Monday, April 12, 2004


In line with preparing to open, Manager and I discussed qualities to look for in employees, and training for them.

I introduced her to the Head Flour Monkey she'd hired sight unseen.

They agreed on the fundamentals of running a bakery, recipes, work flow, dependability, time off.

Not only do their work ethics align well, they also like one another. This is important, since they will be working in tense situations which accompany opening a new business.

We also investigated espresso/cappucino machines.

Evedrything is so expensive. We'll discuss financing these pieces of equipment.

Two floor mixers, at least tabletop heavy duty mixer, a laminator for cookies, pie crusts and flat breads, a dough extruder for coils to make the Celtic Knot breads.

Speaking of which - we learned how to make an endless circular knot, and can make it in several sizes and flavors. We also learned how to make small Celtic knot swans and dragons.

We'll also need to buy a fourplex deck oven, and possibly a rack oven.

Then, of course, there are the counters, sinks, refrigerator, freezer, storage containers, proofers (warm and cold), shelves, and a washer and dryer for the linens and fabric items we must have in the bakery.

That's just the back area.

Up front, we'll need a coffee grinder, an espresso. cappucino machine, a series of coffee pots (and we do want to provide French Press coffee, but those pots are inexpensive in comparison), a near boiling water tap for brewing hot teas, a milk frother (which may come as part of the espresso machine), storage containers for the coffee beans and teas, cold and hot display counters, and dry display counters, cash register, order computer, tables, chairs, and the cups, saucers, mugs, bowls, and flatware we'll need.

Of course, there will be the consumable supplies, like napkins, carryout containers, and such.

Fortunately, the business proposal, except for some fine tuning, is finished.

The "cook book" is almost ready. The employee handbook is close to being finished, but the training manual will have to wait until we know which machines we'll buy.

Next month, we need to set the business up unser its Subchapter S Corporation status, and determine what we will do with stock.

I know, I know, we'll be offering stock as part of the employee pay package, still, exactly how does stock work? We'll need to learn that.

Then, we need to actually apply for the loans. Our bank offers an unsecured loan of $50,000, and secured loans up to $100,000, plus the possibility of a SBA guaranteed loan, grants for being Native American, female and opening a business that is male dominated. And depending on which location we choose, there may also be development grants available from the city.

As soon as the loan process is underway, we'll start seriously looking at the locations we've already chosen.

The next step after that will be to negotiate the rental.

This should take most of May.

In June, we'll work more on grant and loan applications, take another tour of local suppliers, and solidify our contacts and posible start negotiating for those supplies. We'll get the business licenses in June, because by then, we should know where the bakery will be. We can also get business cards printed, and brochures to help in the purchasing and pre-advertising.

In July, if we haven't laready signed the lease, we'll do so. At that time we can start the actual advertising, finish up any loan and grant applications, and begin designing the layout of the bakery. We'll also get hte necessary insurances at that point. In August, we should be ready to start installing the large equipment, and get the first of the inspections done. At the end of August, the first week of September, we'll take another bakery tour to the East Coast, and there's a bakery seminar to attend. This will hopefully help give us a little more confidence in what we're doing. Maybe some tips to ease things.

September will see us madly finishing up the decorating and furnishing of the bakery, getting second stage inspections completed, finalizing our suppliers of fine ingredients, hiring our employees and training them, ramping up our advertising, launching the website, getting the necessary printing done, and re-evaluating our financial situation in case we need a little more than what we've already gotten.

Of course, we hope to stay under budget. Who doesn't?

The very end of September, early OCtober, we'll have a "soft" opening, unadvertisined so we can work out any bugs and kinks in our work flow, and get everyone trained up to speed. We'll test teh equipment at that time, and be able to get replacements or repairs in case they don't work out right. We'll get the final inspections done.

Then, the end of October, we'll have our Press Opening, followed by the Grand Opening.

Our supporter in Louisiana is sure to offer us sound advice and good, solid suggestions.

After we open, we'll re-evaluate our mid and long term plans, to see what needs adjusting.

I think, but we haven't decided yet, that we should save the Italian ices and sodas until Spring. Since we are opening at the start of winter, there will be less demand for such beverages, at least according to research with businesses who sell such products. If we are as successful as I expect we will be - on track for our financial projections, then Spring would be the right time to make the first expansion step. Adding in Italian sodas will be just the thing.

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