Culinary Construction: 5 Tips for Building a Home-Based Food Business

Culinary Construction: 5 Tips for Building a Home-Based Food Business

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They say that two out of three companies start out in a spare bedroom, garage or a basement. However, the advent of the internet made running virtual companies from home more popular than ever. Once you jump the initial hurdles such as the legality of running a company from your home, separating your work and family life, and establishing a professional image, you can reap the many benefits of such an arrangement, such as less risk, more freedom, financial and tax advantages, as well as an opportunity to transform your passions and creativity into a money-making outlet.

What you should know

If people are giving you compliments on your cupcakes, your friends are asking you to be their personal chef on special occasions, you clearly know a few things about chocolate icing and your homemade barbecue sauce is to die for, you could probably do well as a chef. However, before you start branding your recipes, there are things you should need to know about the home-run food business. First, ask about the legal requirements of running a culinary operation in your country, since you definitely want to run it as a legal entity. Keep in mind that in order for your business to be successful, you need a market for your delicacies. Start with focus groups, small batches with inexpensive packages and selling your goods to a few retail locations before you take a deep plunge.

Reduce the number of ‘experts’

Once your renovation gets underway, the more contractors, building consultants, legal counsellors and financial consultants you have on your speed-dial, the more ‘experts’ will be finding your number, claiming they know the secret of turning your home into an efficient food outlet, for a small fee, of course. To cut to the chase, in a start-up phase, the only good advice is free advice. There will be many people who’d offer to help you throughout the process when the dust settles, they’re in it to make a profit for themselves. A legal advisor, on the other hand, is more than welcome, as transforming a part of your residential property into a commercial kitchen will likely reduce its value, triggering beneficial tax reductions.

Renovate for functionality

When choosing the main contractor, make sure they specialize in restaurant and kitchen construction essentially in your location, as the level of complexity, building code and health regulations for culinary venues sometimes brush against the flanks of insanity. Keep in mind that a commercial kitchen differs greatly from a home kitchen, even if placed under the same roof. Purchasing new equipment not only increases your chances of getting the certificate but improves the efficiency of your business. If you orient more toward packed or jarred products, you’d want to check out these Teralba Industries solutions, such as stainless pressure vessels and process mixing systems. Since your space is limited, use it wisely and integrate storage into the main kitchen area, such as hanging shelves and under-counter areas.

Apply for inspections and licences

Different legislations have different requirements. For example, having the entire kitchen department sealed off from the rest of the house, or having multiple sinks. Contact your local department of health to set up an inspection, and they’ll send a health inspector to evaluate your place of business and decide if it meets the state’s health codes. This is necessary for obtaining a commercial kitchen certification license. Restrictions are often tighter in urban areas, as a commercial home-kitchen can add noise, traffic and odours to an otherwise peaceful neighbourhood. If you live in a rural area, there may be fewer restrictions, but you’ll need an additional certificate concerning the safety of your water source.

Remodelling or extending a part of your home into a commercial kitchen or food production line is a great way of starting out as an entrepreneur while doing something you love. Working from home and having less experience in the field of management might actually work to your benefit, releasing you from the industry protocols, and allowing you to create your business strategy your way.

By Mike Johnston

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