Is it time to grow your business, or you would like to produce something for which you need a commercial kitchen?
Not sure if your business qualifies as a Cottage Food Operation? Click here to learn about Cottage Food Laws.
What is a Commissary Kitchen: A commissary is a commercial kitchen that rents space in their registered facility to other food production enterprises. They are often used by Caterers to prepare food, but can be used by any food business that needs access to a commercial kitchen without buying or renting an entire facility.
Do I need to use one:
- It depends on the product you are making, where you want to sell it, and how much you are selling.
- If it is an item not approved for production in a cottage kitchen, then this is a good option.
- If you are looking to sell at farmers markets and other stores it may help to use a commissary kitchen, but Class B Cottage kitchen laws may also work depending on the farmers market or retailer involved.
- If you are making over $50,000 in revenue per year you are no longer eligible for the cottage kitchen laws.
It may also be time to move to a commissary if your spouse is tired of fresh baked pies and other treats in the house!
What kitchens are close to me:
See the link below for those that we know about. We hope to keep this up to date and appreciate a note if you know of places not listed here or if any of these are no longer offering space. If you are offering space, please send an email to info@SlowMoneySLO.org so we can add you to the list.
What if their are none available near me:
- If you can’t find a commissary kitchen with space close by, you can always talk to friends or local food businesses that have a commercial food license, and ask to use their extra space when available.
- Many Bakeries, Caterers, and Restaurants have extra space, and may be willing to rent it out on a case by case basis. This mostly requires them to fill out a form as a “Commissary,” and they may assume some of the risk of food safety.
What is a Co-Packer: If your food business can’t make enough product co-packers can be contracted out to manufacture more using your own recipe. Typically this happens when their is a spike in demand, and the co-packer has to prove they can make the same product and inexpensively.
Can I turn my home into a commercial kitchen: Most likely not, because you would have to create a separate structure, and the current zoning of your home would not allow for a commercial kitchen to be built say in your garage. However, these are dependent on the city planning and building department, and are subject to change.
Can my Cottage kitchen be used as a commissary: Unfortunately you can not turn your own cottage kitchen into a commercial kitchen. The cottage kitchen space has to be within your own home, and the planning department would most likely not allow for commercial usage(renting out kitchen space) in a residence.
SLO County commissary: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Health-Agency/Public-Health/Environmental-Health/All-Environmental-Health-Services/Catering-and-Other-General-Food-Service-Operations.aspx
Are you a food entrepreneur looking to speak with others who have been through this process? Why recreate the wheel? See the Entrepreneur Advice Resource List below and get in contact: