Bread is part of every Filipino’s diet, just like rice is a Pinoy staple food. Gone are the days when a small neighborhood bakery was enough to supply all the requirements of a community. Competition is tight nowadays, but you can still have your own slice of the pie if you know how to work with what you have.
You may have the resources, but not everyone can open a bakery. “This business is a labor of love. You have to have a passion for baking. You don’t have to be a pastry chef but at least you must have some form of training,” says Luisito Chavez, owner of Tinapayan Festival, a chain of bakeshops with outlets in Manila and Taguig City.
Chavez is also the vice president of the Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association Inc. (FCBAI), an industry organization. His fi rst venture was a gasoline station, but he saw more potential in the food business. He enrolled in a baking course until he was able to develop his own recipes, like the one for his popular ensaymada.
On the other hand, Joe Ilao of Mico’s Bakery in Quezon City got into the industry after his wife’s family handed down the business to him. The bakeshop was put up in the 1980s with only P50,000 in capital.
Chavez and Ilao share some advice on how to make it in the bakery biz:
Capital. You’ll need around P300,000 to P500,000 to open a small start-up bakery. “Most of the amount will be used to purchase baking equipment. A dough kneader alone would cost P150,000,” says Ilao. Bakeries used to rely on manual labor to knead dough, but while this mano-mano method can trim down your investment costs, it could eventually take a toll on your business. “The consistency of your products will vary because bakers get tired from kneading. Machines don’t complain,” he adds.
With more complex equipment and store layout, your starting capital could go up to as much as P700,000 to P1 million. “Renovation may cost a lot, especially if you want to have an area where customers can sit and eat,” advises Chavez.
Location. Many bakeries begin as homebased businesses. Its main advantage, of course, is lower overhead expenses because you don’t have to pay for rent. If you can’t convert your house into a bakery, just find a good location—it isn’t very difficult. “Any populated area is a good venue for a bakery. It can be near a public market, a jeepney terminal or a big community,” Ilao shares.
Mico’s Bakery opened an outlet several blocks away from its main store. While Ilao pays P23,000 a month to rent the place, he says foot traffic in the area is high, which translates to better sales.