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How much do cake decorators get paid?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I've been making cakes out of my home on-the-side for several years, and teach Wilton classes. I'm thinking of applying for a job as a decorator somewhere after my kids go to school, so I'm wondering:

1) How much do cake decorators usually get paid?

2) What kind of background/experience do bakery owners look for when hiring decorators?

Thanks for any advice/input!
post #2 of 30
Most grocery store decorators get paid between $7 and $10 an hour, depending on the store, your experience, and time with the company. A private bakery may pay less or more, depending on how much business it does and how upscale a place it is.

Take copies of pics of your best work with you when you fill out the application and give a copy to the bakery manager or store manager (whomever is doing the hiring).

Be prepared to ice and decorate a cake during your interview. You will at the very least be asked to demonstrate that you can make a rose and write legibly.

Be prepared to work really hard and to churn out those cakes! When I worked as a groc. store decorator, we had to ice and decorate 40 quarter sheet cakes per 8 hour shift. On a Saturday, we'd easily have over a hundred orders, most of them do for pick-up at Noon. Which meant we started on them on Friday and we started our Saturday shifts VERY early and did not have a break for a straight 10 hours. Seriously, we were lucky if we could run to the bathroom and grab a sip of soda here and there.
post #3 of 30
working as a grocery store decorator totally sounds like it would take the fun right out of it!
post #4 of 30
I think amount varies greatly from area to area, and different bakeries and different skill levels!

If you have not worked in the field, be prepared to start at min wage, and work as a bakery clerk first. I'm not saying you won't score a sweet job right off the bat, especially if you have great photos, but just be mentally prepared!

I get a little wary when people call asking about a decorator job, because it seems that some have no intention of washing dishes, helping customers, mopping up, and etc. And some places can afford "just decorators" because they employ enough people to have a dishwasher, clerk, baker, etc.

So, I guess my advice would be to do a little research on the place you are applying at, and tailor your request, or resume objective accordingly. If you apply somewhere high production, place an emphasis on your speed, for instance.

Also, culinary students scare me when they come in, and say, I'd like to have a bakery of my own someday.... and I'm thinking, well let me pay you to teach you everything I know so you can open up a competing shop in two years.
HA HA!
Seriously, when you're looking for a job, put yourself in the shoes of the owner or person hiring... what do you want to hear?
HTH! Good luck thumbs_up.gif
post #5 of 30
Actually that $7 figure is WAY passe! Min. Wage is currently at $7.25 per hour and cake decorators starting pay for inexperienced decorators has always been typically 2 to 3 dollars above min wage. Most grocery stores have a department cap for decorators at $16 per hour now. You can get way more sometimes at a private bakery. I worked one time for a private bakery that paid an very great hourly rate then an additional $1 for every cake you completed. These were all sheet cake birthday and other special occasion cakes, Don't know why her stuff was so popular she used BC cake mixes (the worst one imho) and the worst buttercream you ever stuck in your mouth! Only made with shortening, sugar and water...GROSS! At any rate each day there were at least 40 or more cakes to crank out and there were 2 decorators. This was about 15 years ago.
post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Wow! I had no idea about how much volume decorators crank out in some bakeries! Good point also about mopping up, helping customers, doing dishes, etc. I don't mind any of that, but I had never thought of it.

Someone told me that some decorators come in early, finish their work and go home. Is that right?

Thank you, everyone!!
post #7 of 30
Oh, I didn't realized they'd raised the min wage again. I left the groc store bakery almost 4 years ago now, so my comments were based on what was being paid then. Still, gives you an idea of the range, a dollar or two over min wage to start. Not that great of a wage for the work you do, honestly.
post #8 of 30
Just a little (sad) FYI icon_smile.gif, I was offered a bakery cake decorator job at minimum wage - right off the bat! They said possibly $1 raise after 6 months of hard work and working every Friday night and Saturday plus all major holidays. This was a regular chain grocery store bakery department.... I kind of thought I would get a few dollars above MW too - maybe the store I went to just sucked? icon_rolleyes.gif
post #9 of 30
I worked in a grocery store bakery at our local store and after I started working they began to add more and more into my daily responsibilities. When they added "doughnut making" to the list, I quit. This only lasted about weeks!
post #10 of 30
I work in a somewhat small town in CA as a grocery store cake decorator...I get paid almost $14 an hour. I didn't really know how to decorate cakes too well when I started...I was hired as a bakery clerk, I watched then slowly became the un-official assistant to the head decorator...they transferred her to another store and they asked me to become head decorator, I LOVE my job icon_biggrin.gif

To respond to prterell, we have to do a LOT more than 40 now, LOL

I have a cool boss, she leaves the doughnuts to the baker thumbs_up.gif
post #11 of 30
Some will actually get paid what they are worth ..... and some .....

Will always complain that they are not being paid what they think they are worth - at least half of those should be grateful icon_wink.gif
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplegumKitchen

Some will actually get paid what they are worth ..... and some .....

Will always complain that they are not being paid what they think they are worth - at least half of those should be grateful icon_wink.gif



(raising my hand) I'm grateful...just to have a job
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsb37

Wow! I had no idea about how much volume decorators crank out in some bakeries! Good point also about mopping up, helping customers, doing dishes, etc. I don't mind any of that, but I had never thought of it.

Someone told me that some decorators come in early, finish their work and go home. Is that right?

Thank you, everyone!!



The hours would of course depend on where you apply and how much they need the help. Typically, yes, you would be working mornings. The bakery I used to work at would hire some people occasionally, but they were given evening hours. This was because while we needed the help, the bakery room itself was so small that we could only fit (comfortably) 2-3 people in there per shift. And since those morning hours are pretty gravy, those that have been with the company longest would get them. If someone applied that simply said they were only available mornings more often than not didn't even get a call back because we didn't need people when they were available.
"Focus on what you share in common, learn from what makes you different, support each other through struggles, and celebrate each others' success."

Check out my buttercream rose tutorial!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGa5j46Z05c
Reply
"Focus on what you share in common, learn from what makes you different, support each other through struggles, and celebrate each others' success."

Check out my buttercream rose tutorial!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGa5j46Z05c
Reply
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandy982006

I work in a somewhat small town in CA as a grocery store cake decorator...I get paid almost $14 an hour. I didn't really know how to decorate cakes too well when I started...I was hired as a bakery clerk, I watched then slowly became the un-official assistant to the head decorator...they transferred her to another store and they asked me to become head decorator, I LOVE my job icon_biggrin.gif

To respond to prterell, we have to do a LOT more than 40 now, LOL

I have a cool boss, she leaves the doughnuts to the baker thumbs_up.gif



Ah, but the cost of living and thus wages are higher in CA than where I am (GA). I loved the job at first, even though it was a lot of work, then we got a new dept manager in and he was a total misogynistic jerk. I also needed double carpal tunnel surgery at that point, so I used the surgery as an excuse to quit. Actually felt very burnt out for a while after that, and am really just now getting back into baking and stuff again. If my boss hadn't been such a jerk, I prob would have gone back after my surgery.
post #15 of 30
I think if you'll mention your experience, bring pictures of your cakes and apply to store that in need of cake decorator right now you can start at $10-12/hour.You more likely will have to work weekends and holidays.
Good luck!
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