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How do you hire employes--everyone is a cake decorator

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
My shop is getting ready to open soon and I got all this people who are applying for a job but every one of them is either always dreamed about decorating cakes or opening their own shop...of course all of them need to be taught. Why in the world do I want to train someone with those aspirations and then they open the shop across the street? How do you hire people? How do you make sure they don't run out and start using your recipes and all they learned from you and become competition?
post #2 of 21
Even with my interns and apprentices, I asked to see pics of cakes they had decorated. Like you said...everyone thinks (or has been told) they are decorators. Also, I made EVERYONE sign a paper saying they would not write down, take home or otherwise share my recipes (sort of a non-compete agreement). Good luck!
post #3 of 21
I am not a professional baker; however, I do work in an office where we have employees sign a contract w/ a "No Compete" & "Intellectual Property" clauses. This prevents them from taking any recipe or design, either created by them or you to another bakery (even their own). It also prevents them from working in the same industry for the competition for a specified period of time (like 1 year) after dismissal or resignation. You could google these terms or look on some legal forms sites for exact wording, etc... Hope this helps. I would also require a portfolio for prospective employees, you are not a training facility. thumbs_up.gif
Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around...
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Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around...
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post #4 of 21
In the end, anyone that enjoys decorating will aspire to work independently: if they don't, they probably won't be good. You can't avoid that!

To have them avoid using your recipes you could a) make them sign a contract or b) pre-make your own "box mixes". What I mean is...say your recipe calls for X of this Y of that and Z of the other dry ingredient. Mix them together dry, bag, and label "white cake" and so on. Put on label: add 12 eggs, 2 cups water, 2 cups oil etc. See what I mean?

On top of that, when you call them for an interview, tell them to bring their portfolio or e-mail it beforehand.
post #5 of 21
You could always have some cakes or cake dummies ready and ask them to ice and decorate it simply for you during the interview...

I don't hire employees but I would think you'd want a balance....enough talent to work for you but not enough that they'll be going off on their own direction instead of following yours.
post #6 of 21
I have not yet had to hire employees, but one of the shops in my area had some good advice when I took a course from her. She said that she hires students in the arts program from the local university. It's easier to teach a creative person how to work with details on a cake than to teach someone who knows something about cake, how to be creative. I read Duff Goldman's book recently and he also mentioned that almost all of his employees have some sort of art or creative background and very few went to culinary school like he did.

I would guess if you are hiring students, they probably aren't going to want to steal your ideas and recipes because opening their own shop won't be a longterm goal.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by annie84

I have not yet had to hire employees, but one of the shops in my area had some good advice when I took a course from her. She said that she hires students in the arts program from the local university. It's easier to teach a creative person how to work with details on a cake than to teach someone who knows something about cake, how to be creative. I read Duff Goldman's book recently and he also mentioned that almost all of his employees have some sort of art or creative background and very few went to culinary school like he did.

I would guess if you are hiring students, they probably aren't going to want to steal your ideas and recipes because opening their own shop won't be a longterm goal.



This is a really good idea....I have also heard of having students come as interns...then you don't even have to pay them. Maybe culinary students would work great for baking up your layers for you. Then more artistic people to work with your designs.

I'm self taught for the most part...I've had a few helps here and there, and then worked at a caterer for a year (hired based on my portfolio) which really increased my confidence with wedding cakes and broadened my knowledge of baking and desserts (which had been very limited) but I guess I would be an example of someone who could do the cakes based on art experience rather than culinary school.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks you all. I was not trying to hire empolyees to start with, applications and phone calls just started to come in. Everyone seems to think that this is glamorous and fun job, and though it is usually fun, it sure does not feel glamorous at 3 am when something does not work out.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

Thanks you all. I was not trying to hire empolyees to start with, applications and phone calls just started to come in. Everyone seems to think that this is glamorous and fun job, and though it is usually fun, it sure does not feel glamorous at 3 am when something does not work out.



TV programs probably do not help that image!
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
LOVE your cake Kitagirl! Just joined your FB page! You do amazing work icon_biggrin.gif
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

LOVE your cake Kitagirl! Just joined your FB page! You do amazing work icon_biggrin.gif



Aww thanks! I was admiring your profile pic myself...didn't get a chance to check out your gallery, have been up and down with the kids. icon_lol.gif
post #12 of 21
when I was in school I worked for a local bakery that has been in business for 23 years.. I had to sign a non-compete and a confidentiality agreement.. The non compete probably had a mileage radius and a time frame included, but I don't remember. I also had to do a kitchen trial. I was applying to be a baker, not a decorator, so I had to make 2 fillings using her recipes, plus I had to torte and fill a bunch of cakes.

one thing she appreciated about me (that I heard from the kitchen manager) is that when she ask me what I planned to do in 5 years, I said I wanted to have my own business and be successful like her. Apparently people usually gush and say things like I want to be working for you, and wouldn't necessarily telling the truth, so she appreciated my honesty. Take it as a good thing that people have goals, but at the same time protect yourself..
post #13 of 21
I think it depends on what you are hiring for. Are you hiring a worker or a decorator ? A worker would bake, clean, answer the phone, work the front if your a store front, color fondant etc. If you are hiring a decorator than you will always risk them wanting to start their own business. I'm pretty sure but could be wrong that Bronwen Webber is head chef/ decorator of Frosted Art but not the owner. I thought she had said she wanted to decorate not do the books. So you may fine someone with similar goals. Also Pebbles, if you weren't planning on hiring I wouldn't hire. Your business plan should have a general idea of income and expenses and if you didn't plan for an employee that can put a wrench in things.
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Visit me at www.keeponcaking.com for tutorials and other cake stuff.
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post #14 of 21
Kitagirl, I just took a good look at your gallery on your website. Your cakes are wonderful. I especially love the kids cakes. They are so bright, fun and well done! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Price

Kitagirl, I just took a good look at your gallery on your website. Your cakes are wonderful. I especially love the kids cakes. They are so bright, fun and well done! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif



Aw thanks. icon_smile.gif
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