Do you want to open a bakery and you are wondering if an academic degree is needed? If YES, here is everything you must know about bakery certifications .

No! You do not necessarily need a Culinary Degree to open a bakery in the United States. In the bakery industry, work experience typically is more important than a standard general education. Bakers in the united states usually are not required to have any college degree.

However, some candidates choose to attend technical or culinary schools. These generally last from 1 to 2 years and cover nutrition, food safety, and basic math. To enter these programs, candidates may be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Certifications You Can Get to Boost your Profile as a Baker

You can also decide to obtain industry certifications. Although this is not required too when starting a bakery, but it will tell your customers how knowledgeable you are in the industry.

The Retail Bakers of America (RBA) offers certification options for different levels of bakers, including Certified Journey Baker (CJB), Certified Baker (CB) and Certified Master Baker (CMB). The CJB, Certified Journey Baker, is for those just starting out, the CB, Certified Baker, is for those who have some work experience, and the CMB,

Certified Master Baker is meant for highly experienced bakers. People seeking CB or higher credentials need to have completed a sanitation course. A Certified Decorator (CD) designation is also available for those who primarily work with sweet baked goods.

However, note that the major way to move up and advance as a baker is to gain work experience. Many bakers start off as baker’s assistants and progress as they learn the techniques and skills necessary to manage a bakery or create high quality products.

How Open a Bakery in the United States

Long-term on-the-job training is the most common path to gain the skills necessary to run a bakery in the United States. Some prospective bakery owners start their careers through an apprenticeship program or by attending a technical or culinary school. But just like we stated above, no formal education is required to open a bakery. However, if you decide to venture into this business, here are major ways or steps to follow.

  1. Know Your Identity

First, you need to understand there is more than one type of bakery business you can start. Before doing anything else, first choose the concept you’d like your business to follow. You can choose to start a food truck, a specialty bakery or a wholesale bakery.

Note that the route you take may decide how you start this business or the equipment you acquire. You might choose to start a small Online business too or open a food truck with the intention of someday moving into your own storefront. Additionally, you will also have to consider the type of baked goods you’ll offer. Starting drafts of your menu early in the process may be critical in defining your brand’s identity.

  1. Obtain Adequate Funding

At this point, having a well detailed bakery business plan can help you analyze the amount of financing you’ll need to get the business started. Take your time to research the industry and obtain accurate insight into the pricing of equipment and materials. Don’t forget to factor in labour and overhead costs and brainstorm the ways you plan to offset all of these expenses.

  1. Choose a Suitable Location

If your plan is to start up an online business or a home based bakery, then you can comfortably skip this step, but don’t dismiss it too quickly. Note that starting and running your bakery out of your home can quickly become an overwhelming situation.

It is smart to rent a commercial kitchen where you can prepare your items before sending them to customers. Choose a perfect storefront by factoring in things like foot traffic, potential competitors, and the type of demographics in the area. Also ensure that the space will work for your concept; it doesn’t hurt to bring in a contractor to price out any improvements you’d like to make before you sign the contract.

  1. Acquire Baking Equipment and Supplies

After you must have chosen a suitable location for your bakery, you will have to outfit it with all the equipment needed to start a bakery. Regardless of your recipes, you’ll need some basic fixtures and supplies: Ovens, Refrigerators, Commercial mixers, Sheet pan racks, Work tables, and Baking supplies.

At this point, it is advisable you start procuring vendors for the ingredients you’ll need to make your creations. Calculate how much it will cost to prepare one item, so you can price it to your customers accurately. Businesses with poor profit margins lose money quickly.

  1. Employ Extra Hands

To properly analyze your staffing model, it is advisable you first decide how many hours your business will be open each day. From there you can define the roles you need fulfilled. How many bakers will you need prepping food? How many cashiers should be out front at one time?

If you plan to hire a manager to help you run the day-to-day operations, ensure to seek someone with experience in baking and business management. Spend time training your new staff and make sure everyone knows their job prior to opening day.

  1. Create marketing strategies

At the very least, create a basic website that explains what your business is about and where to find you. Leverage popular social media sources, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Many customers search for restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries online before visiting in person.

This way they can read reviews, the menu and decide if it sounds appealing. Also note that a resounding social media presence gives you the leverage to communicate directly with customers. You can address and resolve complaints to protect your reputation. At the same time, you can offer coupons and special deals to get people in the door.

  1. Enjoy Selling

Irrespective of how successful your bakery may seem do not stop selling and developing your products. Remember to steadily seek ways to reach new customers, while holding on to those you already have. Don’t be afraid to experiment with ideas for new recipes or revenue streams. A bold approach like this keeps your audience interested.

Conclusion

Starting a bakery presents many unique situations, and it is different than starting a traditional restaurant or other food service establishment. Nonetheless, bakers typically learn their skills through long-term on-the-job training. Although no formal education is required, you can still willingly decide to go through an apprenticeship program or attend a technical or culinary school.

Joy Nwokoro