Bjs bakery, Whether you have a craving for something sweet or need a wedding cake to feed 500 people, you must have a go-to bakery. Bakeries come in virtually all shapes and sizes. You can pick up a donut from a cart or opt for a turnover from a huge factory that makes millions of pastries every day. As you probably know, not all bakeries are created equally, however.
In this review, we take an in-depth look at the bakery at BJ’s Wholesale Club. Continue reading for information about prices, quality, timing and more.
BJ’s Bakery Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage of purchasing baked goods from BJ’s bakery is the availability of an on-site decorator. Many cakes come with some decorations, but they aren’t personalized. In most places, while you shop, a decorator can add a personal touch to your cake or other bakery items. This benefit makes BJ’s bakery appealing for busy individuals who don’t have time to work with a private decorator.
Another benefit of shopping at BJ’s Wholesale Club is the huge selection of bakery items. Whether you want a store-baked pie or a pre-made bag of tortillas, the club has you covered. Additionally, BJ’s offers one-stop shopping. If you need to pick up a box of donuts, you can shop for laundry detergent, clothing and other products at the same time.
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Finally, BJ’s offers affordable prices for virtually everything in its bakery department. Sure, you have to fork over an initial membership fee. Once you do, though, you typically save between 20 and 50 percent on bakery products. If you aren’t happy with your membership, you can ask for a refund of the remaining balance.
If you aren’t a fan of wholesale clubs, you will likely be disappointed in BJ’s membership structure. Swinging into the bakery to pick up a cake or a few bagels isn’t possible without a membership. You may, however, be able to take advantage of a single-day membership if you want to sample some baked goods inside the store before you commit to a full membership.
While most of the baked goods at BJ’s bakery taste great, they don’t always look great. Dozens of online reviewers have expressed disappointment with the quality of in-store decorations. Some call cake writing and flowers amateur. If you are looking for specialty-shop decorations, you likely won’t find them at BJ’s.
Also, BJ’s only has 215 locations on the east coast of the United States. If you live outside of the 16 states where the wholesale club does business, you can’t shop there.
What Is BJs Bakery?
Bjs Bakery Wholesale Club started in 1984 as an off-shoot of Zayre department store. The first store was in Medford, Massachusetts. The club is currently owned by two private equity firms. To shop at BJ’s, you must become a member.
BJ’s has 215 wholesale clubs in 16 states. While most are on the east coast of the United States, you can find a BJ’s Wholesale Club as far west as Ohio. In addition to Massachusetts and Ohio, you can find at least one BJ’s in Maine, New Hampshire, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. If you live in the rest of the country, however, you are out of luck. There are currently no BJ’s clubs outside the U.S.
Bjs Bakery is a full-service operation. At most locations, bakers make cakes, pies, cookies, bagels and other treats daily. The company employs decorators who can add a personal touch to cakes and other items. The bakery sells goods from the company’s store brands, Berkley-Jensen and Wellsley Farms.
It also offers products from well-known national brands, such as Pillsbury, Pepperidge Farms, Old El Paso and Thomas. If you are looking for organic or natural goods, you can purchase products from Kerrygold, Amy’s Kitchen, Kashi, Newman’s Own and American Flatbread at BJ’s.
Before shopping at BJ’s Wholesale Club, you must become a member. Membership is available to both business and individual customers. Pricing and membership levels vary. We discuss each of these in greater detail later in this review.
BJ’s Bakery Specifications
Bakery Type: Wholesale Club
Open to General Public: No
Number of Locations: 215
Bakery Offerings: Cakes, pies, pastries, bagels, other products
Notice Required for Specialty Items: 2 days
Located insider a large wholesale club, BJ’s bakery is accessible only to members of the club. Customers can purchase all types of baked goods from the bakery. This includes donuts, cakes, pies, pastries, bagels, bread, buns, and other items. BJ’s bakery department employs decorators who can customize virtually any baked good the club sells.
If you want to order a wedding or other special occasion cake, you must provide advance notice to the bakery department. In most BJ’s clubs, a couple of days’ notice is sufficient. When ordering your baked goods, you must discuss quantity, style, flavors and other features with bakery staff. Depending on the size of your order, you may pay a deposit when you place it.
Bjs bakery occupies their own place inside the warehouse store. Most have unique trade dress to separate them from other parts of the club. Bakery staff displays baked goods behind counters. Some items are self-serve, while others require purchasing assistance from a customer service representative.
Bjs bakery has two house brands of baked goods. These are the common Berkley-Jensen and the higher-end Wellsley Farms. Most of these products are pre-made, pre-packaged and delivered to the wholesale club by a truck. The BJ’s bakery does, however, have a full kitchen to prepare some items inside the club. The difference between pre-made and store-made products is often evident in the packaging. If a product has none, there is a good chance a baker made it fresh at the store.
The Bjs bakery department sells other name-brand products. These include tortillas, bagels, cookies, cakes and pastries from national brands. These items are shelved in and around the BJ’s bakery. Often, products with well-known branding come in large or bulk packaging.
BJ’s Bakery Pricing
Stop and Shop Bakery Review: Prices, Quality, Timing and MoreTo shop at Bjs bakery, you must first purchase a membership to the wholesale club. Memberships are sold to both business and individual customers. The club offers different levels of membership. The Inner Circle membership for individuals costs $55. This membership gets you in the door and allows you to purchase products from the wholesale club. You can also purchase a higher-level Rewards membership for an additional $$.
If you purchase the Rewards membership, 2 percent of your purchases are credited to you for use in buying some other products the wholesale club sells. You may not, however, use your rewards points for gas, tobacco or alcohol.
Businesses purchase memberships to BJ’s Wholesale Club at a different level than individuals. Interestingly, if you or your company has an expired BJ’s membership, you can still shop at the club. In that event, you should expect to pay an additional surcharge at checkout. Save your receipts, though, as the club reimburses certain surcharges when you renew your membership. Since BJ’s Wholesale Club has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, you can cancel your membership at any time. When you do, the company refunds the prorated balance of your membership fee.
Baked goods are affordably priced at BJ’s Wholesale Club. On most items, members save around 20 percent. Some goods, however, sell for as much as 50 percent less than they do at grocery stores. Products with Berkley-Jensen and Wellsley Farms branding are usually the most affordable. Nonetheless, products from national brands are usually cheaper at BJ’s Wholesale Club than they are at retailer stores.
Customized items are also less expensive at BJ’s bakery department than they are at specialty decorator shops. For most items, decorations are included with the purchase price of the product. For more complicated decorating, you may pay a nominal fee. Still, the cost of purchasing a personalized cake or pastry at BJ’s is usually significantly less than the price at a private bakery or cake shop.
How BJ’s Bakery Compares With the Competition
To better understand BJ’s bakery department, you must compare it to other bakeries. BJ’s largest competitors are warehouse clubs. Specifically, Sam’s and Costco compete head-to-head with BJ’s Wholesale Club. In this section, we compare BJ’s to these clubs and to an independent bakery.
Sam’s Club is a warehouse savings club. Like BJ’s, customers must purchase a membership before shopping at Sam’s. Sam’s Club is owned by Wal-Mart. This warehouse club has a dedicated bakery department. If you choose to buy baked goods from Sam’s, you can pick up bagels, cakes, pies, pastries, and other tasty treats.
Also like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Sam’s Club offers most of its bakery items at a 20 to 50 percent savings compared to grocery stores. The company has its own store brand, Member’s Mark. Additionally, Sam’s employs decorators who can specialize cakes and other baked goods for certain occasions. If you want a custom product, you must notify Sam’s bakers a few days before your event.
The quality of Sam’s bakery items is about the same as BJ’s. Like BJ’s, customers have both good and bad experiences with food purchased from the bakery department. Additionally, Sam’s sells many national baked-good brands, including Entenman’s, Mission, Ballpark and others.
Ease of Use: 4/5
Assembly Time: 4/5
Another major BJ’s competitor is Costco. A membership club, Costco has a bakery section that sells store-made goods, pre-made items and specialty products. As with BJ’s and Sam’s, you must purchase a membership to shop at Costco.
Costco’s bakery department has its own décor to separate it from the rest of the store. At the bakery, you can purchase cakes, pies, donuts, pastries and other baked goods. A decorator can help you personalize cakes or other items as well. Like with the other membership clubs, you should give the store some notice to be sure you receive the right product on time.
Costco has a store brand for many of its baked goods. It also sells a variety of national brands. Some of the bakery products are made in-house, while others are baked off-site. Pricing at Costco is comparable to pricing at BJ’s and Sam’s. Customer reviews, however, are slightly better for the Costco bakery than they are for either of the other two wholesale clubs.
Ease of Use: 5/5
Assembly Time: 4/5
Panera Bread is a combination bakery and fast-casual restaurant chain. Stores are located throughout the United States and Canada. The bakery sells scones, donuts, small cakes, bread and sandwiches that are usually made in-house. Some products, however, are baked off-site and transported to the store.
Unlike BJ’s Wholesale Club, Panera Bread does not require its customers to purchase a membership. The selection at Panera is limited, though. Simply, you can only purchase items on the bakery’s menu. You cannot buy baked goods from national brands.
The quality of goods at Panera Bread is high. Most customers rave about the taste, consistency and aroma of items they purchase from Panera. The company also sells products that appeal to customers with food allergies and sensitivities.
If you want to purchase a cake for special event, you are out of luck with Panera. The company simply does not sell these items. Still, it can provide some customization for smaller pastries. There is no on-site decorator, however. If you plan to purchase a large order, you should notify Panera about a week before you need your items.
Ease of Use: 5/5
Assembly Time: 4/5
The Verdict: BJ’s Bakery Is Average
BJ’s bakery gives you access to hundreds of delicious baked goods. Some are made in-house and others are baked in a factory. While prices are low, you need a membership to shop at BJ’s. While quality is decent, decorations aren’t stellar.
Featured Image: CC0 Public Domain via bjsbakery