The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Business Idea: Feedback please :)

timbit1985's picture

Business Idea: Feedback please :)

I was recently approached by a local pizzaria owner. We did a swap, bread for pizza. He was blown away by the sourdough and wanted to know if I would be interested in starting a bakery next to his pizzaria. I am in the preliminary stages of looking at the invesment, I have a couple of loafs that I can turn out consistently and quickly.


His pizza shop uses all local ingredients whenever possible, and always organic.  My idea would be a soup/bakery, offering lunch, sandwiches, soup. The soups would be made with local, seasonal vegetables. The bread would be made with organic flour. In addition, I would like to offer a variety of 100% locally sourced high quality broths that customers could take home with them to put into their own recipes. Most people now a days just use "stock in a box" (if you know who that comes from, I abhore her along with her stupid E-V-O-O saying) which, when it comes down to it is junk food. All the of the stock bones would come from local free range grassfed, grain finished or pastured animals. Stock offerings would include 

-Chinese Banquet
-White Fish broth
-Shell fish broth

Recipe idea's on how to use the stocks would also be made available. Also, material about the health benefits of good bone broth would be made available.

I have a handle on cost of goods on all of the above, so I know what each product should cost to make. I also know how much it costs per loaf of bread. But I digress, this isn't about the money side of things, it is more about the idea. I think that there is a serious lack of slow, quality food in my community. This surprises me, as it is filled with organic, supplement crazed yuppies with too much money in their pockets.

My question for you today:
Is the name "Breads and Brothal: Soups, Sourdough and Broth's" in bad taste? I think it is humourous, but I know that my humour can lean towards the base on the occasion. Do you think it would put people off, or would it be intriguing enough to draw people in?

Does it sound like a good idea? Locally sourced whole, real food, at a reasonable price. I should be able to do a soup and a serious sandwich/salad for $8-9, which seems like a good value to me.


GregS's picture

You want all the customers possible, so I would beware of a name which is a double entendre. There will always be someone who takes offense. If your community is full of "supplement crazed yuppies", I would surmise that many are always pressed for time (for good reasons or not), so the broth could marketed as "Speedy Savory Stock" or some such. Such people are not against good organic food, it is just that thoughtful home cooking (with your stock) is probably not too high on their list of priorities. You might interview a few. Also, the Small Business Administration has some good checklists about issues to evaluate before you launch a new business.

The sandwich issue revolves around the local market. Would you not be competing with the pizza place next door? Is there a paradox in selling "slow food" next to fast food? What do you think the market area would choose?

Perhaps eventually, area markets would sell your stocks as a frozen product, but there are many, many regulations to deal with.  Personally, I wouldn't jump in to this financially until I'd had a trial run, maybe using the pizza restaurant facilities, in order to know if paying customers share your enthusiasm.

Hope these thoughts are useful.


wally's picture

plus, the name is a sentence long.  Why not something simple like "Breads and Broth"?  But I'd lose the "brothal" (which is actually "brothel").


timbit1985's picture

Thanks for the feedback guys :)


Also, I am aware that it the hooker houses are called brothels, a brothal would be a house that sells broth :P I do see eye to eye with avoiding offense, as it seems a crying shame to lose customers because they found offense with the name of a business. I do have a semi-commercial setup at home, and also have foodsafe level 1/2. There is a local farmers market that runs every sunday, so I was actually considering buying a table for a month and seeing what kind of response there is. It might even make sense just selling broth and bread at the market once a week. Less overhead, no laybor/employee's to pay and less time commitment. Also, I think the customer base that would goto a farmers market might be more "into" the idea of broths.

One thing I do need to look into though is the requirements and permits needed to sell food and animal products at a farmers market. I know I would have to pasteurize and seal the broths in some form of container, but I don't know what the record keeping end of this would like like. Anyone know resources available in Canada that outlines permits required?

Chuck's picture

...the requirements and permits needed to sell food ... at a farmers market...

The reality of the regulations is very very different from state to state (and even county to county). Some states officially have a "cottage food law", some states unofficially routinely make exceptions for farmers' markets, some states are easy-going about sales so long as their very rigorous labelling and bagging laws are followed, and some states are so picky the PTA can't even have an elementary school bake sale any more.

To make matters even more complicated, often the "official" regulations on the books are quite different from what's actually enforced. Also, "health inspectors" will sometimes tell you the only way is a procedure that involves paying plenty of money for some sort of license, and not tell you the whole truth about other ways. Finally, health inspectors may not be too rigorous about really small operators who sell only baked goods if they haven't received any complaints and you don't do anything visibly stupid - so just because somebody says "I do it, apparently the rules are ..." doesn't mean it's actually so, especially not for larger operators or those who sell other things besides baked goods.

You're treading fairly new ground that may have changed dramatically very recently. It seems to me (but I haven't been there myself:-) that a good source is going to a nearby farmers' market and  talking in depth to lots of people (not just one or two) who are actually doing what you want to do.

gmabaking's picture

I agree with Greg's thoughts on the name. While there might be many who find it clever, there are implications of activities that do little to put forth the wholesome, healthy aspect of your business. Would the pizza place do a limited offering of a cup of soup on their menu just to test the appeal? Or maybe use your stock to make their sauces? I really like the idea of being able to purchase your type of stock. As much as I like to make stock (and know what is in there) I find it difficult to manage stock pots and storage. Even buying what is labeled as organic is kind of risky--so I guess this is a lengthy way of saying that yes, I would be happy to buy several types of your stock on a regular basis. Good luck with your plans.

ps. Even bread, broth et al could be offensive but maybe you could find another variation and still not have to spell out brothel (with an "e" even)

Ghobz's picture

I agree with Greg for all he expressed and particularly the name: Some may not want to eat something from a place named this way. Sensibilities vary a lot and you need all the costumers you can get of course. So why take the risk?

Not everybody thinks industrial broth is bad. And not everyone is willing to pay more for quality, not everyone can actually spare extra money for better quality. While the ingredients and process you describe for your broths sound fantastic to my ears, I suspect you'll have a lot of homework to do in order to make sure there is a sufficiently large potential client base for this kind of product in your community. Local is the way to go too, but it can only work if the locals like or can afford the local product you sell.

The broth idea is great, but I can't see it as a "main product". As a side product it may do well to supplement your income and to ground the "personality" and style or your business, but if it was my business, I wouldn't count on the broth to generate enough sales make a decent profit.

The last year before I left Paris, I had to leave my appartment before I could move to Canada. There was a 3 months gap when I couldn't cook where I lived. I used to go very often at a minuscule restaurant on Rive-Gauche, with a view on La Seine, and they served out-of-this world homemade, traditional ethnic soups from North-Africa. The place was packed and double packed all the time. The decor was warm and welcoming, the service quick and friendly, the bread was delicious, the soups were the jewels of the menu. So, why not make delicious soups either to eat on the spot or to go? That wouldn't prevent you to offer ready made packaged broth for your client's pantry or fridge too. But you would widen your client base serving soups and selling broth, with some good hearty sandwiches too.

Again, it all depends on your community and ultimately and most importantly, in my humble opinion, what you can find out doing a proper market research prior to your business plan.

FoodFascist's picture

I like your idea and best of luck to your budding business, however I do agree that you should do a test run with just a few key products - either those you're most interested in testing the market for (like broths) or those that are the cheapest and the least time consuming to make, or a combination of both. I'd maybe stick with 2-3 varieties of bread and 2-3 broths at most to start with so you know your labour isn't going to go to waste.

Also, despite the health benefits of broths you mention (some doctors actually think otherwise), any bone and meat fat products are best avoided with young children and pregnant women. You may want to research this and include a note in your leaflets.

Unlike Greg, I think selling "slow" food next to fast food could be a good idea as you'd probably be minimising competition.

If your trial run goes well and you get to the stage of running a shop you could also consider taking advance orders so you could plan ahead and minimise waste.

Farmers market seems like a good idea but I would also consider supplying a small stock of bread to the pizzeria (since the owner is so interested!) as that way you'd be able to see exactly how it sells where your shop would be.

Also agree you shouldn't rely on broths as the backbone of your business.

Best of luck!

And, oh, certainly a shorter and less controversial name.. with a pinch of salt maybe!

amolitor's picture

I think the broth/stock idea is a loser. It feels like something you want to sell because you wish someone would sell it, and my instinct is that you'll find that nobody's going to buy it, or at any rate not enough people to make any money.

The business also sounds like a big pile of stuff. Bread? Sure. That makes sense. Sandwiches? Well, ok, that makes sense as an extension of the Bread thing, but now you're sourcing a bunch more ingredients, triggering a bunch more regulation, and buying a bunch more equipment. So far, so good. Soups? Well, soup goes with sandwiches, but see above about regulation, ingredients, equipment. Now you want to sell stock? I guess that makes sense if you're making soup.. At least it doesn't require any more equipment or ingredients since you're already making soup, but you DO trigger more regulation, at least. However, at this point you're many steps removed from Bread.

Each step makes sense, maybe, I think you'd do better if you picked 1 or 2 things. Bread and Sandwiches. Sandwiches and Soup. Soup and Stock. Keep it simple.

I dunno about where you are, but I can buy organic stock-in-a-box even here in suburban Virginia.

msbreadbaker's picture


I see you are located in Norfolk, I am over in Middlesex County. (just above Gloucester). It is nice to know someone is so close here on TFL!

Sorry for getting off message. Jean P. (VA)






jaywillie's picture

I also think the stock/broth business is a loser. You're not selling a finished product, so you're going to need a huge population of people who are serious enough about their cooking that they will buy your broth/stock and use it in their own cooking. You will have to do the research and judge if that sort of population exists in your service area. I cook a lot, and I only buy stock about three times a year. I make stock maybe once a year. So I just have serious doubts that you can make that part of your business model work. 

And I don't know about opening a bread bakery with " a couple loafs" that you can "turn out consistently." I think you will need a wider variety of high-quality loaves that you can turn out in quantity with consistency. If you're doing strictly a bread bakery -- meaning you're not going to do any other baked goods -- it had better be bread that's worth a drive for your customers. 

All that doesn't mean that a soup restaurant using your breads, broths and stocks is not a good idea. In fact, I think that's a germ of a decent idea, depending on your market. Skip the bakery aspect -- serve soups and sandwiches at lunch featuring house-made bread. One, you get a no-dinner day (Have you been in the restaurant business? Leave the pizza place for the dinner crowd!) and two, if you get a great demand for your bread, you can bake more and sell them by the loaf. If the demand is overwhelming, you can open a separate bakery. 

AnnaInMD's picture

you are next door to the pizza guy.  Salads is what folks really want who are diet-conscious about pizza.  So a nice crisp slice of bread with a yummy salad would be my ideal lunch counter.  


(Addicted to soups but not close to a pizzeria, grin )