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Problems Working for Bakeries - Page 3

post #31 of 74

When we're hiring decorators, we can't have them stage, but we test the heck out of them when they apply:  Here's an 8" cake.  Fill it, ice it, give it borders and roses, write "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations".  We time them on this.  Anybody who takes more than 10-15 minutes is automatically disqualified.  Anybody who doesn't know how to do any of those tasks is automatically disqualified,  If you've got the chops but are obviously slow because you're nervous, which is understandable, we might hire you, depending on what else you can bring to the table.  We'll take a second look at an eager, heart-on-fire newbie because we know they tend to learn fast as in "When I'm not here I'll practice on my own dime with my own tips and icing and dummy cakes at home".  We currently have a relatively new decorator who does just that, and her skills have grown by leaps and bounds!

 

We once had a woman come in for an interview bearing a very professional-looking portfolio.  She passed the interview with flying colors.  When it came time for her to do the "test cake" as I explained above, she was at an utter loss..  Turned out she had printed off different cakes she'd found online and put them together into a portfolio so she could get an interview.  She had no idea she'd be tested.  She only had one maybe 2 cakes in her entire life, back when her daughter was young.  We felt badly for her because it was so obvious she needed a job, but there was no way we could have her learn from scratch on our dime, never mind duping us with the "portfolio".

post #32 of 74

I have learned the hard way, every time, before I started watching youtube videos. I buy Craftsy classes, and spend time and money and loads of gas just getting the supplies to do my decorating with. I spent $17,000 on my bakery, and I moved to a different city  and bought a house, so I could even build it. I have been doing this for 20 + years, and if some young thing comes in and has the skill, just needs an opportunity, I am willing to pay good money to have their help, but I will not be bullied by people who think they deserve it. This is my baby! You want to make good money, doing what you want, go build your own bakery. 

Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
post #33 of 74

On a side note, it's hard to be a bakery these days.  There used to be a bakery on every corner, but now thanks to grocery stores actively putting them out of business, they've become relatively a rarity.  And now with the cottage food laws making it legal for so many to sell cakes from home, they have to deal also with that. Maybe something to keep in mind when you're pricing your cakes. We don't want to be striving toward a goal (owning a storefront bakery) in an industry we're weakening by undercharging.
 

post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet View Post

On a side note, it's hard to be a bakery these days.  There used to be a bakery on every corner, but now thanks to grocery stores actively putting them out of business, they've become relatively a rarity.  And now with the cottage food laws making it legal for so many to sell cakes from home, they have to deal also with that. Maybe something to keep in mind when you're pricing your cakes. We don't want to be striving toward a goal (owning a storefront bakery) in an industry we're weakening by undercharging.
 

 

so true!

 

i think the hardest (death) blow to the bakery business was a few decades ago when a certain marketing strategy re-focused off of wholesale and onto on the homemaker and she became empowered to do their own.

 

that has further enabled the bold and the beautiful to lobby for cottage laws so they can take it a step further even

 

and what do we do all day long

 

(not to mention you tube etc. etc.)

 

give away trade secrets

 

it's 'the way we are' (lois wyse)

my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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post #35 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

 

 

i think the hardest (death) blow to the bakery business was a few decades ago when a certain marketing strategy re-focused off of wholesale and onto on the homemaker and she became empowered to do their own.

 

The TV shows have dealt by far the hardest blow to ALL cake makers.  THEY make the customers think that they should be able to get a huge cake for next to nothing, because "it only takes 15 minutes".

 

The cottage food laws on the other hand provide some of the same regulation that restaurants have accepted for their own good.  And you see them flourishing.

 

The Wiltons had it right when they started teaching outside of culinary institutions and printing yearbooks for homemakers.  They gave US access to the professional baking tools, they provided lessons, and the possibility to start businesses. I can't thank them enough.

post #36 of 74

I wanted to address the orignal post

 

I have been running my bakery for almost 9 years now.  My place is spotless (you never know when an inspector will come by) so much so we have a huge window for customers to watch us decorate, so we HAVE to keep it clean.  Yes, pay is low, which I will explain a little later. (My average employee makes 11 dollars an hour) 

My state doesnt require breaks, but my encourage my employees to take a break if they seem like they are tired or not doing a good job.  I have heard from them that other places they work do not allow them to sit.  I dont know how you decorate the sides of a cake without sitting, so I allow sitting.  I also assign cake orders so they have the time needed to complete and don't push them too hard as I dont want the cakes to suffer.  All of our cakes are custom, so we don't do the big grocery store sheet cake mess, so maybe that has something to do with it.  I have levels of decorators and they are assigned work according to their level.  We listen to the radio all day and have a tv for breaking news or weather if we want to watch.  We share washing dishes, we share sweeping and we share tasks, so nobody gets bored.  I try to be fair, yet firm and I have some pretty good employees who are dedicated to the shop.

But do you want to hear the other side?

 

I have to deal with employees who came to work stone, or drunk.  Some 1 hour late.  I have employees who will TEXT me they quit.  I will NOT hire a smoker and I have had them lie to me and I can smell it on them.  I had a group of girls who I called the Three Witches who tried to get other employees against me.  Never understood why, but some people are just like that. I had an employee who didnt pick up your last paycheck and tried to turn me into the department of labor  (they were on my side, but still it was stressfull)

 

If the place you work at is dirty, why dont you help clean?  Do you get a lunch hour?  Many states do not require breaks if you get lunch.  How much texting and personal calls do you take a day with your cell?  Do you offer to do anything extra?   I personally am not sure I would want someone with an additude..are you showing this kind of additude at work? 

A bakery owner has to deal with rising rent, rising cost of materials, taxes, new laws, insurance, customers, and most of us work 100 hours a week, with no vacations, no sick leave, and barly make a living.  We aren't rich.  Do you know how many people I have walk in here and tell me they want to decorate cakes becuase it looks like fun on tv?  They think its easy. 

 

I dont consider home bakers a threat because most of them fail the first year.  I instead have to deal with other bakeries in our area who suck, but they post in blogs and facebook lies so they can make other bakeries look bad. 

 

Please don't paint all bakeries with the same brush.  Many of us are proud of our work and our shops.  And appreciate GOOD employees

Gotta have more cowbell!
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Gotta have more cowbell!
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post #37 of 74

Here here lorimoms!  I too have had someone text me at 10pm the night before a huge wedding to let me know they "couldn't make it" to work the next morning because they got invited to do something cool at the last minute that they'd rather do.  I stupidly waited to do a lot of the detail work because this person begged me to teach them how I do XYZ (and I'm a sucker for teaching) so it got pushed to the last minute.  SO instead of having a carefully planned 8 hour day that was supposed to be easy I had 16 hours straight of complete chaos.  I never heard from that person again.

 

That is another thing people don't understand (my husband included)... there is no calling a bride to say, "Hey!  I, like, totes wanna go to the Brew Fest with my BFFs instead of working the next 20 hours straight on your wedding cake, so, like, I'm tots gonna do that, m'kay?"

post #38 of 74

brick wall deadlines

my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

Reply
my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

Reply
post #39 of 74
Thread Starter 

Loriemoms, I am just referring to a trend I have noticed in over 10 bakeries I have interviewed or worked at, not trying to generalize that all bakeries are this way. The dirty conditions were noticed BEFORE I started working, obviously I always clean up after myself, but some of these bakeries have a cleaning crew that comes in after dark, so I'm just responsible for the mess I make. I would happily clean and wash dishes if they did not have a paid employee doing these, but most I've worked at do.

 

You said you pay your employees $11.00 an hour, which is UNHEARD of where I live. I was literally offered $7.00 by more than 3 bakeries. It would be extremely difficult to make ends meet with that salary for that amount of work. I could work at McDonald's and make more.

I'm sorry about your employees who are irresponsible. That is not me at all. I work very hard and put my heart and soul into my cakes. I never text and work and have never, ever showed up drunk or high to work. I would happily sacrifice a break to perfect my work. But if I don't eat very few hours, I get extremely woozy and disoriented, and it affects my performance at work. I've dealt with situations where I was told that I could have my lunch while working. As the new employee, I noticed that I was the only one who had to work and eat simultaneously, and veteran employees could come and go as they pleased, ordering food for the whole staff and not asking me. (this happened more times than I could count.) Eating lunch IS my break, and since I'm still working, it is not a break at all.

 

I don't know if this is just about some people being ****ty, or if it's the business. But my whole point I wanted to make was that I was feeling discouraged from the industry based on my bad experiences. I didn't mean to generalize. I wanted to see if others had experienced this, and apparently they have. Your bakery actually sounds like a enjoyable work environment. I have yet to find such a place. I know running a bakery is not easy, and at this point I don't think I could do it. Hopefully eventually. The places I have been at are also not custom cake shops, but established bakeries than have been there over 20 years.

post #40 of 74

I am sure it is hard to find good help now a days but not everyone is a bad employee.  The bad apples in the bunch ruin it for the few good apples who truly try to do their best!!! The bad ones come a dime a dozen but if and when you have a faithful employee you better hold on to them and treat them right because they are few and far in between to find!!
 

post #41 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackiegran View Post

I was literally offered $7.00 by more than 3 bakeries.
Was this recently? Federal minimum wage has been $7.25/hour since 2009.
post #42 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms View Post

I wanted to address the orignal post

 

I have been running my bakery for almost 9 years now.  My place is spotless (you never know when an inspector will come by) so much so we have a huge window for customers to watch us decorate, so we HAVE to keep it clean.  Yes, pay is low, which I will explain a little later. (My average employee makes 11 dollars an hour) 

My state doesnt require breaks, but my encourage my employees to take a break if they seem like they are tired or not doing a good job.  I have heard from them that other places they work do not allow them to sit.  I dont know how you decorate the sides of a cake without sitting, so I allow sitting.  I also assign cake orders so they have the time needed to complete and don't push them too hard as I dont want the cakes to suffer.  All of our cakes are custom, so we don't do the big grocery store sheet cake mess, so maybe that has something to do with it.  I have levels of decorators and they are assigned work according to their level.  We listen to the radio all day and have a tv for breaking news or weather if we want to watch.  We share washing dishes, we share sweeping and we share tasks, so nobody gets bored.  I try to be fair, yet firm and I have some pretty good employees who are dedicated to the shop.

But do you want to hear the other side?

 

I have to deal with employees who came to work stone, or drunk.  Some 1 hour late.  I have employees who will TEXT me they quit.  I will NOT hire a smoker and I have had them lie to me and I can smell it on them.  I had a group of girls who I called the Three Witches who tried to get other employees against me.  Never understood why, but some people are just like that. I had an employee who didnt pick up your last paycheck and tried to turn me into the department of labor  (they were on my side, but still it was stressfull)

 

If the place you work at is dirty, why dont you help clean?  Do you get a lunch hour?  Many states do not require breaks if you get lunch.  How much texting and personal calls do you take a day with your cell?  Do you offer to do anything extra?   I personally am not sure I would want someone with an additude..are you showing this kind of additude at work? 

A bakery owner has to deal with rising rent, rising cost of materials, taxes, new laws, insurance, customers, and most of us work 100 hours a week, with no vacations, no sick leave, and barly make a living.  We aren't rich.  Do you know how many people I have walk in here and tell me they want to decorate cakes becuase it looks like fun on tv?  They think its easy. 

 

I dont consider home bakers a threat because most of them fail the first year.  I instead have to deal with other bakeries in our area who suck, but they post in blogs and facebook lies so they can make other bakeries look bad. 

 

Please don't paint all bakeries with the same brush.  Many of us are proud of our work and our shops.  And appreciate GOOD employees

That how I envision my shop to be. And the thought of employees is terrifying because I know I'll run into the same kinds of problems.

 

I just want to take issue with one thing you said about the cleaning. I did work in a dirty bakery for about 4 months before going out on my own and we weren't allowed any time to clean. If I did clean something other than mopping the floor or washing down my work table,  I was "asked" why i wasn't doing something else. That place was awful -- I was always nervous to pull out a cake board because it was pretty typical to find small roach crawling on it. I also wasn't allowed to set up a system so we'd know how long items had been in the display case. We had to keep it in our heads, which was impossible since we might not even be the person who set an item out there. More than once I had to direct a customer to another product because as I was wrapping it up, I found it to be growing mold.

post #43 of 74

Howsweet,  WOW!!  A bakery that sells food that is growing mold? It is a wonder that they have not been shut down yet. It is pretty gross that they never cleaned the place.  Don't they have health food inspectors that come around and check out these bakeries? What state was this bakery in? You have to keep your kitchen spotless and clean up as you go otherwise you are feeding the roaches and they would be breeding like crazy. Yuck!!!

 

I remember my husband telling me about Madison Avenue in NY where he used to deliver to these fancy resturants and he told me he would go down into the basement of the restaurant and said there would be rats that were huge running around the restaurant and roaches like nobody's business running around. This was about 30 years or so ago when he lived in NY. I guess that is why my husband and I do not eat out hardly ever.   

post #44 of 74

mold--wow

 

i play ice chute spotting all the time esp. fun on vacation

 

check out the ice chutes in any store or fast food place-- where you fill your own cup with ice--7 out of 10 have black mold easy peasy--srsly srsly srlsy srsly--

 

check the crevices -- i then have a quiet chat with the manager

 

the drink spouts for fountain drinks are also a creeping crawling blackened germfest 

 

love bottled soft drinks!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

but about employees--you gotta know how to fire people too

 

one great employee makes all the difference in the world though

 

the bad ones are far too memorable but...most of them are really good

my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

Reply
my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

Reply
post #45 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

mold--wow

 

i play ice chute spotting all the time esp. fun on vacation

 

check out the ice chutes in any store or fast food place-- where you fill your own cup with ice--7 out of 10 have black mold easy peasy--srsly srsly srlsy srsly--

 

check the crevices -- i then have a quiet chat with the manager

 

the drink spouts for fountain drinks are also a creeping crawling blackened germfest 

 

love bottled soft drinks!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is why I no longer drink fountain drinks. My dh works on this equipment and due to his horror stories and the evidence he's brought home, I can't think of anything more disgusting.  He brought home one valve from a fountain that had GREEN FUR growing in it. And he tells these people how to take care of it! Hot water is not that hard to find, and that's all it takes.

 

The only fountains I'll drink from are at the hospital or the military base - and how often am I going to be there?  But restaurants?  No way - they're all gross. And the HD doesn't check for that kind of thing.

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