The Fresh Loaf

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Looking for business partners or advice - NOT a small bakery startup

dmitry_it's picture

Looking for business partners or advice - NOT a small bakery startup


As a passionate but amateur baker (my day job is IT, and I love it), I'm turning to the esteemed baking community to find advice and partners, in what I would call a mission, while any banker would call a business (it's a matter of perspective and priority).

In short, I have a great product (cake / dessert), and my mission is to let it be enjoyed by as many people as possible.
Profit is a factor too, of course, but not an overwhelming one (for example, I wouldn't ever consider making sacrifice in quality or taste to reduce the cost, but would focus on any cost reduction which doesn't need sacrifice in quality).

I am NOT talking about starting a small bakery business to bake by myself. This is about finding contract manufacture / private label service providers, where I provide the recipe and money, and an existing established bakery business does the rest, by order, in quantities.


What I have:

-- Product of a highest quality (cake / dessert of my own unique recipe) with a complex exquisite taste, which is:

  • so universally loved by people of all cultural backgrounds (tested on hundreds of people in different offices with very diverse workforce, from junior clerks to senior banker executives), that it has clear potential to conquer NYC (where I would like to start) and then the nation (which is the ultimate goal); 
  • equally suited as a complement for morning coffee, a lazy lunch dessert, a pinnacle of a great dinner in any upscale restaurant, or a dessert part of catering offer for any level of business (meetings, conferences); 
  • so unique that you won't find it anywhere else in the country, yet made entirely with simple and readily available ingredients;
  • can be frozen for storage and delivery, and unfrozen before sale and consumption, without any loss of look or taste (tested and proven); which makes it easier to start with larger batches, and pick up sales gradually;

-- Money to invest in setting up and starting the operations; not an infinite amount, but enough to start.


What is the plan:
-- Find an automated contract manufacture facility which would produce (source, bake, package, label, freeze, store, deliver) batches of the Product by order;

  • ideally, this would be one medium or large facility, which can do all of the above - I provide the recipe, instructions and money, and they do the rest;
  • alternatively, the above stages (from production to storage and logistics) can be covered by different independent partners;
  • I have tested extensively in my home kitchen, and as a result decided not to consider smaller manual-production bakeries, for the following reasons:
  • -- manual production performance is quite low, so the cost of final product including cost of labor ends up very high;
  • -- producing large volumes would be impossible, or too slow and prohibitively expensive (per pound of product);
  • -- small mom-and-dad bakeries would have high incentive to just take my recipe and do the rest without me;
  • I would not consider (at least initially) renting a kitchen or building my own, and hiring bakers to produce the product ourselves, for the same reasons as above, plus this would require my full time focus, which I'm trying to avoid (love my primary IT job);

-- In parallel, make arrangements with sales venues - restaurants, cafeterias, groceries, Starbucks, etc.

  • - at this point, I have full confidence that given the characteristics of the Product, selling it will not be a problem - focus should be on efficient production and logistics;
  • - as the first production batch is available, give away free samples to promising sales venues, to attract interest and get orders;
  • - I may have a good shot with my employer's own corporate cafeterias (thousands of clients daily), if I can get support from senior executives;

-- Look into online sales (Amazon looks very promising, as it can take care of everything post-production, including storage and delivery to clients);
-- Continue to work on recipes, of the original Product and any follow-up or related products (I have a few ideas, which taste great too);


What I need:
-- Advice and/or help in finding such automated manufacture facility, that would take care of the whole production cycle;

  • I give them the recipe and money - and they do the rest;
  • I understand the need for solid NDA to protect the recipe, as recipes cannot be patented (or can they?);

-- Partners with administrative experience in baking industry, who can help run the operations;

  • I'm not greedy, and am ready to consider different levels of contribution and compensation - as long as the mission is advanced; 
  • this is as much in your interest as it is in mine!
  • as I mentioned, I would like to keep my IT job (which I love), and setup the baking operation with minimal administrative involvement from me personally;

-- Any help with sales would be an added bonus, although I expect to take care of sales myself;


So, I have a great mission and money to start, but don't seem to find the right entrance to get things going.


Any constructive comments or suggestions are welcome!

Please try to avoid telling me why this won't work, as I'm looking for ways to make it work.  :-)


NZBaked's picture


I work for a large industrial scale baking company. Some of the products we bake for retailers, using their brands and in some cases their recipes.

Before I get going, where are you from? Do you know much about large scale food production? What sort of bakery plant are you imagining would fit your needs?

I would hope you have a deep understanding on what the manufacturing process will be for your product, and how plant style bakeries function before you dive into searching for suitable plant bakeries to manufacture for your product.

I can tell you that if you have a speciality product- to make it high quality, constantly the same, day in and day out, on a large scale with low overheads it takes expensive, unique, very specialized equipment.

Your manufacturer will have a lot of equipment, but your product must conform with how their plant functions. With a unique product as you describe, it will likely require additional equipment.

For something as you describe, you will have to have a very significant amount of money to negotiate your contract, engineer the process and possibly fund additional equipment. It will be to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it is going to take all of your time.

I am not naysaying here, it is something that is doable, but you have to sit back and really consider what is involved. A great idea/recipe is something that would be best grown from the ground up. Start small and let the product prove itself. You can always upscale your production later.