Should I Become a Bakery Manager?
Bakery managers direct and manage the activities at a bakery by overseeing the work of employees, ordering supplies, making schedules and marketing products. In addition to those duties and responsibilities, bakery managers need to have the knowledge and skills to bake cakes, breads and pastries. Managers may be former pastry chefs or bakers who have earned a promotion through their work and experience. Work may be stressful, with many hours spent standing and meeting the pressures of deadlines. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015 a median annual salary for food services managers of $48,690.
To become a bakery manager, you’ll need at least a high diploma or equivalent, but an associate’s degree in pastry or culinary arts can be helpful. Previous experience working as a baker is typically necessary. There is certification available, but it’s voluntary. You’ll also need leadership skills, the ability to communicate with customers and work in a stressful environment, time management skills, and the ability to stand for long periods and lift heavy items.
Steps to Become a Bakery Manager
Let’s take a look at what steps you should take if you want to become a bakery manager.
Step 1: Gain Experience
Prospective bakery managers need to know every aspect of bakery function and operation. The optimal way to learn this essential knowledge is to gain experience working in a bakery. Bakers may start off as apprentices or trainees and learn their craft on the job from experienced bakers. In addition to learning about baking various cakes and other pastries, bakers receive training involving food handling, nutrition and health regulations.
Step 2: Enroll in an Associate’s Degree Program
Although a degree is not necessary to gain employment in this field, postsecondary training generates more competitive candidates for bakery management positions. Many culinary schools and community colleges offer associate’s degree programs that are composed of coursework and practical experience in the field. Individuals can pursue programs in culinary arts or pastry arts. In addition to cooking and baking courses, these programs also contain courses in business math, accounting and entrepreneurship.
Step 3: Apply for a Position at a Bakery
Working as an entry-level baker or in a customer service position is a common first step for entry into the field. Many individuals work their way up from entry-level positions to assistant manager then to bakery manager. Employers often promote from within a company after evaluating an employee’s skill set and work ethic.
Step 4: Earn Certification
The Retail Bakers of America offers certification that demonstrates a professional’s knowledge and skills in the field. Four certifications are available with each level requiring a certain level of experience and successful passing of an exam. The highest level, a certified master baker, must have eight years of experience and 30 hours each of professional development training and sanitation coursework.
To become a bakery manager, you’ll need a strong background as a baker so you can work your way up to a management position.