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researching for start up business- hot prepared food question

This topic contains 9 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  David Crabill 7 years, 6 months ago.

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    Megan Richard

    hello I recieved my MBA and want so badly to open my own small business on my future home residence to grow and sell my own produce. I have an array of hobbies and trying to narrow down what exactly my business will entail. I researched cottage food laws – I am servsafe qualified so I am now reading up on commerical kitchen information. My question is can I prepare hot foods such as chicken and dumplings in a rented commercial kitchen (since it wouldn’t fall undr cottage food laws) than sell the product in my small shop by reheating? I am trying to visulaize the business and wonder if I could set up 2-3 tables and chairs for some customers to eat-in. Thanks megan


    David Crabill

    If customers are eating at your shop, then you will be a food establishment and have to abide by all of the rules that pertain to those. I’m not an expert beyond the cottage food industry, so I can’t really guide you much further, but I can say that if you’re looking for something inexpensive and/or relatively easy then this probably isn’t it. You can talk to the health dept for more info on what it would take to start this kind of business.


    Megan Richard

    Thank you. It would probably be best I make the meals and sell it as a packaged perishable. If I was making meals such as chicken and dumplings do I have to go to a commercial kitchen?


    David Crabill

    Yes. With few exceptions, anything beyond the cottage food industry requires a commercial kitchen. But using a rented kitchen and selling at others’ venues should still be relatively easy in comparison to setting up your own shop.



    Can I make food in a commercial kitchen and then have customers pick it up from my house?


    David Crabill

    No, you can only sell food from your home if your cottage food law allows it. A few states do allow CFOs to use commercial kitchens if they want to, but the items you can sell from home would still be limited to those your cottage food law allows.



    Thanks for all the great advice and your time.
    My wife’s idea is to cook meal (lunch) for working professionals and deliver it to their work place as we live in area surrounded by dozens of corporate. Focus is on home made nutritious food with organic ingredients. Food is baked/cooked and perishable so it doesn’t meet Cottage food law requirements.
    1) if we begin this in commercial kitchen (rented) can we have customers pick it up at kitchen facility and our home? Food is not prepared at home. It is just being picked up.
    2) if we decide to convert garage into commercial kitchen option at some point, can we have customers coming to our garage for food pickup (since it will be commercials kitchen)
    Do you have any resources to learn what it takes to open commercial kitchen?
    That Ks


    David Crabill

    1) I don’t think customers can pick it up from your home. Probably the best thing would be to deliver the items.

    2) It would depend on your local zoning laws, since that might increase foot and car traffic in a residential area. Since I just focus on the cottage food laws, I haven’t really tracked resources for commercial food businesses, but the requirements for opening a commercial kitchen are so location-dependent that contacting your health dept is probably the best bet.



    I would love to prepare homemade foods, such as lasagna, Sheppard’s pie, etc., in a commercial kitchen, take orders online and schedule pickups, or in-home deliveries. Is this permitted?


    David Crabill

    As long as you’re using a commercial kitchen, then you should be able to do this with the proper licenses.

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