Starting a food business is hard work. One of the first barriers you face is needing a licensed commercial facility or commissary kitchen to produce your food legally. But where do you start? Building a facility can cost thousands of dollars. Taking out a long-term lease on a kitchen before you know if your company is going to thrive is risky. Finding a restaurant that has available kitchen time you can use may come with limitations on time and storage capacity.
You can avoid some of these examples by implementing responsible business practices, but other examples you’ll read below could happen to any caterer on any job. This being the case, you owe it to yourself to protect your business with catering insurance.
What is an aspiring food entrepreneur to do?
Fortunately, in the last 5 years, there has been significant growth in the number of shared-use kitchens available. A shared-use kitchen, also known as a commissary or incubator kitchen, is a commercially-licensed space for chefs, bakers, caterers, food trucks, and other culinary professionals to produce legally while providing the flexibility you need in the early days.
How does a shared commercial kitchen work?
You typically pay for a membership, or by the hour, in order to rent out cooking space alongside other food entrepreneurs and share otherwise expensive resources like cold storage, equipment, and cleaning supplies. You’ll also become part of a community that can help you find success.
What are the benefits?
Aside from compliance, finding a shared-use kitchen to call home comes with many benefits. To name a few...
You have the peace of mind knowing you won't risk getting shut down by the health inspector since the kitchen is licensed and insured. However, you still need your own product liability insurance, food handlers card, and a business license. But these are small potatoes compared to the expense of owning your own licensed space or the risks that accompany cooking from home.
Since shared-use kitchens require all of its members to have a business license, food liability insurance, and food handling training, you work alongside other businesses that operate legally. You can rest easy knowing another business’s risky behavior won’t shut you down. Many shared kitchens provide additional resources and education like food safety training, access to mentors, bookkeeping classes, and access to sourcing and sales opportunities -- all to help you grow your business.
Where do I find a commercial kitchen?
In response to the growing desire to find clean, friendly, and affordable licensed spaces for food entrepreneurs to rent,
our friends at The Food Corridor built Kitchen Door
- an easy way for you to find and connect with professional kitchen spaces in your area. Simply search on The Kitchen Door by city or zip code to find available kitchens nearby.
Which commercial kitchen should I choose?
Once you have a list of kitchens, it’s important to choose the right one for your food business. Be sure to consider:
- What equipment you’ll need
- How much and what type of storage space you require
- How much support you want from the kitchen staff
- What operating hours will work with your schedule
- If the kitchen culture is a good fit for you and your team.
Don’t forget to ask about extra perks like demo space, business services, conference rooms, etc.! Once you have selected a few kitchens that might meet your needs, use the "Contact Kitchen" feature on The Kitchen Door to request a tour of the facility. You’re almost ready to get cooking!
Who’s The Kitchen Door?
Helping food entrepreneurs, like you succeed is part of their DNA. By making it easy to find fully-equipped, commercially-licensed kitchens for rent they are fulfilling their mission of enabling efficiency, growth, and innovation in local food. By partnering with the right kitchen, your business can keep overhead costs down, reduce risk, and increase your chance of success.
The Kitchen Door is unlike other search engines. Their team is actively working to serve you regularly updated information and a comprehensive list of available kitchens. So, whether you’re a chef, caterer, baker, food truck, or any other food entrepreneur, The Kitchen Door will help you find an extraordinary place where you can cook, legally!
Do you have a kitchen you want to offer up to an emerging food entrepreneur? Make extra revenues in your off-time and connect with qualified renters easily. See how The Food Corridor can make getting started, even easier.
The Kitchen Door is a FLIP preferred partner.