Five Main Bakery Problems and Solutions

There is a lot of work that must be put into operating a bakery.  Just as easy things can go right, some problems can arise.  No matter what problem you face, there is always a solution.   

The five main bakery problems and solutions are: 

  • Problems are planning, organization, product promotion, having the right equipment, and baking issues.  
  • Solutions are creating a budget/menu, using a calendar/software, hosting events and offering online orders, having a checklist, and learning some baking tips. 

In the following paragraphs, you will learn how to solve these bakery problems and/or even avoid them. 

Planning (Create a Budget/Menu)

Five Main Bakery Problems and Solutions

You need to have a plan for most things in life. Whether it be planning your next trip to the grocery store, a dinner reservation for the night, or even planning a business.  When there is a plan in place you will find that problems tend to not be as severe as they could be if there was no planning involved.  Planning for a bakery should include budget planning and menu planning. 

The first step in any aspect of life is to create a budget plan. Budgets need to be reviewed regularly and need to be revised as needed.  There will be times when you may get a customer who needs a big order at the last minute and you may need to tweak the budget to match the customer’s needs.  

Here are a few tips that will help you with budget planning.  First, review the books throughout the week, month, quarter, and year.  Be sure to know where your bakery is standing and always compare your revenue and profit reports year over year (not month over month).  Due to seasonal promotions, you always want to compare year over year to see your progress for your sales goals and growth. 

Secondly, you want to make sure that your rent, utilities, and employees are budgeted into the equation. This is important, because if it is a slow month, you may want to cut back on hours for your employees to help offset budgeting (such as no overtime). 

Thirdly, in budgeting planning, you will need to make sure you have enough inventory to make the month a success.  Always shop around.  You want to get the best price on all your inventory.  This will allow you to keep your products at your regular price as well as possibly be able to stock up on certain products that you know you will always need, such as flour and sugar.  

Planning out your menu is important also in a bakery.  Yes, you will want to have the basic products all bakeries have, but you will also want to have something in your bakery that will set your bakery apart from others. Be sure to price your menu accordingly to where you will be profitable, but also price-friendly for your customers. 

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Organization (Using a Calendar/Software)

Your bakery will require organization. The look and the feeling of the bakery are how organization shall be determined.  The look is very simple, this will be a result of things having a place and being labeled. The feeling will be the cleanliness as well as how easy it is for you as the bakery owner to be able to locate a document or take a customer’s custom order. 

Invoices and bills will be sent as well as you will have customer orders that you need to fill. How will you keep all this organized? There are so many different things you can do to help you stay organized. Let’s start with invoicing and bills.  

Owning a bakery is a lot of work and because you are human you cannot expect yourself to remember every little thing.  One way to stay organized is to scan in all your bills and invoices (or go paperless and they will be in your email).  Another great way to stay organized is to have a digital calendar. You can have all of your bills and invoices that are due marked in this calendar and send notifications to help you stay on track to not miss a payment.

Another great way to use your digital calendar is that you can put all your customer orders into the calendar to help keep everything organized.  You will need a backup plan in the event you lose access to your digital calendar.  A great solution to this problem would be to print out your calendar so that you will have a copy of it.  Keep all invoices and customer orders placed in a file cabinet or file organizer.  This will help you in the event you are not able to access your digital documents.

With the idea of staying organized, you may decide to create a spreadsheet or two. Spreadsheets are a great way to stay organized, however, you want to be careful, it is known for bakery owners to have too many spreadsheets and then lose control.  The solution to this would be to look into software that will help you stay organized and not lose focus of the main concept. 

Product Promotion (Events & Online Orders)

Five Main Bakery Problems and Solutions

Knowing how to promote your product is very important when it comes to the success of a bakery.  If you do not promote your product, then you will not see the results you are looking for to get your product sold and out in the world. What if people do not know about your bakery? How do you get the word out?

For starters, you should put some free samples out for them to try. It will show them how confident you are with your product and once they taste it, your customers will feel like they must buy the product. 

Here are some great marketing solutions to help you get your bakery’s name out in the area. 

  • Get involved with the community (participate in vendor events).
  • Promote seasonal items.
  • Have a website that allows people to view the menu and order online.
  • Have an activity during the day of the week, such as decorating your cupcake day. 
  • Have a flavor of the week (special pricing). 

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Right Equipment

Another problem bakeries face is not having all the right equipment. A great solution would be to have a checklist.  Checklists are a great tool to help you stay organized and help you to be able to complete an order smoothly. 

For example, if you want to make some carrot cake cupcakes you would want to make sure you have all the ingredients for those cupcakes. Your checklist might look something like this: 

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder 
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla

Just like you would do a checklist for these cupcakes, you want to make sure you do a checklist for all the equipment that you will need for your bakery.  A simple checklist for equipment may look like this:

  • Small Mixer
  • Heavy Duty Mixer
  • Oven
  • Stove Top
  • Microwave
  • Spatulas
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Microwave/Oven Safe Dishes
  • Baking Pans
  • Cupcake/Muffin Pans
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons

Another important piece of equipment is workstations.  Workstations are perfect and help keep things organized and moving smoothly.  For example, you may have a cooling station to allow the cakes and cupcakes to cool before icing, as well as an icing station once the cakes are cooled enough to iced.  

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Baking Issues

Have you ever baked a cake and realized that it did not come out the way you hoped it would? Sometimes things happen and they do not turn out the way it is expected. Nine main things can happen to the cake are:

  • Too Dense
  • Cake Overflows
  • A Sunken Cake
  • Stuck to the Pan
  • Crusty Edges
  • Cake Batter is Too Stiff
  • Fruit Falling to the Bottom
  • Cake Sides Caving In
  • Cake Top Cracked

These things happen all the time, however, anytime you are faced with an issue, you can be sure there is a solution.  If your cake is too dense, it simply just means that the batter did not get enough air into the batter during the mixing stage.  It could also mean that your baking soda and baking powder might be no good. Lastly, you want to use cake flour and not all-purpose flour. Oddly, there is a difference and you can tell. 

Five Main Bakery Problems and Solutions

I have been known for doing this a lot, and that is overflowing cakes. The easiest solution is to be careful when filling the pan with batter. You don’t want more than two-thirds of the pan filled with batter.  If your cake comes out sunken, that means the cake didn’t cook long enough. The best solution is to check your cake with a toothpick or a utensil to make sure the batter comes out clean before taking the cake completely out of the oven. 

There is nothing worse than a cake that is stuck to the pan. There are three things you can do to get the best results.  The first is to make sure the pan is well greased. Secondly, you can sprinkle some flour on top of the greased pan to help. Thirdly, add a piece of parchment paper to the pan before adding the cake batter to the pan.  

Sometimes the edges of the cake come out crusty and may look a little burnt. This is a result of having too much grease. Who knew that you could over-grease a cake pan?  Ever stirred your cake batter just to find it was too stiff? That’s ok, we have all done it at least once. This just means that too much flour was added to the cake mix or that the cake batter was stirred for too long. It is important to pay attention to your mixing times and measuring. I personally just splash a little water or milk to help the batter to loosen up a little. 

I absolutely love fruit in my cakes. However, if your cake batter is too wet or dense, the fruit will sink straight to the bottom of the pan. The best solution would be to cut up the fruit into small pieces so that it will mix easier with the cake batter and will be throughout the cake. 

Sometimes, cakes will sink on the sides. This can be a result of either the pan being over-greased or because the cake sat in the cake pan too long to cool. Be sure to put your cake on a cake rack when it is time for cooling. I just hate it when I pull the cake out of the oven and the top of the cake is cracked. This happens when the oven is too hot. I find it best to lower the temperature by five degrees lower than what the recipe calls for and it helps the batter to cook without cracking the top of the cake. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does SWOT stand for and how can I use it in my bakery? 

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This can be used in your bakery to help you determine what areas may need adjusting to help continue the success of the bakery. 

Are there any major weaknesses I should try to avoid in my bakery? 

Yes, a major weakness would be having a staff member who cannot answer questions for a customer.  Having a knowledgeable staff member is very important, especially when it comes to knowing what ingredients are in the products. 

To learn more on how to start your own bakery business check out my startup documents here

This blog post is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained is not intended to constitute legal advice or to substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney.