All over the world, there has been an increased popularity of home baking and pandemic bakers are optimizing their chances to go pro.
At the start of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, many people had so much time on their hands and there is a very high chance that you might have tried baking. It might have been an epic fail, but for some people, it was a start of an enjoyable hobby and an opportunity to hone their baking skills.
The Institute of Culinary Education in the US now receives 85 per cent more applications than it did in the year preceding the pandemic. According to The Irish Food Board, the bread and morning goods market is now worth over 394 million Euros and is expected to grow by over 2% every year.
The popularity of baking shows has created a growing demand for custom cakes, bread and desserts, so if you are looking to set up or scale up your home bakery now is the perfect time.
Building a successful home bakery requires planning and research as there are a lot of factors to consider. Here are 5 tips for successfully running a small bakery business.
- Register with the authorities
The first step is to get your business registered, According to the food safety authority of Ireland, you have to register your home bakery with the local environmental health office of the Health Service Executive and get approval. Upon approval, your business gets a unique approval number that appears on your product packaging. It is also expected that you are aware of the country’s food hygiene legislation and Hazard Analysis Control Point (HACCP) to get approval. You also need to register as self-employed with the Office of Revenue Commissioner. This will help you sort all issues related to taxation legally. Getting the approval of the relevant authorities and going through the right certification training will earn you the trust of customers and attract new ones.
- Identify your customers.
If you are considering commercializing your baking skill there is a likelihood that your circle of friends and family might have kept you busy. The goal is to capitalize on these relationships as you transition from hobby to business. Just like any other start-up paying customers is key to the success of a home bakery, so marketing your venture to your target customer is. You could specialize in healthy options, children’s party cakes, wedding cakes or gluten-free bakes. The game plan is to focus on attracting and gaining the loyalty of your target customer. This can be done by offering samples, distributing business cards, marketing online and running minimal coast social media adverts.
- Understand the business of baking.
There is a temptation to focus your attention on the familiar and interesting, but as a business owner, you cannot afford to neglect your numbers. You must be aware of how much money goes into your business, and how much is earned in profits. The way to achieve this is to price your products accurately to make profits. As a custom baker what sets you apart is the quality of your baked goods, so be assertive and do not compare your prices with store-bought baked goods. Compare prices with other bakers in your locality but avoid the underpricing cycle that inhibits growth.
- Market your business
If you have finally moved past your basic skill development stage and have taken the leap to being a part of the bakery industry the next point of action would be taking proactive steps to profitability. While food trucks, boot sales, and stalls are perfect for getting people to be aware of your business and developing a reputation locally, small business owners utilize social media to reach numerous potential customers and reinforce their brand identity. Social media marketing is affordable, and it is also an efficient way to boost sales. It is important to develop an online presence. Content on social media should also add value to your audience. For instance, you could post video tutorials and baking tips. This is an effective way to establish yourself as a master of your craft.
- Avoid the shiny object syndrome.
There are bakery essentials that should be in the kitchen of every baker. The basics are commercial standard bake wares, moulds, tools and utensils, cake decorators, scales and measurements. As your business grows you might want to invest in a large-capacity commercial mixer, refrigeration and other essentials fit for large-scale baking. These equipment tend to be on the costly side so your money should be invested properly. It is best practice to buy only the tools you need to get your job done effectively rather than falling into the temptation of buying every new tool. Managing your finances is pivotal to the success of your business.
Running a home bakery is an interesting challenge, it is doing what you love while making money, but a business can’t survive on passion alone, so my advice to every home baker is to be very strategic and consistent.