Originally Posted by canadiancookie
I know when I was baking, I had to stick to friends and family because I just could not afford the kitchen space. I have also had to deal with a few bakers "pretending" to work from my kitchen but actually baking from home to save their money. So I was looking for ways to make this more feasible for small bakers.
Would you use a space like this? Would you join a "bakers club" of sorts....
Would you pay hourly? Or would you prefer to pay a monthly fee giving you access 24/7? How much would you be willing to pay hourly for this space?
How much would you be willing to pay for a monthly membership??
Would you be bothered sharing a studio space?
Would you find it helpful to be in a small community with other bakers where it would be possible to share resources, tips, and other useful things?
Would it be more financially feasible to have equipment shared by all, decorating tools etc......
ANY feedback you have would be great!!!
Thank you all for reading my extra long post and Thank you in advance for any thoughts you may have!!
*Mod edited to remove bits not allowed.
There's so many points in your post and other peoples responses I barely know where to begin.
Maybe if I list some of the random issues I had, would help you?
You must really maintain your equipment. I'd get really upset when I'd needed the 60qt mixer and it wasn't working. It completely ruined my production schedule and how I prepped before going to the kitchen.
Or times when I couldn't find all the parts I needed to make the equipment work.
Or the time I went to make buttercream just to discover the owner didn't buy the whip attachment for the large mixer and didn't understand why anyone would need it.
Then you turn to the smaller equipment and discover everyone else has used it all and there isn't a mixer available.
I couldn't get my egg whites to whip because their soap system was empty and everyone had been washing dishes for god know how long with-out any soap in the water. I lost time and materials!
They had 4 kitchens but only one had one double stack convection oven and just about everyone who rents there are bakers. So if someone else had the ovens tied up, you couldn't bake off your product, period.
The refrigerator's need to be separated into bakers and savory so the smells don't co-mingle. Savory people put hot food (soups) unwrapped to in the coolers...then left them over night steaming my cakes and stinking them up.
The refrigerators and freezers were the wrong size so you couldn't fit a full sized sheet pan straight into your shelf. That makes you spend more time figuring how to package/seal up your products and purchase smaller sized equipment just to use their space. When you paying by the hour, seconds count and having to do everything the hard way or with double steps was killer!
They had a bunch of sheet pans, bowls etc... but people stole them all, so now you must bring everything you can think of....and never have a problem because you couldn't reach for plan B. if you didn't bring plan B with you.
The place I use cost $25.00 per hour with a min. of 2 hour block each time you book. When I make a cake I need to bake it and let if cool for hours, after it's cool I can decorate. So it costs me $50.00 (their min.) to bake the cake. Then I have to book another $50.00 (2 hour min.) to decorate it. I can't build a business off of that.
The top shelf of the cooler costs as much to rent as the bottom. But the top shelf has less then a 12" clearance and the bottom shelf has over 24". If I make a wedding cake it must be placed on the top shelfs so no one can spill on it or drop crumbs on it. But the top shelf isn't tall enough to place a double stacked cake on and it drips condensation. So if I have a wedding cake I have to buy 3 shelfs for $75.00 a month.
So now I have $175.00 into rental fees just to make a double stacked cake. I can't run a business with that kind of over head.
I tried to negotiate a monthly rental fee with this owner and the best price I could get was $2,500. per month. If I had that kind of money I could rent a prime retail location! That was offering to work the grave yard hours when no one ever rented the kitchen anyway.
It was a huge warehouse and the sinks and small wares were on one side of the place. So everyone wanted the two kitchens closest to the sinks. The time I'd waste running around this huge building was a horrible time waster!!!!!
The community mixer was off in another direction no where near a sink or oven. Again creating a lot more running and a hard to work in space.
............that's just the start of things. I'll try to help you if I can because I really believe these kitchens can work if the owner is willing to listen and work with their customers.
Oh, my favorite, the owner would loose track of who paid and who didn't, and for how many hours you rented. So you could get double billed and there's nothing you could do about it.
Every single little change/issue you needed to call the owner to get their approval (and they were out of the country often). If you got stuck in traffic, too bad, so sad. If the cake got cancelled oh well you booked the time, no cancelling. But if their equipment wasn't working they didn't refund your money. If you couldn't get near an oven, that's your problem, no refunds.
Edited by Stitches - 4/24/13 at 9:44am