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The Bakery Hiring Guide

We keep hearing about the “great resignation” but it’s not a new issue for small bakery owners, and attracting and keeping staff has been a long-time number one headache.  This got us thinking at Berica, so we have put together this guide to make your next hire an easy and seamless process.

In this article you will learn about the different roles your business needs to fill – and some top hiring tips to help build your team exactly how you want to.

TYPES OF ROLES AS A BAKERY

A bakery may need a variety of employees, depending on the size and product range.  Small bakeries tend to have cross-function roles, with employees filling in when and where needed.  Most bakeries will need a kitchen prep worker to assist the baker and a front-of-house employee to engage with customers and process sales.  Depending on what baked products you produce, you may need to employ multiple bakers or perhaps a speciality chef to prepare certain baked goods for sale.

General Manager

The general manager runs the daily operations of the business and may also handle the marketing aspect.  This role is usually filled by the owner.  At a small shop, the baker can also function as the general manager.

What does this role entail?

  • Order supplies
  • Serving as the main point of contact for the company
  • Hiring/scheduling staff

What to look for when hiring…

  • Prior management experience
  • Knowledge of the industry
  • Experience in hiring and people management skills

Baker/Specialty Chef

The baker is ultimately responsible for producing the baked goods that you will sell.  They may be assisted by a kitchen prep worker.

What does this role entail?

  • An early start – work usually starts at 4am
  • Preparing ingredients for a variety of goods
  • Operating ovens and other kitchen machinery
  • Preparing a range of baked goods according to recipes
  • Hiring/scheduling staff

What to look for when hiring…

  • Ability to lift heavy loads
  • Ability to work independently with little or no supervision
  • Prior baking experience
  • Has an eye for attention and detail

Front-of House

The front-of-house employee is the face of your company and their primary role is to engage with customers and process sales.  The person in this role should be friendly and knowledgeable about the products so that they can advise customers.

What does this role entail?

  • Greeting customers and processing sales
  • Answering questions about the products and making recommendations
  • Ad hoc tasks around the shop

What to look for when hiring…

  • Outgoing and friendly personality that customers can relate to
  • Comfortable talking to customers and selling
  • Passion for baking would be a big plus

Kitchen Prep

As your business expands, the Kitchen Prep role is an important role to fill to ensure that you can continue to increase production at scale.

What does this role entail?

  • Kneading dough
  • Mixing ingredients
  • Prepping oven
  • Ad hoc tasks to assist the baker

What to look for when hiring…

  • Prior baking/cooking experience
  • Independent worker
  • Flexible schedule and a “can do” attitude
  • Great time management skills

BAKERY HIRING TIPS

The feedback that we get is that hiring employees can be a nerve-wracking experience. We get that totally – but it doesn’t have to be that way!  Let’s break the process down into four basic steps:

  1. Planning
  2. Recruiting
  3. Interviewing
  4. Completing the onboarding process

We have compiled some tips for each of these steps.

  • Plan to Staff Your Business

The size of your bakery and the range of offerings will depend on the number and the skillsets of employees you hire.  As the business grows, additional bakers and kitchen prep employees can be gradually hired to meet the increase in demand.

Initially, a bakery may consist of an owner/baker/manager and a second employee who may well be both the front-of-house employee, greeting customers, and the kitchen prep worker.

A critical point to keep in mind when hiring is scheduling availability – most bakeries open very early, around 4am to ensure that your baked goods are ready to sell later in the morning.

  • Develop a Recruiting Strategy

There are many avenues for recruiting; including Seek, flyers, local newspapers, word-of-mouth even.  Hiring local candidates can help build relationships with local customers, ensure reliability, and foster loyalty.

  • Interview with Confidence

With careful planning and a recruitment strategy in place, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.

The interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business.  Remember, they will probably be more nervous than you!

However, throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most bakery owners look for employees who are:

  • Flexible
  • Customer orientated
  • Knowledgeable and want to learn more about the bakery industry

We have compiled some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • Describe a time you’ve had to work while under stress?
  • Talk about the last time you baked something that didn’t turn out as expected?
  • What did you do to fix it?
  • Were you ultimately successful? 

Set up Payroll

Once you have a growing number of employees, it’s time to set up a payroll.  Not only does it save you time for running your business, but it also helps with the end of year tax requirements.  There are many suppliers who can do this, including Xero.

We hope that this article has been useful in recruiting your next baker hire. 

In the meantime, we welcome you to contact us on 0800 237 422 or email us at sales@berica.co.nz to discuss your packaging challenges and you will be sent samples to ensure the best solution prior to purchasing.

Click here to find out more about very sturdy cake box offerings.

berica.co.nz | 0800 237 422 | sales@berica.co.nz

About the author

Veronica Aris

Veronica Aris

Veronica has more than 20 years in senior management roles, leading marketing and sales strategies that include primary care consumables, pharmaceuticals, natural health care supplements, consumer and safety products within B2B and B2C.

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