So you've decided to open your own food business. If you happen to be fairly small and are planning to sell your homemade food locally, check your local laws to see if you can produce food legally from home. Some states have "Cottage Food Laws" that allow you to sell out of your home kitchen once you've met all of your licensing requirements.
The reality is that most food businesses will be required to produce food items in a commercial kitchen. For many people, this can be a financial burden that is impossible to bear. Enter the Kitchen Incubator. These are commercial kitchens, verified by local health inspectors, that can be rented on a hourly basis by start-up companies. Not only do these kitchens allow the small guy to get into the game, but because there are many different food companies sharing the space, there is lots of room for collaboration and shared experiences. There are several such kitchens here in the East Bay, and each of them has something to offer the start-up food entrepreneur. Look around and see if there is one in your area. If not, try speaking with local restaurants/bakeries to see if there are hours when their kitchen is empty. Perhaps they would be willing to rent you some hours in their facility; it can definitely be a win-win for you both.
We feel fortunate to have incredible kitchen incubator options available to us. We will devote a future blog to the kitchen we chose and explain how we made our decision. And we will definitely let you know how it is going!