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Business Plan for Bakeries Guide
Do you live for the smell of freshly baked bread or the endless buttery flakes of a homemade croissant? Have you perfected your family's baklava recipe? Perhaps you’d like to start a bakery and share your happiness with a base of hungry customers.
While many avenues of the restaurant industry are highly competitive, there seems to be infinite space in the market for pastries, desserts, and bread. When people need a treat, they need a treat — and they often flock to bakeries to get one.
Baked goods can be created from only a few ingredients, but they require masterful technique. Baking the perfect loaf of miche, frying churros to perfection, and building a perfectly set and balanced French entremet can take years of practice.
Once you've figured out what kind of bakery you'd like to bring to life, it's time to get down to brass tacks and write your bakery business plan.
Why You Need a Bakery Business Plan
Bakeries are usually fairly specialized operations – they focus on morning pastries, desserts, doughnuts, bread, cakes, pies, vegan baked goods, bagels, cookies, or even cupcakes. A business plan is crucial for opening a new bakery to assess the market and match the baker’s skills and talents to an opening in your local area.
Some bakeries require little overhead and start-up costs, and many small bakeries operate on a skeleton staff of the owner and an assistant or two, but operations can range up to full-scale industrial bakeries that supply loaves and pastries to grocers nationwide. Defining your place in that vast market is part of the goal of a business plan — as is helping you seek out funding, and creating a roadmap to guide you on the long and complicated process of starting a business.
How to Write Bakery Business Plan (Description, Examples, Proposals)
Business plans tend to be formulaic, as they're meant to convey a fairly specific set of information to whoever's reading it — often potential investors. That's why this bakery business plan template can be such a helpful tool for imagining and planning your bakery.
Download a customizable version of the business plan template below and read on to learn more about how to make it work for your bakery.
Elements of a Bakery Business Plan
Bakery Plan Executive Summary
As the first section of your business plan, the executive summary is your prime opportunity to make a great impression with a concise summary of your bakery’s concept. An executive summary introduces key elements of your business plan like an overview of the budget, the business’s mission, market, and core values. It’s also a chance to communicate your full vision for your bakery’s products and services.
The kind of bakery you're opening will determine the type of funding you are seeking and the potential investors you attract – consider the audience of your business plan and how you might persuade them to keep reading and potentially invest.
The company overview and executive summary work together to provide a quick look at your business plan, but the company overview is more practical than attention-grabbing. It works as a glossary for the rest of your business plan by defining the products, information about ownership and the company structure, and your vision for the customer experience.
Consider including information about the jobs your bakery will create and your beliefs about labor and hiring practices, the location of your bakery, and the style of service – will your bakery be a counter service dining room or a house of made-to-order custom confections?
This is also a good opportunity to introduce the aesthetic vision of your bakery to stakeholders – paint a picture with architectural mock-ups, a color palette, logo design, and a description of the ambiance of your bakery. Is it a cozy spot to have an intricate dessert after dinner or a minimalist grab-and-go for bagels and coffee? Let the readers know.
Team and Management
Baked goods are often labor-intensive and require specialized ovens, surfaces, and equipment to prepare, bake, decorate, and sell. As such, bakers are highly-skilled workers that have an exclusive and desirable skill set — and your bakery will only be as good as your baker’s skills.
This is why it’s crucial for your business plan to include information about the management and team structure of your bakery. If you are the baker and business owner, consider what roles you will need to fill and who to hire to help you run your business, or if you plan to run an individual or family business.
Some bakeries have storefronts while others deliver custom orders directly to the customer – how you plan to deliver your baked treats to your customers might require you to hire additional staff. Others employ dozens of bakers to produce large quantities of consistent treats and how you plan to train, delegate, and compensate those workers is important as well.
Don’t forget to include information about who will be creating marketing and publicity for the bakery – will you market your business, hire a marketing professional or firm, or hire a manager that can market your business in addition to their other duties?
Consider including information about what kind of jobs you plan to create, whether they are full-time or part-time, how you will hire or train skilled bakers or chefs, and what kind of benefits you plan to offer.
While you might want to avoid writing down any intellectual property related to your great-grandmother’s croissant method, a sample menu is a crucial part of your bakery’s business plan because, so often, the concept and the product for a bakery are closely aligned.
Your sample menu provides a lot of information to partners and investors and prompts you to start thinking about some of the finer details of your business. Consider how you will make and deliver your products and what specialized and potential costly equipment for large-scale production and storage are required.
For instance, will you require a large deep fryer for doughnuts and fritters, or a 55-gallon stand mixer for large batches of dough, icing, and meringue? On the other end, have you begun to budget for the things like food-safe gloves and delicate decoration tools that your bakery might regularly require?
Beyond being a valuable asset to the information you provide potential investors, building a sample menu is a good exercise for ensuring that your business plan is airtight before you present it to banks or partners.
Unlike some other types of restaurants, bakeries often compete with other bakeries that don’t provide a similar product or experience. Consider the customer’s options in your market when choosing a bakery to patronize in a situation – whether seeking breakfast bagels, intricate pastries and coffee, a full boulangerie, catered desserts, or other complex confections.
As such, your market analysis should include how you plan to attract a segment of the customers seeking the goods, services, or combination that you plan to provide – how will you compete with or stand apart from the grocery store bakeries or the other donut stands in your area?
Completing a market analysis will be as productive for you as it is informative for your investors by revealing opportunities to enter an opening in the market and make the best of that opening.
Marketing and Publicity
Planning a marketing and publicity strategy will flow naturally from finding an opening in your market to enter. Use your market analysis as a stepping stone for your marketing and publicity plan
Opening a bakery is a good chance to capitalize on the intrigue and hype that a “grand opening” event can generate. The best customer of a bakery is the loyal, regular customer — people have strong affinities for specific baked goods and will be loyal when they find a product that provides the sensory and emotional experience they’re seeking.
Word-of-mouth marketing from regular customers, especially if they are incentivized to talk about your bakery with a loyalty program or branded merch (strong tote bags work particularly well for carrying spoils from bread shops), is a valuable assertion of your bakery’s quality.
Social media and online marketing are almost expected of restaurants these days and a concerted social media strategy can help to bring both local and tourist customers to your doors. Create your restaurant marketing plan in advance, and sum it up in this section.
One of the most exciting aspects of building a cohesive brand across your business plan is creating branded graphics that convey your brand’s concept to both potential investors and customers. Think about how you might represent the ethos of your bakery and the experiences that you plan to offer your customers through branded graphics and the design of the documents in your business plan.
Learn how to market your restaurant and build a lovable restaurant brand.
The business operations section includes information about customer service, the point of sale, sales and inventory tracking, accounting, equipment, and the supply chain of the products on your menu. Consider the role you plan to play in the business – will you be executing are sourdough recipe perfects over a decade of practice or hiring the best natas makers you can find?
Bakeries focus on baked goods, but they can offer a range of products and services in addition to delicious foods with intricate combinations of flavors and textures. Include detailed expectations of the customer experience in the business operations sections – how will you deliver or hand off your good to customers or collaborate with them to bring their confectionary imaginations to life?
Also, you might consider in more depth in this section how you expect interactions between any staff you hire, and your customers will go. How will you train your staff to interact with customers and which staff members do you expect to handle which parts of the customer experience?
Financing and Loans
If you are seeking to secure funding, have already secured partial funding, or have a plan to fund your bakery, it is crucial to include that information in your business plan. Provide potential investors with information about other investors and detailed financial plans about the projections of profit and expenses of your business.
Include information about how you expect investors to be involved with the business and any benefits they might incur by investing, such as discounts or access to menu previews.
For more information about finding funding for your bakery, check out The Complete Guide to Restaurant Financing and Loans, where we outline 11 different types of restaurant funding options.
Whether you’re opening a new restaurant, expanding your concept, or renovating within your existing four-walls, you’re going to need capital to make it all happen.
Wondering how to start a bakery? Here are the steps to open a bakery business from permits to marketing and everything in between.
Sales Forecasts and Operating Expenses
The operating expenses for a bakery include the costs of labor, insurance, products, supplies, rent, and more, and there might be supply chain or operations expenses that are unique to bakeries, such as the cost of importing quality chocolate or other global ingredients that are worthwhile to consider.
One common analysis to include in a business plan is a break-even analysis which compares how much sales are required to break even with the cost of expenses each month. Investors will be interested in the potential for profit and loss before they contribute to your business, but to produce a profit a loss statement for a restaurant that isn’t open yet will require some educated projections.
A cash flow analysis details how you plan to spend on labor, supplies, and operations to show investors that the bakery can support itself without additional investments. Consider how the cost of supplies, labor, taxes, maintenance on equipment, cleaning supplies, and paper or plastic balance at the end of each fiscal quarter.
How to Present a Bakery Business Plan Sample
There are a few ways to prepare to communicate with investors about your business plan and get them interested. As you write and edit your plan, you’ll have become the world’s only expert on your bakery. Remember that the way you talk about your business should be tailored to the situation you find yourself in.
First, send your business plan to investors and banks far and wide – put your concept and plan in the hands and minds of as many people as possible. You can’t hear no (or yes!) unless you ask.
Perhaps you’re at a networking event for local small restaurant owners and financiers. You might want to have a 30-second elevator pitch prepared so that you can communicate everything you need to about your plan for a bakery quickly. Be sure to include something exciting or make an opportunity for questions to keep people talking.
Once you secure a meeting with a potential investor or partner, you’ll want a more detailed presentation that presents all the key elements of your business plan – for a bakery, that will likely include the products and services at the core of your business.
It’s good to anticipate potential questions and prepare answers for questions you encounter for the first time. When networking, be honest and genuine, even if you don’t have a ready answer for each question that comes your way – investors will be interested in your charisma and savvy just as much as your ability to build a detailed plan.