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Benefits of A Commercial Kitchen Rental For Your Food Business

Food entrepreneur cutting vegetables in commercial kitchen

Many growing food business owners spend copious amounts of money into opening their own restaurant, to later find out that there’s actually a more affordable way to grow their business. 

As a small food business owner, you don't need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to grow your business. In fact, you can rent a commercial kitchen space for an amount six times lower than that of opening your own store. 

Renting a commercial kitchen is not only affordable, it gives you a trial run of what it would look like to run your business from a commercial kitchen space. So by the time you've obtained the right resources, you’ll already know the ins and outs. It’s a great first step to growing your business and saving up to establish a store of your own in the coming years!

Many food businesses opt for this route, so much so that the number of shared kitchens increased by 30% between 2016 and 2020, reaching more than 600 facilities in the U.S. The kitchen rental model allows food businesses to expand their operations safely and affordably without breaking the bank.

So, if you are a farmer’s market food vendor, caterer, or food manufacturer growing your business, you may want to consider renting a commercial kitchen.

Why Rent A Commercial Kitchen

1. Benefits of A Commercial Kitchen Rental

a. Low overhead costs

Renting a commercial kitchen space can be SIX times more affordable than renting a commercial kitchen space. Here’s a quick cost breakdown:

Renting and owning a commercial kitchen cost breakdown

As a kitchen renter, you don’t have high start-up equipment and organizational costs. The same goes for overhead costs, which make up a huge factor of why opening a store can be expensive and complex.

b. Compliance with local food safety regulations

Commercial kitchens have already been inspected by your state’s Department of Health. So you don’t have to worry about checking off a long list of requirements to open and maintain the facility to operate.

As a renter, you will have access to a clean environment, commercial-grade utensils, and proper food storage to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This is key to growing your food business since as an owner, you must ensure that your customers and your business are protected from foodborne illness incidents. 

One thing to note, any personnel preparing food in a commercial kitchen must be certified as a food handler. 

We recommend the ServSafe Food Handler certification due to its affordability and flexibility. It only takes between one to two hours to complete the course, and a multiple choice assessment to finalize it. The certification can be taken both online and in-person and is available in English & Spanish. 

Additionally, many commercial kitchens are built as a peanut-free or allergen-free facility, equipped with proper measures to prevent allergen contamination.

c. Access to commercial-grade equipment

Donuts on sheet pan racks

Commercial kitchens are equipped with commercial-grade equipment and infrastructure that you simply cannot get working from your home kitchen. Appliances and equipment like double-deck convection ovens, commercial mixers, sheet pan racks, and commercial fryers are some of the tools your business will need to produce bigger batches efficiently.  In addition to temperature-controlled reach-in refrigerators and freezers that can store large amounts of food under certain degrees.

Another advantage of having commercial-grade equipment is having the ability to experiment with your menu, as well as figure out the most effective ways to produce higher batches of food.

d. Ability to prepare food in bulk without space constraints

Commercial kitchens are bigger in space, roughly 1,000 square feet, compared to the average size of home kitchens being 100 square feet. Walking spaces are wider and most come with prep tables and shelves, making it easier to cook in bulk. So, next time you’re frosting your large cupcake batch, think how much easier it would be to do it on a prep table.

If you have any perishable food items that you’d like to keep under a certain temperature, some commercial kitchens allocate temperature-controlled reach-in refrigerators and walk-in coolers you can use.

e. Networking & Collaboration Opportunities

Commercial kitchen rental facilities allow you to build business connections with other food entrepreneurs. You can exchange ideas, cooking techniques, food suppliers, and recipes with the tenants around you. And who knows your conversations may lead to growth opportunities for both businesses.

Commercial Kitchen Fort Myers, a commercial kitchen rental in Florida, is a living example of collaboration between chefs and food entrepreneurs. Filled with niche food specialists, food entrepreneurs in this space exchanged ingredients and low-cost packaging suppliers with each other.

With so many different food businesses coming together in one place, it’s impossible to not exchange an idea or two.

2. Some Things You Keep In Mind: Kitchen Rental Usage

Depending on the type of kitchen rental, you will have different scheduling options. 

Shared kitchen rentals are great for small businesses who need more space to grow. However, kitchen availability will depend on the kitchen owner. For example, some kitchens are available for use in the mornings since they open later in the day. The same applies to kitchens that close early or are open only on weekdays.

If you work on your food business part-time, then you can be looking at 20 hours a week in a shared kitchen. On the other hand, if you operate full-time, more than 40 hours a week, you might want to consider more expansive options, like a commissary kitchen.

As a kitchen renter, you need to abide by the owner’s availability, equipment, storage, and safety guidelines. So, depending on your business needs, you might not need double convection ovens or commercial fryers. The same goes for walk-in cooler space.

Regarding safety guidelines, some operators will require you to have a food manager certification. For example, in the state of Virginia, food establishments are required to employ a food manager-certified individual with managerial responsibilities to ensure that someone directs food preparation and control in the establishment.

Additionally, depending on the vacancy limits of each facility, they will let you know how many of your employees you can bring with you to ensure compliance with vacancy laws.

Each kitchen operator has their own rules, so it is important to know this coming into the shared kitchen rental space.

3. Why Should I Rent A Commercial Kitchen?

When you’re growing your food business, renting a commercial kitchen will put your food business at a competitive advantage over others in the area. That’s because not all food businesses have a legally legitimized business structure, which stunts their growth within the legal and health framework of their local government.  So when you start operating from a commercial kitchen, you will have access to a legally compliant, commercial grade facility at an exponentially lower price and financial risk.

However, if you’re still doubtful on whether you should become a renter, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my home kitchen meet local regulatory food safety requirements to prevent cross-contamination consistently?

  • Does my storage space maintain an optimal temperature?

  • Do I need specialized commercial equipment?

  • What is my projected demand?

  • Is my home kitchen space big enough for the volume I’m preparing?

  • Is my home life conducive to the growth of my business?

4. Accessing commercial kitchen through HomeCook

HomeCook's platform makes it easy for food businesses to access commercial kitchens. When you create an account for your food business, you get access to available commercial kitchen listings in your area!

HomeCook's user-friendly interface facilitates seamless communication between food entrepreneurs and kitchen owners. You can view each kitchen’s equipment and storage options available, as well as requirements, before requesting membership directly through the platform. 

The platform manages required documentation and processes transactions all in one place.

Access the HomeCook food entrepreneur resource hub

Running a food business can be lonely, but it doesn't always have to be that way.

HomeCook helps you find your community of food entrepreneurs and local kitchen owners. 

Connect with your local food community to expand your food business beyond your home kitchen.

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