How to get started with a bread route business: Buying bread routes for sale



What makes the sandwich taste great, is the quality of the bread or the meat. I love some boar’s head meat on my sandwich but for me, if the bread is not good ..throw away the whole sandwich! Customers will stop coming to a small business if the bread they had on the sub wasn’t good…. 




Bon appetit, wonder bread routes, Thomas English muffin routes, How do choose bread routes for sale?



Small local Businesses like to provide their customers a place where they can grab all the items they need, this keeps the customers happy and makes them return, Imagine having a long day at work and you just need a few items to grab like the eggs, the milk, and some bread, but the place you went to doesn’t have quality bread, That will make a customer drop everything and head to another shop.


Businesses always look for a bread route owner who is reliable and offers fresh bread So if you are interested in investing in a bread route for sale you need to know the facts and in this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of owning a bread route, from what it takes to how to start one, and even how to expand an existing one. 

For businesses such as grocery stores, supermarkets,  and even restaurants it’s most likely that the bread they have is being distributed to them by a bread route owner, this can be Wonder bread or even just plain Italian bread…

It’s a big business that can be operated by anyone, so let’s start by understanding what a bread route business for sale is exactly…





What is a Bread Route?


A bread route, or any route for that matter, is a territory where manufacturers or distributors sell their products to local businesses In the case of a bread route, There can be 2 types of distributors, one is you can have your bread facility and make the bread yourself which is a big process that requires a whole team and lot more work, or the scalable one which is buying from a bread maker at wholesale price and reselling it to local businesses, 


Let's forget the facility part and focus only on the distributing part! 


 As a bread route owner, you are responsible for picking up the bread from a warehouse and distributing it to your customers which can also be referred  to as accounts here is an example  (a bread route for sale located in New York with 75 accounts ) 


 These independent owners earn their profit by keeping a commission on each piece of bread they sell to the stores. Depending on the agreement you have with the bread maker you can either take a  commission or you can buy at wholesale price and markup your price to the customers. 


Here are some examples: 


Ex. 1. Formisano Bakery Routes offer a commission plus an hourly rate

Ex. 2 Flowers bread routes offer a commission based on the number of sales you bring in. 

Ex. 3 independent bread routes …you can mark up as much profit as you want {this won't guarantee a person will buy from you but you understand my point } 


So how to determine good bread? 3 main factors come into starting or even buying a bread route.


 Factors for selling private label bread:



Choosing the bread you deliver is determining the success of your business, if your bread is good you’ll get accounts if the bread is bad then you won’t make it far. Asking bread makers for samples is normal. 

Here is what to do with these samples: First Offer them to your friends and even family to try them, heck make them a sandwich while you are at it. The feedback you will get will help you decide if that bread maker is the right partner for you. 

You will put time and energy into building your bread route business so it won’t kill you taking your time in picking the right bread


Types of bread:

You found the perfect bread it’s moist and tasty and they love it, but don’t forget to ask the bread man what other bread and pastries they make! Your accounts need more than just a Kaiser roll, this is why you need to have more to offer than basic bread here are some items your customers may want:  

- Bagels- as many types as possible

- Muffins 

- Italian bread 

- Rolls, rye bread, and whole wheat

- And Texas bread ( diners use this to make French toast- hot seller)

These are just some of many breads,  the goal is to have as many great quality bread types as possible



Your prices have to match the market or be better than your competition, remember always negotiate with a bread maker and don’t sell at a cost, it’s a big market but it’s brutal!


“The journey of a customer can be divided into three stages: awareness, consideration and purchase.”


Factors of selling branded bread: 


If you are considering buying branded bread routes for sale such as a Nature’s bread route or even a Sara Lee bread route then this section is for you, here are 5 benefits of choosing a brand name bread route: 


1. When buying a brand route you will buy a protected route no other distributor of that same brand can compete with you

2. Any new leads in your area will most likely be sent to you from your company.

3. You don't pay for any marketing 

4. You are delivering a brand that is loved by millions and this secures your investment. 

5. Company training and tips


There are many advantages to buying a branded bread route, One of the biggest benefits is that you will be able to have your own business with someone else's proven business model. This is especially helpful for those who don't have any experience in starting a business. You will also be able to grow your business more quickly by leveraging the existing brand and building on its success.


Many people turn to branded bread routes for sale because they offer a lot of support and advice for new entrepreneurs who are just getting started. You will also be able to get access to training and education from industry experts, which can help you avoid making costly mistakes in the early stages of your business.


How much do bread routes for sale start from?


The cost of a bread route varies greatly depending on the size, location, and type of business. The cost of a bread route in the United States ranges from $30,000 to $250,000 and more, each bread route for sale is priced differently, some may have more accounts than others, so this can raise the value while other bread routes may have contracted to a bigger area but they may not have the time to run the bread business so this can be a benefit for the new buyer as they will have more opportunities to expand in that area.


4 pros of getting into the Bread Route Business


Now that you know what a bread route is, here are a few things to consider before going into the bread route business:


Buying into a brand:

With an independent bread route, there is no territorial route, it's a loyalty-based business, any competitor can cutthroat you anytime and try to take your account but the good part is the profit margins are higher than their branded bread routes that we discussed above that you can buy like bimbo bread routes or even Arnold bread routes and they offer you a territorial route, yes you may have to give up more from the profit but they do the heavy lifting like marketing and lead generation. 


Light work:

It is as simple as it gets you can carry the boxes by hand or use a Dollie, when I owned by coffee shop years ago there were times they would leave them at the front door, and the boxes were sealed in plastic, it seemed like an in and out process,

 when it comes to delivering bread you will need a nice trucking GPS and software that will set up your daily routes with these two in place you easily deliver to 30-40 accounts a day.


Daily delivery:

The bread doesn’t stop! No, businesses need bread every day there are no days off unless you want to take a holiday off you can send them a double order for 2 days but no more than 2 days, accounts want their bread as fresh as possible. So this means more “bread” for you.


Phone orders:

If you are dealing with delis or diners you can take their order over the phone at a certain time of day typically around the evening or nighttime before 9 pm and if you are dealing with supermarkets you can stock up the shelves and bill them right there and then most customers pay COD



Unlike other distribution routes, your early customer most likely won’t pay you on the spot you will collect at the end of the day some might say this should be listed under cons because you have to go back and forth, but I will take that over delivering an order then waiting to get paid that will be an additional 15-25 minutes each stop! Next thing you know you wasting your day in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and banging out all your orders before the early rush is a pro, Getting bread late to a customer because of traffic is a risk of losing an account. NOT WORTH IT! 




Early, early, early…

If you love sleeping late, and by late, we mean till 11 or midnight then the bread route business is not for you. Being a bread route owner requires you to be up and at the warehouse at around two or three in the morning or even earlier.

 The timings can vary depending on your supplier, but they usually are in the wee hours of the night. Once you have picked up the deliverables, you have to reach all your accounts at a certain time, Depending on your agreement, you might have to rotate the packaged bread on the shelf and pull out stale bread as well. 


All of this can take 8-10 hours a day,  a bread route owner's work usually ends around noon. You going to want to deliver to the businesses that serve food like diners, delis, or breakfast shops first, then handle the supermarkets last. So, if you don't mind waking up early or not sleeping at all during the night, then you can go for a bread routes business, but after considering the following points. Buying a Bread Route is a Hefty Investment If you are considering The price of buying a bread route can easily go up to $200,000 and even higher, depending upon how much commission it can generate.

Most bread suppliers have financing options for independent suppliers. But you'll still need to pay 40-50% of the total cost as a down payment. Which requires that you have at least $100,000 in your name to put at stake.


independent Bread routes for sale: Unprotected Route

Before you buy a bread route, you need to know about the protected and unprotected routes because they directly affect your commission.

The protected route is the one where you are the only independent supplier for a brand of bread as we mentioned above. So, you don't have to compete with other suppliers. In comparison, an unprotected route is the opposite of this and may have multiple suppliers for the same brand, which spikes up the competition.

However, unprotected routes have a higher payout. And if you don't mind some competition for a higher commission, you can go for an unprotected route.


The Financial Risk:

Like every other business, bread routes incur financial risks that you must bear, being a business owner.

The business model that involves buying the bread from the supplier at a slashed price and then selling it at the original price involves greater financial risk. Because in this case, if you fail to sell all the bread you have bought, you will have to bear the loss of money on wasted bread.

Moreover, the damage to the products during supply is also a liability to the bread route owner. So, if the bread rots or is damaged in a way that renders it unsellable, then too, you'll have to suffer a loss of investment.


Your Route Can Lose Value:


A route is valuable when it has lots of stores to buy your products. The closure of any one of these stores means loss of commission and reduction of your route's value.

So, even if a route seems valuable right now, its value is highly subjective to the stores' operation within its territory.


Investment to get accounts:


Unlike buying a mission tortilla route for sale, Opening new accounts is not just walking in and having them taste your bread and giving them good prices, Nope! some customers may ask for 3 weeks of orders for free and others may ask for a custom bread shelf, so keep this in mind when considering starting a bread route business.


Responsibilities of Being a Small Business Owner:


As we said above, buying bread routes for sale means owning a small business. And just like any small startup, you are the sole owner of the profits that a bread route makes. And you are alone liable for the losses.


Moreover, you have to deal with all the paperwork. Any time you have after doing deliveries may go into managing accounts, and orders and don't even get us started on taxes!


Once you have a bread route, you classify as a small business owner and are subject to self-employment taxes. So, you do the excruciating job of managing the taxes yourself. Or you can go the easy way and hire an attorney to take care of them. However, hiring an attorney is an additional cost that reduces your take-home profit.


Not to forget, there are usually no sick leaves. Stores want bread almost every morning, and you being an independent distributor, must give them that, no matter what. So no sick leaves and no vacations.


Some bread-supplying companies offer relief services, but they take a percentage of your profit in exchange for these services. So, you must choose between having a day off and taking home your usual profit.



Additional Finances:


Buying the bread route is not the only expense for running this business. It has many additional expenses that you must cover yourself.


These additional finances include paying for the fuel and maintenance of the delivery truck. The cost of fuel is usually not too much because your route is generally small. But it is still there to burn your profit.


Moreover, the insurance of your delivery vehicle is another expense. On top of that, if you are using a truck for taking the bread, you'll need a truck driver’s license, which has its fees.


So, do some math, or a lot of it, and put all these expenses against your route's expected profit. Then you'll be able to see a clearer picture of whether investing in a route is a good idea.




Conclusion: To Sum up, Investing in bread routes for sale:


Whether investing in one of the bread routes for sale is a good idea for you depends on many things. And while it may work very well for some people, it might not be too profitable for others. The list we have presented above is in no way exhaustive, and we recommend that you think these points through and then do some additional research before putting down your money on a bread route.


So should you buy or start a route? My final thought is if you have the capital you may want to consider buying a bread route for sale with established customers starting a business from the ground up and getting new accounts is not as easy as it looks.



Looking to List your bread route for sale here? Take advantage of BizRoutes' free listing service and increase your chances of finding the perfect buyer!




Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The laws and regulations regarding business licenses may vary from state to state and are subject to change. It is important to contact your local state office to determine which licenses are required for any specific businesses. Additionally, please note that this article contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission from our affiliate partners or Amazon links. If you are considering starting a business, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified lawyer, business broker, or professional in your area. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon as such.




Facts & Questions

   What are accounts in a route business?

n a route business, accounts can refer to the customers or clients who regularly receive goods or services from the business. These customers are typically assigned an account number or name, and their purchases or payments are recorded in their individual account. For example, a delivery route business that supplies goods to different retail stores or restaurants may have multiple accounts, each representing a different customer. Each account would track the customer's orders, deliveries, and payments. The use of accounts helps the route business to keep track of its customer relationships, monitor sales and revenue, and manage inventory and supplies. It also allows the business to provide personalized service to its customers by keeping track of their preferences and needs.

   What is a private label brand example?

A private label brand, also known as a store brand, is a brand owned and sold by a retailer or distributor, rather than by the manufacturer or producer of the product. Private label brands are typically created to compete with national brands by offering similar quality products at a lower price point. Private label brands are often manufactured by third-party companies and then sold under the retailer's brand name. They may also be manufactured in-house by the retailer or distributor. Private label brands are commonly found in grocery stores, drugstores, and discount retailers. These brands may include food products, household goods, clothing, and other items. Private label brands can be a profitable business strategy for retailers, as they offer higher profit margins than selling national brands. They can also help to differentiate the retailer from competitors and provide an additional revenue stream.

   What is a protected route?

In the route business, a protected route is a specific territory or area assigned to a distributor for the exclusive distribution of a particular product or service. The distributor is given exclusive rights to sell and distribute the product or service within the designated territory. This protected route can be established through a legal agreement between the distributor and the supplier or manufacturer of the product. The agreement outlines the specific boundaries of the territory, the duration of the protection, and any other terms and conditions. By providing a protected route, the supplier or manufacturer is able to ensure that their products are distributed efficiently and effectively, while also giving the distributor the opportunity to build a customer base and establish a strong presence in their assigned territory. In addition to providing a sense of exclusivity, a protected route can also offer distributors certain advantages, such as reduced competition and the ability to build long-term customer relationships. However, it can also place certain restrictions on the distributor's ability to expand their business beyond the designated territory.

   What is a route business?

A route business is a type of business that involves the regular delivery or distribution of products or services along a specific route or territory. In a route business, the business owner or distributor travels a predetermined route to deliver goods or services to regular customers, such as retail stores, restaurants, or other businesses. The route is typically planned and scheduled in advance to ensure timely delivery and efficient use of resources. Route businesses can involve a wide range of products or services, such as food and beverage products, vending machines, laundry services, medical supplies, or other types of goods. The business model may vary depending on the type of product or service being delivered, but typically involves a combination of regular customers, a set delivery schedule, and a defined geographic area. Route businesses can be profitable and offer several advantages, such as predictable revenue streams and established customer relationships. However, they may also require significant investments in equipment, inventory, and transportation, and can be subject to competition from other route businesses or alternative distribution channels.

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