Author Topic: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery  (Read 2952 times)

gaja

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Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« on: January 14, 2017, 03:03:07 PM »
Do any of you dream of running a cafe, bakery, bed and breakfast, or something like this? Have you had any experiences as a tourist that you will remember fondly forever? What does it take to give someone that little extra when they are visiting a new place?

My dream does not make sense financially, but I think it would give us an opportunity to live an interesting life in a location I love, and bring some life back to a small coastal village. My grandfather ran a bakery and grocery store in a tiny village at the west coast of Norway, with their family of seven, mother in law, and the baker with his family living upstairs. After most of the kids moved out, my grandmother ran a Bed and breakfast there for a few years. I think it was mainly for fun and company, but it also offset some the costs of caring for a house that size.

It will be many years before both we and the house are ready for this. But until that I'm looking for inspiration and good ideas for how we should get ready to develop the business: how to make the rooms as cozy and attractive as possible, what kind of food to serve; should we focus on baked goods, or also have a cafe with some traditional dinner options? What other services should we offer? Sightseeing, guided mountain walks, boat rentals or guided fishing trips? Making beer could be fun, but we could also make hard liquor from apples and other stuff in the garden (we have loads of family recipes, but it has never been done legally).

For the last 25-30 years we have only used the house as a family summer retreat. It is 200 m from the beach and marina, and walking the other direction will take you into the mountains and the national parks of Trollheimen and Dovre. Still, it is close to the main road, with easy access by car and bus. We have fishing rights in the fjord and mountains, and could easily get hunting rights through some cousins.

The house has eight bedrooms, two kitchens, the bakery and five living rooms, but only two real bathrooms. We would need to invest a substantial amount of work and money to get everything in order. But as a FIRE dream, it could make sense. If we change our mind in the middle of it, the worst thing that could happen is that we have a nicer summer house.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 07:41:54 PM »
That looks like an awful lot of work for FIRE.

Both an BedNBreakfast or a bakery would involve waking up every day very early to start making breakfast/baking.
I bet it is more work than your regular day job.

In FIRE, I do not want a full time, or more likely 60 hours of work per week.

It does not make FIRE-sense, it does not make financial sense.

Don't do it.

kiwi

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 10:14:30 PM »
What an awesome idea! It sounds really appealing. I've had similar thoughts - a street-front co-working space was one of them.

Maybe you could you try this in a small way, without investing too much time and money, and see if you like it? Perhaps doing an AirBnB in your current home?

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 07:37:48 AM »
That looks like an awful lot of work for FIRE.

Both an BedNBreakfast or a bakery would involve waking up every day very early to start making breakfast/baking.
I bet it is more work than your regular day job.

In FIRE, I do not want a full time, or more likely 60 hours of work per week.

It does not make FIRE-sense, it does not make financial sense.

Don't do it.

This may sound harsh, but I must say I agree. I know a baker in our locality and he works from 3AM to 3PM six days a week. Add the B&B on top of that and... yikes. Since I FIREd I have been doing a lot of yard work and some lumber work and well, let's just say I can see why our grandfathers longed to live in cities and do away with lighting fires, chopping wood, felling trees etc etc. Now - I find it all satisfying in a way sitting in an office just isn't. But it's HARD WORK. Something to consider...

limeandpepper

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 08:21:03 AM »
I agree with others, this would be hard work, however, I think you might possibly be able to balance that out by only having the business open for a small portion of the year (presumably if you're retired you're doing it for fun and don't need the money so it doesn't matter that you're not open year-round), like 3 months per year. Work hard and play hard!

Do any of you dream of running a cafe, bakery, bed and breakfast, or something like this? Have you had any experiences as a tourist that you will remember fondly forever? What does it take to give someone that little extra when they are visiting a new place?

Fond memories... in relation to the places where we stay? Honestly, the friendly resident dogs or cats or other animals at the guesthouses are always a winner for me! And friendly guesthouse owners who go out of their way to be helpful, and with whom we hang out and have great chats or jamming sessions, those are also tops. So I guess providing a lovely sense of kinship and connection is awesome when you're in this business.

I'm lazy, so my food/hospitality dreams are modest - I'd be interested in operating a street cart or a temporary pop-up store selling creative and unusual treats that I make, basically something low-commitment that adds a bit of fun to life when I feel like it.

gaja

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2017, 08:38:34 AM »
As mentioned, this is a tiny, remote village (~100 pax). I've never seen a tourist there outside the summer months. So even if we kept open year round, we wouldn't get more than a few visits a month off season, and I honestly don't think we would have full house even in season. The same goes for the food part: since this is a FIRE dream, I don't want to be very successful. If there was no more food left, or if I couldn't be bothered one day, or decided to go fishing instead, that would be my choice.

My grandfather and uncle ran the bakery and shop for 50 years, and although they worked long hours, they didn't work very hard during all those hours. It was more lifestyle than a job. They always had time for long chats with their customers.

Sign D in this blog could be an option: https://www.google.no/amp/s/blog.dlvrit.com/2015/02/small-business-welcome-signs/amp/

pbkmaine

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 08:51:23 AM »
I have stayed in quite a few BnBs and always seem to get into conversations with the owners. The lifestyle seems to work best for high-energy extroverts who love cooking and entertaining. The kind of people who would constantly be having parties anyway.

SwordGuy

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2017, 10:25:58 AM »
My son's wife's sister and her husband run a B&B.

They are always getting drafted to help out for unpaid family labor.

He refers to it as "The House of Work".


Guesl982374

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2017, 10:48:48 AM »
Sounds like you already own the property, however have you thought about potentially working at a B&B for very little money so you can enjoy what I like to call the 'pinterst' aspects without the 80hr+ of work each week and the financial headaches?

Landlady

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2017, 01:18:02 PM »
I totally dream of a small scale version of this!
In fact, we are building a house now and we've planned two rental suites just for this purpose. I dream of developing a signature baked good which will count as breakfast for the bnb. My latest idea is banana bread with local cherry preserves. There are certain rules in WA about the types of foods you may serve and this would fit the bill. Plus, I could make the loaves ahead and freeze them. Other baked goods I've considered are breakfast cookies, cherry scones or sourdough loaves with fancy butter and preserves. I have a vision of being known for a delicious baked good which people want to come back for. Of course that puts the pressure on it being really tasty and memorable!

We've also planned our house with the ability to be fully rented out in case we want to travel abroad for a few months. That just means that the guest suites can be closed off from the main house or fully opened up for a big group to rent it all.

This kind of stuff is so exciting and totally worth a little work to have interesting guests come visit. I would LOVE to semi-retire with this little bnb business idea since I don't think it would feel like retirement to me. I love hosting and baking. I'll have to figure out the whole cleaning thing.... that doesn't feel like retirement...

You can check out our build progress in my journal link below.

Telecaster

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2017, 08:19:09 AM »
I have stayed in quite a few BnBs and always seem to get into conversations with the owners. The lifestyle seems to work best for high-energy extroverts who love cooking and entertaining. The kind of people who would constantly be having parties anyway.

I used to try to stay at BnBs exclusively when travelling for work.   From talking to the various owners, the business model is boils down to main attraction for guests is that they like the owner.    In other words, the most important amenity is you.   

There are lots of specialty BnBs that cater to bicyclists, hikers, etc.  But same rule applies. 


spokey doke

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Re: Post FIRE dream: BnB and Bakery
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2017, 07:56:41 AM »
As mentioned, this is a tiny, remote village (~100 pax). I've never seen a tourist there outside the summer months. So even if we kept open year round, we wouldn't get more than a few visits a month off season, and I honestly don't think we would have full house even in season. The same goes for the food part: since this is a FIRE dream, I don't want to be very successful. If there was no more food left, or if I couldn't be bothered one day, or decided to go fishing instead, that would be my choice.

My grandfather and uncle ran the bakery and shop for 50 years, and although they worked long hours, they didn't work very hard during all those hours. It was more lifestyle than a job. They always had time for long chats with their customers.

So the key would be how to structure things so it isn't too much work...and this shouldn't be hard, as you control the availability of rooms.  You can do the same with food, and if baking is a particular interest, you can set a schedule, like baking for Sunday brunch or Sat. morning baked goods and coffee as your signature, or just fresh baked goods on Weds. and Sat. - you have your flourish and then plenty of down-time, which also gives you the room to do things really well and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with that (rather than being solely driven by the need to turn profits, cranking things out and always looking to scale up).

I'd love to come visit (and bake)!
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 08:00:26 AM by spokey doke »