equipment as apposed to new.

In all likelihood your financial institution will dictate whether or not you can purchase pre-owned or new equipment.

Of course new equipment also has a warranty period, often one year but sometimes only three months because these manufacturers know the machines take a considerable beating. They do a lot of work. ut by the same degree pre-owned equipment can be just as good and often better. Because like a new car, the parts need to be broken in.

My advice to anyone contemplating purchasing pre-owned equipment is to have the manufacturers factory trained mechanic overhaul and replace any worn parts.

Believe me the money spent is well worth it in the long run!


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