Do Any Of You Rent Out Commercial Kitchens? For Cash Or....?

Business By Daniellemhv Updated 26 Apr 2008 , 9:00pm by gr8yf

Daniellemhv Posted 4 Mar 2007 , 1:58am
post #1 of 21

I have a meeting next week with a man who owns a little cookie shoppe and he might let me rent his kitchen so I can become legal. I called him and told him that in exchange I can offer him custom wedding cookies, favors and gourmet chocolates. I'm really nervous about this meeting and I don't know what to expect. I'm wondering what you all think is the best way to go about this and how do you all do it? I know it pretty much comes down to what he wants and I'm sure it changes everywhere but....

How much money is it going to cost me?

How do we work out how much I should spend of my own money?

I don't want to be taken advantage of, like calling me everyday and asking me to do this or that.

What is the norm where you work from?

Do you pay cash or baked goods?

If it was just a solid $200 a month or something like that I would understand and everything would be fine. But I don't know how it works when your offering cookies? Am I offering my free labor? $200 a month of my own money and labor?

I would be very grateful if he let me have this opportunity and I would always be willing to help him out but I want to go about this like a professional. Like have a contract or something like that?

What sort of contract/agreement do you have?

I would appreciate any advice. He wants me to bring down some samples to show him. I'm making:

Truffles, chocolate dipped marshmallow pops, chocolate dipped pretzel rods, chocolate dipped apple, chocolate covered coffee beans, chocolate dipped custom fortune cookies (all of this in a gift basket), wedding favor cookies (i'm making custom cookie cutters), monogrammed wedding cookies, sugar cookies stacked like a wedding cake, dogwood cookies, I'm also going to make a bunch of cookie cutters to show him that I can make any custom design he wants. I'm covering some cookies in RI and some in fondant with royal icing flowers and/or little fondant flowers and some luster and pearl dust.

I'm also offering him use of all of my cake decorating tools like my airbrush.

He generally makes regular cookies like chocolate chip and snikerdoodle type. So I think this can really expand his business.

I'm a little concerned about him selling all this under his name because I planned on selling it under my name one day. But it's the only way I can think to get my cake business started, and cakes is my number 1 concern.

I also thought that we could advertise together. Like when I go to cake shows I can bring some wedding favor cookies and recommend his business. I think that might be appealing to him.

So what do you guys think?

I'm mostly concerned about some sort of contract deal.

20 replies
Daniellemhv Posted 4 Mar 2007 , 2:04am
post #2 of 21

ALSO........... I thought I would offer him free birthday cakes for him and his daughter. I mean it doesn't cost that much money to make an average birthday cake.

And for all that chocolate dipped stuff I also have:

White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate
toasted coconut flakes
chopped peanuts

mypastrychef Posted 4 Mar 2007 , 3:15am
post #3 of 21

Please don't take this the wrong way tapedshut.gif or get your sweet feelings hurt... I suspect you talk alot when you get nervous? If this is true, I will give you the best advice possible.

Don't offer to do all of these things you have listed. Let him tell you what he expects for you to do. He owns the space. You want to use his space not be used by him. If someone offered me all you just offered I might be tempted to take advantage. $200 seems very cheap to rent space.
Through the years I have learned to listen take notes and ask questions before I offer myself. People are people and if given the opportunity... they will be people.

It would be best if you heard his requirements, went home and thought about it all night (sure you wouldn't be able to sleep). Ask us on CC for more feedback and then make your offers.

Hope this is helpful!!

Daniellemhv Posted 4 Mar 2007 , 3:27am
post #4 of 21

haha mypastrychef I DO talk way too much when I get nervous. Thanks for the advice. I will definitely remember that. What also makes me nervous is that i'm young (20) and people have tried to take advantage of that in the past, assuming that I didn't know any better. Luckily I always had my mother who is very smart and I always talk everything over with her first. $200 was just a number I pulled out of no where, I would be thrilled if it was just $200 lol. But thank you very much

cinnabrst Posted 4 Mar 2007 , 5:15am
post #5 of 21

I pay a solid $10/hour.

Daniellemhv Posted 4 Mar 2007 , 10:51pm
post #6 of 21


kneadacookie Posted 4 Mar 2007 , 11:44pm
post #7 of 21

i've been talking to a lady about renting her catering kitchen to do my cookies after hours. I haven't gotten a price yet. $200 a month sounds like heaven. it sounds like all you have to offer could do a lot for his business. i think mypastrychef is right. i wouldn't offer all that at first either. you could always add on but it's really hard to take away offers. you should also have it in writing just what is expected between you...whose supplies do you use, who pays for what.. good luck! let us know how it works out.

shaloop Posted 5 Mar 2007 , 1:18am
post #8 of 21

I think paying a set amount would probably be the easiest solution with the fewest grey areas. I just started this month paying $300 per month to rent use of a kitchen. (Sharing with a guy who makes tamales.) I use the kitchen two dedicated days per week and on evenings or Sundays if I need additional time. My refrigerator, oven and supplies storage is there. This is a new situation for both of us and I hope it will work out. I will be making dessert cakes to sell to local coffee shops and restaurants. You need to be able to set your own schedule. You may not be able to drop everything and make items for him at the drop of a hat. Also, the ingredients costs and labor times may vary on the different items you make and it could get complicated. Maybe you could still work together in some ways though. Network!!!

amymichele Posted 5 Mar 2007 , 1:37am
post #9 of 21

I'm sorta in the same boat as you, only with a local cafe/coffee shop. I sell under my "business" name and pay the cafe owner 20% of my profits. I don't know if that's a good deal or not, but sounds good to me...this way I don't have to pay a set fee for the month if I'm not baking a lot. The cafe owner is a friend of a friend, so this could be why she's letting me do it this way, but I don't know. Maybe you could set up something like this, or if you do a lot of baking put in a maximum number you're willing to pay each month? I don't know for sure - I'm pretty new at all this too! Good Luck!

Daniellemhv Posted 5 Mar 2007 , 3:02am
post #10 of 21

thanks you guys. You've given me some really helpful tips!

didi5 Posted 5 Mar 2007 , 4:52am
post #11 of 21

IMHO, I think it's best that you pay a set amount of $$ to a set amount of time. If you start offering your services and goodies in exchange for use of the kitchen, they might ask you to do more and more and then you might have less time doing your own stuff.

albumangel Posted 5 Mar 2007 , 7:15am
post #12 of 21

I'm just a family & friends decorator right now, but have been looking into renting kitchens in my area. It seems that kitchens charge $12-15/hr here, but you must pay a certain amount ($500-$800) up-front for a month to reserve the hours.

I agree with the other posters- If he approached you, then you need to do more listening and asking than "show & tell" for this first meeting. Take pictures of your work and a few samples, but don't offer too much until you've heard his ideas. If it doesn't feel 100% great, then definitely talk it over with your mom and post it here for those w/ more experience to give feedback.

Isn't CC great?! thumbs_up.gif

CoutureCake Posted 5 Mar 2007 , 8:21pm
post #13 of 21

Being one who is dealing with the icon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gif when it comes to my licensed kitchen space rental... I can safely say...

1) Hire a business lawyer to draw up a contract that is mutually agreeable.
2) Pay a set amount minimum ($$$ per month) then a user fee (say $20/day) to cover the misc. expenses. This way, you're paying the rental, but if you aren't using the space every single day, which you won't for quite a while until you're established (~3-5 years), you won't be out a ton of money or scrambling to find it at the end of the day. Next to that, once you hit a certain point in your sales, you may want to set that the minimum be higher and per-day be lower.
3) Deal in dollars, not product! Believe me when I say, if you deal in product, 9:10, YOU are going to be the one on the short end. Think about it, if you're giving him cakes, he's now your competition and can undersell what you would put on them for prices.
4) Set the parameters of the rental with what you get, when you get to use it, and have it in the contract! No gray areas of "NO KITCHEN FO YOU" which is what I got this winter when I wanted to come in for 4 hours to make sample cakes in the middle of the night when no one is in the space. Suddenly, it was an issue for me to use the licensed space when it was previously agreed that it would be o.k.
5) Above all else, follow the bakers 11th commandment... Cover thy Buns! Plan for the worst to happen. What happens when you don't sell a cake for 5 months and you still have to pay rent. Your parents aren't going to bail you out after a certain point. It's calling failing forward fast. Plan for your contingency plan.

alicegop Posted 6 Mar 2007 , 2:09am
post #14 of 21

Good information. I'm trying to start a kitchen rental and I'm trying to figure out what my costs are and what to charge so that I am not left holding the bag so to speak.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me on the other end as to what is reasonable and what is unreasonable for me to expect from my renters?


DesignerCakes Posted 6 Mar 2007 , 1:09pm
post #15 of 21

You are probably offering far more than he expects of you. I would definitely follow the previous advice of waiting to hear what the person is looking for in terms of your products, availability, commitment, etc. Tell him what you want first. Then wait to see what his response is. For example, you can say, "I am interested in working out of a licensed kitchen so I can bake cakes." Then let that person respond with what they have to offer and what they expect in return.

I would not offer up my products, at least not as many, or you will find yourself working for him with little time to do your own thing. I would especially be careful of your products being sold under his business name. What happens if, and when, you want to branch out on your own?

Make sure to discuss storage space for your ingredients, finished cakes, etc. In additional to an hourly fee, most rental kitchens will charge a monthly fee for a shelf or designated refrigerator and storage space.

Definitely get your agreement in writing and make it official. Make sure to negotiate 'after hours' access so you aren't limited to times that are not convenient for you. If your intention is to someday branch out on your own, be sure to make this clear so there is no 'expectation'. Be realsitic about the time commitment you make to this person in terms of working there long term. If your cake business takes off, you may be moving into your own space sooner rather than later and you don't want to be bound for too long. By the same token, take into consideration the opposite. What if you decide to pursue a different hobby or profession and are tied to a long term commitment? Be sure to think of all possible scenarios.

Also just as important, make sure to discuss priorities - what happens when you have an order for a cake and it coincides with something he needs you to prepare? What takes presedence, his stuff or yours? This is another reason why you don't want to offer up as many items.

Lastly, make sure to have a backup person that can cover for you. What happens if you get sick all of a sudden and aren't available to fulfill an order - be it for him or your own client?

Good luck! I wish you all the best. Please let us know how your meeting goes.


Daniellemhv Posted 7 Mar 2007 , 9:17pm
post #16 of 21

thanks everyone. you've helped alot. my meeting is tomorrow

starrynights Posted 7 Mar 2007 , 10:42pm
post #17 of 21

and i agree with the "musts", including contracts, licensing, and everything spelled out in writing. We require all of our renters to have a signed contract with a deposit, business insurance, and proper licensing. And a price too good to be true probably is- you will pay in a slipshod landlord, stolen ingredients, and unavailable kitchen time.

We have our rental fees online if you want to compare (we are in Seattle, which is a fairly expensive region):

mypastrychef Posted 8 Mar 2007 , 2:46am
post #18 of 21
Originally Posted by starrynights

and i agree with the "musts", including contracts, licensing, and everything spelled out in writing. We require all of our renters to have a signed contract with a deposit, business insurance, and proper licensing. And a price too good to be true probably is- you will pay in a slipshod landlord, stolen ingredients, and unavailable kitchen time.

We have our rental fees online if you want to compare (we are in Seattle, which is a fairly expensive region):

Your site is awesome and what a cool kitchen!!!!
just curious how successful this concept is.
What is your occupancy rate?

starrynights Posted 8 Mar 2007 , 5:57pm
post #19 of 21

Our occupancy rate is 100%. That doesn't mean it's occupied all the time, it means that we have all the renters we can handle while still running our catering business successfully. Most of our renters are very early morning, so it works out well.

DesignerCakes Posted 9 Mar 2007 , 2:41am
post #20 of 21

So, how did it go???

gr8yf Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 9:00pm
post #21 of 21

This is what I am going through now and even though this was a year ago how did it turn out.

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