If the childhood smell of freshly baked cookies in the home haunts you even after you have grown up, maybe you are destined to start and have a bakery of your own, all within the confines of your house. But wait, before you start dreaming of recipes and the cakes and cookies you intend to churn out, consider the ground realities – finances, appliances, licences and unlimited hours of hard work. Still feel up to it? Then you do have the spark in you and it’s time that to consider a few tips to start a bakery from home.
- Basic requirements – A food service background or a retail experience in a similar environment will be helpful. You should be well conversant with safe food production techniques and the measures that need to be implemented to ensure it in your home based bakery. Further, there should be adequate space in your house to store the ingredients in bulk. These should not be mixed up with your personal ones. Finally, an understanding of market needs and which products will take you ahead of the competition is necessary.
- Licences and permits – Your first step should be to determine if your local authorities will permit you to set up a bakery in a residential area. Then check whether you will be legally permitted to produce all types of bakery products. Some States permit baking of non-potentially hazardous food such as baked items with jams and jelly that do not facilitate growth of bacteria but ban others like cream filled pastries, cheesecakes and custards. These are strictly prohibited from home based bakeries as these are prone to contamination. Once these factors have been taken care of, have all required licences and permits in place. Take professional help if required.
- Fix your niche – In the initial stages, you should not spread your product mix wide. It is advisable to cater to a specific niche until you have established yourself in this line and want to expand. There will be a number of options before you – supplying to grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets and even bakeries that buy from others instead of producing all their requirements. For example, if you can link up with a bakery that specialises in birthday cakes in Hawthorn, Melbourne, your home production should be geared to meet this demand.
- Business Plan – This will be the blueprint for your business, so you should give it a careful thought. If necessary, get a business consultant draw up the plan for you. It will include your financial outlay under various heads as well as detailed marketing strategies. The objective is to decide where you plan to be about five years down the line and the steps that you should take in this period to be there.
- Equipment – You have to purchase a completely new set of gear as health regulations will not permit you to mix your personal things with professional equipment. Further, the stuff in your kitchen will be inadequate for commercial production. While you generally bake a few cupcakes at a time, you have to now bake dozens of them to be economically viable. You can tap the various online sites for baking equipment at discounted prices or buy from the local kitchen supply stores.
Apart from these major factors, ensure that you have attractive packaging for your products and market them aggressively. You will surely then be on your way to success in your home based bakery business.