A legitimate food business needs to cook food in licensed commercial kitchen. The cost for setting up a commercial kitchen for small food business depends on space, size and your preference.
Options to consider
Personal commercial catering kitchen
You can rarely find a complete commercial kitchen on rent. Plumbing, refrigeration, and ventilation are three major items to consider. Installation of these are very expensive, but if you find a space, which has been used as commercial kitchen then large amount of cash is saved because these are already equipped with coolers, sinks and stoves.
If you find rental space on first storey with gas line then you can easily install simple ventilation system. It is a good option for those, who need to set their independent commercial kitchen.
Besides the cost of infrastructure and equipment installation, you will need to consider the licensing fee from health department, which is high. In addition, you will need to pay the landlord damage deposit to install the equipment in accordance to licensing requirements.
You may need to install 3-compartment sink for washing dish, separate prep sink to wash produce and hand washing sink. Refrigeration needs to hold food items below 41°F and all surfaces must be easily cleanable. Shelves for keeping food & packaging products need to be at least 6” above the ground.
Rent a ready-to-use commercial kitchen
This option allows you to remove the large capital expenditure to set up your independent space. There are many sources that lease space to new food businesses.
For example, East End Incubator provides commercial kitchen spaces ideally designed for small scale food business. Thus, small scale or part-time food producers get to build or develop a licensed and legally compliant business for small capital outlay in comparison to opening an independent commercial kitchen.
Commercial kitchens are available to rent 24 hours daily, so caterers can schedule their baking, cooking, and prep rental times easily. It is an ideal foundation for starting and developing food businesses because if conditions change with regards to sales volume, which are unpredictable then contracts, can be terminated.
Renting commercial kitchen on hourly basis can greatly decrease monthly rental expenses for seasonal food businesses like cake decorators and food truck operators.
Shared commercial kitchen rentals
Sharing a space in commercial kitchen rentals save you the huge startup costs but can limit your development because a shared kitchen may be unavailable when your customers need your services. Therefore, make sure to share it with food businesses rather than caterers.
Home kitchen opportunities
Cottage kitchen laws passed in many states enable you to cook non-potentially hazardous food in your own kitchen but in limited quantities. Mostly baked items, jams, and pickles fall under non-potentially hazardous category. Your home kitchen for commercial food business saves capital but your potential for business development gets limited.
Existing kitchen in food business
If you already own a commercial kitchen in your restaurant then you can easily use it to build your catering business. This dramatically decreases the overhead of outfitting and renting dedicated catering kitchen. Your restaurant is already using this kitchen, which can be helpful to manage the cost of your intermittent or constant catering business needs.
Max Carpenter has written this article. East End Incubator kitchens are the best available platform for new food makers. Rental space is available for 24/7 but booking needs to be made in advance through online reservation system. Storage options and retail opportunities are available. Incubator Kitchens located on 4th Street Markets include 10 totally equipped commercial kitchen rental spaces.