Written by: Nate Searles
What to ask when trying to find the right bakery manufacturer for your bakery/dessert project
The first question you need to ask is, Are you looking for off the shelf products from a manufacturer or for the manufacturer to make your recipe as a custom product? If off the shelf, then a lot of the items in the rest of this post are not as important. If custom, then the other questions in this blog are going to help streamline the process for you and your prospective manufacturer.
The most important attribute to look for is a manufacturer that is honest from the start. If the manufacturer says they can do anything and everything you may want to ask more questions. Manufacturers know what they are good at and what they are not good at. Ask them their core strengths and make sure you are not a test customer for the manufacturer. Talk to the manufacturer about product development and their capabilities if this is important to you.
Bring up pricing at the start of the process. This will help the manufacturer know what you need and make sure that when developing the product they keep price in mind and bring up issues that could cause an impact in price. You should look for a manufacturer that is relatively close to your customer base. The reason is this will help in freight costs and make your pricing competitive. Discuss with the manufacturer the minimums up front as this can be a deal breaker. Some manufactures have large minimums, and some will work with customers on smaller minimums to get them up and running. Finally, always discuss timing up front. Ask the manufacturer where this project fits in their priorities and find out if the timeline you have will work with them.
You need to decide if you want a transactional relationship or you want a partnership. If transactional that is ok, but be upfront about it as it will save both parties a lot of time. If you are looking for a partner, then the questions/attributes mentioned above will help you get to that partner you are looking for so they can help you be more successful as you grow. Be open and honest as it will streamline the process and make it easier on all parties.