Earning a profit and making a reputation for your bakery and café often work their way to the top of the priority list, but first and foremost, food service establishments of any and all kinds have a responsibility to the public. You might have great products and huge margins, but if you can’t keep the doors open, it doesn’t matter.
Much of your day to day business as an owner or manager will consist of keeping the legal and regulatory requirements in order. It’s a fulltime job in and of itself that exists separately from production and sales. Labor laws, food safety, human resources, insurance, etc., have a big effect on the success of your operation. To keep up with all these things is imperative.
To start with, bakeries need to figure out any and all government entities that will require permits and licensing, and those organizations that will inspect your establishment and what their inspections entail. State, county and municipal governments might all require different things depending on the location of your bakery café. Also, your bakery might reside in a location that only requires county or state compliance. It’s imperative to know this so you can best prepare for any and all inspections.
If you are just opening your bakery, The US Small Business Administration (SBA) at, provides the “Permit Me” tool that helps determine all the permits and licenses you’ll need according to the location of your establishment.
The health codes for foodservice establishments and food retailers with vary from location to location. All health codes will require the safe handling, preparation and storage of food items. Permits from your local environmental health agency showing you’re in compliance with state, county and federal must be displayed, as well as all employees maintaining good hygiene. Foodservice establishments get a health inspection approximately once two to four times a year and the best practice is to post local health codes for frequent reference and compliance.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Individual states also have minimum wages, and some of those wages are scheduled to change in the coming years. Also, some states have built in stipulations to the minimum wage based on size of the business etc.
The best way to handle minimum wage with employees is through your state of operations government website. Know the current minimum wage and any scheduled future changes to it. For example, California’s minimum wage situation needs to be worked through with some thought.
- California: $9.00 ($10.00 on January 1, 2016)
- Emeryville: $12.25 for small businesses with 55 employees, $14.44 companies with more than 55 employers
- Los Angeles: ($10.50 effective July 2016 with increases each year until it reaches $15 in 2020)
- Oakland: $12.25
- Richmond: $9.60 (increase to $11.52 in 2016, $12.30 in 2017, and $13 in 2018, with exceptions based on employer)
- San Diego: $9.75 (increase to $10.50 January 1, 2016, $11.50 January 1, 2017
- San Francisco: $12.25 ($13.00 effective July 2016, $14.00 effective July 2017, $15.00 effective July 2018)
- San Jose: $10.30
Like most other foodservice laws, the laws concerning tips vary from state to state. However, in general, if your employees earn more than $30 a month in tips, the Department of Labor considers them tipped employees. Depending on the state of operation, employers might be allowed to take a credit for an amount of the tips earned and apply it to the coverage of minimum wage.
Overtime remains standard across the board. Anything over 40 hours a week, employers must pay at least time and a half of the employee’s hourly wage.