The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mini Bakery? profitable?

ponytl's picture

Mini Bakery? profitable?

Ex restauranteur, always liked the food business, equipment I have, Gemini 100 rotating rack oven, (roll in racks)100's of different pans for every type bread,  Hobart proofer (for the roll in racks) mixers 20qt to 60qt, racks, work tables, displays ect... smaller 10 sheet pan oven... anyway I have equipment... ( I do lack skills)

I'm now a builder developer... and about to develop a fairly large artist/antique mall and I'm thinking it'd be a great place to set up a small artisan bakery... I'd like to keep it under 500sf.  I think it'd be a great anchor for the antique mall...  I can deal with all the codes and requirement,

To justify using 500sf I would need to charge this space at least $2000mo + utilities (5-700mo)

just tossing this out there... just a few more facts/options 

do i want to run this myself?

do I want to build it out and lease it?

It's a great "trendy upper end area"

Also will have an outdoor courtyard farmers market on weekends

weekends will be high traffic and volume... weekdays hard to predict

Many local restaurants nearby so wholesale/commercial accounts are an option as are a drive up window


great forum glad I found it... I could spend hours reading posts







golgi70's picture

But 500 sq feet seems very small to do production and room for customers. But with the building know how and all that equip plus a good location it seems worth working out a business plan to see if it could be viable. 


Good luck with your venture



ponytl's picture

500sf would be the "behind the counter space"  the customers would be in the common area...  I could adjust the space  but was visualizing a space maybe 15' deep and  35' long...  restrooms ect would be in the common area...  picture a food court at the mall... but this would be the only operational "food business" in the 30,000sf  mall...   like fresh baked cookie smell in a homes open house...  I think it might add value to other vendors...  I just don't know if  it would be economically viable for me or an operator




pmccool's picture

about a trailer-based bakery, here, here, here, and here.  Your site would have more square footage but the basic design principles will be similar.


Breadandwine's picture

Oh, ponytl, my word! 

I just want to wish you all the very, very best!

If it's the only food source in the mall, you'll probably want to emphasise the 'to go' side of the business more than if there were competing food outlets around.

As to whether you run it or lease it…either way you're going to need an experienced baker - as you've said, you don't have the skills, ATM. What about going into partnership with the expert baker? Initially, while you get on with the rest of your business you'd be more or less a sleeping partner - with the option of taking on a more hands-on role as your other work declines (presuming a lot here) and you get more experience with the baking side of things.

You've reminded me of my dad, who took over a baker's shop in Blackburn, Lancashire in 1948 with no skills and no experience. (I was 11 at the time - and I was in heaven!) He had two weeks overlap with the previous owner (his brother) to learn the trade - he was a bus conductor prior to this. He made a great success of it, partly down to the fact that he refused to skimp on quality. For instance, his brother told him he should put food colouring in the sponge cakes - so that they would look like they were egg-rich. Dad wouldn't do this, he used eggs! (Real eggs - remember, this was just after the war and there was a shortage.)

And he wouldn't have imitation cream - had to be the real stuff. 

So, high quality, tradition, excellence - but you know all this.

It's late where I am, so I'll finish now, but I'll come back tomorrow and tell you about the miserable old baker I used to work for. Taught me a lot, though - mainly how not to do it! :-D


DavidEF's picture

As B&W said above, get an experienced baker into the space, and never skimp on quality. Some fine artisan breads would surely bring extra value to the other vendors. Just remember that people can get bread at a convenience store, a grocery store, a Wal-Mart, or any of a hundred other places. Your bread will have to be head-and-shoulders above the rest. A small artisan shop focusing on excellent flavor, aroma, and texture, rather than just production rates and profitability, will stand out favorably.

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Hard for me to imagine someone shopping for loaves of bread in an antique mall.

But scones, bagels, muffins, biscotti, cookies, cakes, and really good coffee might be a good fit. Perhaps lunch sandwiches on housemade bread products (bread, ciabatta, focaccia, pita).

I have seen examples of small retail bakeries supplying this kind of baked goods to other coffee shops in the area too.