4 years at The Back Home Bakery
Hello Fresh Loafians,
Yes, it's hard to believe, but July 28, 2012 marked our fourth anniversary as a successful bakery! Thanks to our very loyal customers, product consistency and quality, plus a lot of hard work, we've continued to grow.
I thought some of you might be interested in a bakery update from here, so below is a brief summary of our 2012 product line, where the income comes from, and my work schedule for the year.
During the busy season (detailed below), about 60% of our business comes from pastries (laminated doughs mostly) and 40% of it is in breads. We sell at two farmers' markets per week, one of them is a morning market, one is in the evening. The Saturday morning market is by far the busiest where we sell about 150 loaves of bread and 400 individual pastries. Everything is baked and packaged the morning of the market (between 2:00am and 7:00am) so timing is critical. We sell 6 different types of breads ranging from soft rolls to baguettes and 11 different pastries, from croissants and palmiers to peach turnovers and sticky buns.
If you've seen our '5 minutes at the Back Home Bakery' video featuring Paul, Sharon and I, you'll have an idea of what the end of our first farmers' market season looked like. Three years later, production has increased 60% without increasing the work hours (believe it or not, they've actually decreased as compared to year number 1 and 2).
As you can see in the schedule below, the income for the bakery comes from both wholesale accounts and selling directly to customers. Wholesale accounts consist of either stores/restaurants that buy my products directly or those that provide a space for me to sell my goods. The ones that buy directly from me receive a larger discount since I don't have to label their packaging and they provide consistent business. In the other stores that provide space for me, I choose the amount and type of bread that I will sell and hope that customers buy it. If the bread doesn't sell, I am stuck with old bread, if it sells, they pay the retailer and the retailer pays me pocketing some money for themselves. After a few years this has become very predictable and there is very little waste.
I sell directly to customers through farmers' markets (basically a six-month season) and special orders (holidays, parties...). Another option I offer year-round is Friday deliveries. I require a $10 minimum and the delivery must be 'en-route', plus it must fit my baking schedule. I have quite a few customers that take advantage of this in the off-season.
Here's an outline of how my 2012 work schedule goes for the year and from week to week.
The year is divided into 'the busy season' and 'the off season'.
The Busy Season runs from mid April to mid October. During the summertime, Sharon or an intern helps out: this is a typical work week
Sunday: 9:00am to 6:00pm pastries and prep for the week
Monday: 3:30am to 6:00pm wholesale breads, deliveries, pastries and prep
Tuesday: 3:30am to 8:00pm breads, pastries, and sales for night time farmers' market
Wednesday: same as Monday
Thursday: 3:30am to 6:00pm laminating dough, more pastry prep
Friday: 3:00am to 6:00pm wholesale breads, deliveries, and prep for Saturday
Saturday: 1:00am to 1:00pm farmers' market production and sales
5:00pm to 6:30pm clean-up and pastries prep
*on early morning wake-up days, I have a 1 hour nap after lunch
The Off-Season runs from mid-October to mid-April with of course holidays scattered here and there. For the last few years we've taken a one or two week vacation during spring break time. During that time, the bakery closes. This is a typical work week during the off-season.
Monday: 3:30-1:30 wholesale breads, deliveries, and prep
Wednesday: same as Monday
Thursday: off or laminated doughs as necessary
Friday: same as Monday
During my off days I get a chance to do fun stuff like work on the house, try new recipes out, catch up on my emails, make videos, and plow the driveway of snow. Some things are more fun than others.
Anyway, that's about it from the Back Home Bakery in Kalispell, MT. Happy baking to everybody.