Okay, So Here Is The Dirt On Tx

Business By katy625 Updated 18 Jun 2010 , 3:56am by sweetcakes

katy625 Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:05pm
post #1 of 30

So, I called the Dept. Public Health and we found that the easiest way to get a license in Texas (since the cakes would require transportation) is to get a Caterers lisence. Then all I would have to do is make sure my Jeep is clean and has plastic flooring in the back. When I find a kitchen then I just have to show a copy of the health permit for that kitchen. SOOO, I looked at my community center's kitchen and WOAH! ITs expensive. $40 per hour! So, i just need to find a place........I just don't know where......so anyhoo, looks like I'll be a "Caterer" here in Tx

29 replies
SweetConfectionsChef Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:13pm
post #2 of 30

Where are you in Texas?

simplysweetcakes Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:15pm
post #3 of 30

Great information, I too am in Tx and have been wondering about this. The Dept Public Health sent me a packet of info but I haven't read through it all yet. It is my understanding that you can NOT bake and sell cakes out of your home, is that right? My house happens to be on a street that is also zoned for business use, I was wondering if I could build a seperate "kitchen" and shop on my property...any texans out there know if this would be allowed?

katy625 Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:16pm
post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetConfectionsChef

Where are you in Texas?




Fort Worth.....How does Houston handle these things?

katy625 Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:17pm
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by simplysweetcakes

Great information, I too am in Tx and have been wondering about this. The Dept Public Health sent me a packet of info but I haven't read through it all yet. It is my understanding that you can NOT bake and sell cakes out of your home, is that right? My house happens to be on a street that is also zoned for business use, I was wondering if I could build a seperate "kitchen" and shop on my property...any texans out there know if this would be allowed?




Wow that is a great question. hhhmmm...I would just call the dept public health and they should be able to tell you. That would be nice if they considered it commercial!

Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:20pm
post #6 of 30

What about a church kitchen...They are usually really reasonable in price!!!

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:36pm
post #7 of 30

In Harris County, where I live and where my shop is located, you have to be in a commercial kitchen (whether it's yours or you are renting a liscenced one) as a liscenced food service manager. It doesn't really matter what the "title" of your business is. You buy your liscence according to wether you have eggs, raw chicken, all disposable, ect. I haven't had anyone check my vehicle. That's why I was curious. Texas is strange in the way that it governs food establishments. The City of Houston has it's own HD, but the county's have their own. Also, the state of Texas liscences you if you want to do pre-packaged, self-serve merchandise....then you have to have two liscences and be inspected twice as much!

I have a friend who bought a 20x16 tin storage building and put a commercial kitchen in it. It sits next to her house. She is liscenced by the state because all she does is jelly, jam, and the such. It's all pre-packaged, self serve. She doesn't have any customers come by, all of her business is done at trade shows or wholesale.

My inspector has been invaluable to me. She is great! She has also told me when I call and can't reach her, to ask for another inspector. The people that answer the phone don't always know the correct answer to your question. I almost didn't open my shop because when I called I talked to whoever answered and she said I had to have commercial grade appliances and I couldn't afford them. Something told me to call back and ask for someone else and I'm glad I did! I was about to chuck the entire project over false info!

Anyway, good luck to you!

katy625 Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 3:53pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetConfectionsChef

In Harris County, where I live and where my shop is located, you have to be in a commercial kitchen (whether it's yours or you are renting a liscenced one) as a liscenced food service manager. It doesn't really matter what the "title" of your business is. You buy your liscence according to wether you have eggs, raw chicken, all disposable, ect. I haven't had anyone check my vehicle. That's why I was curious. Texas is strange in the way that it governs food establishments. The City of Houston has it's own HD, but the county's have their own. Also, the state of Texas liscences you if you want to do pre-packaged, self-serve merchandise....then you have to have two liscences and be inspected twice as much!

I have a friend who bought a 20x16 tin storage building and put a commercial kitchen in it. It sits next to her house. She is liscenced by the state because all she does is jelly, jam, and the such. It's all pre-packaged, self serve. She doesn't have any customers come by, all of her business is done at trade shows or wholesale.

My inspector has been invaluable to me. She is great! She has also told me when I call and can't reach her, to ask for another inspector. The people that answer the phone don't always know the correct answer to your question. I almost didn't open my shop because when I called I talked to whoever answered and she said I had to have commercial grade appliances and I couldn't afford them. Something told me to call back and ask for someone else and I'm glad I did! I was about to chuck the entire project over false info!

Anyway, good luck to you!




Well, she was an actual inspector that I talked to and she did say that every town has different standards. Uuggh....do they HAVE to be so darn difficult! I guess I have a lot of homework to do!

gidgetsmom Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 4:10pm
post #9 of 30

I'm in Denton County and from what I've read/heard I can do a kitchen that's attached to the home as long as has a separate entrance and all of the appropriate facilities - Meaning I could convert our garage - or we've talked about the separate building in the back yard too - it's big enough to do that if I wanted. But we're looking at moving so that all could change!

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 4:41pm
post #10 of 30

katy625, I wasn't implying that you didn't talk to an inspector...I just wanted you to know what my inspector had told me. thumbs_up.gif

Getting through all of the paperwork can be a chore, but it sounds like you are on the right track!!

katy625 Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 5:17pm
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetConfectionsChef

katy625, I wasn't implying that you didn't talk to an inspector...I just wanted you to know what my inspector had told me. thumbs_up.gif

Getting through all of the paperwork can be a chore, but it sounds like you are on the right track!!




Im sorry I didn't mean it to come out snotty. I was just pretty much going over everything in my head out loud again. Im pretty confused right now. Its very tiring trying to figure it all out here.

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 29 Dec 2006 , 6:16pm
post #12 of 30

It's all good! thumbs_up.gif

sweetchef Posted 30 Dec 2006 , 7:20pm
post #13 of 30

Good luck! I've had my place in Houston open for a few months now, but it took me 6 months to get through the city's red tape (and my lease space was already a food business before)! Every person I called at the city and the health dept had a different story on what was required! It can be exhausting, but keep your eye on the prize--the happy ending!

Cookie4 Posted 30 Dec 2006 , 7:28pm
post #14 of 30

I live in Houston and our Cake Club meets in a Church cafeteria each month. Their kitchen is available and there is no charge. Look into your local churches, especially those with elementary schools operating on the same facility.

tracy702 Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 4:26am
post #15 of 30

I hate to rain on anyones parade but Texas does NOT allow any HOME bakery. Period. It doesn't matter what county, city or zoning you live in. I have included the web site address for those of you living in Texas that would like to read more on it. I am also including the exact law that states the fact, so that you don't have to read through it all. Sorry, I worked for the State Health Dept. in Texas before moving to MO.

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/license.shtm

RESTRICTIONS ON COMMERCIAL FOOD PREPARATION IN A HOME
The Texas Food Establishment Rules ( TFER), Section 229.167(d)(10) states: A private home, a room used as living or sleeping quarters, or an area directly opening into a room used as living or sleeping quarters may not be used for conducting food establishment operations.

katy625 Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 4:37am
post #16 of 30

I kind of figured that they wouldn't let a home bakery open in Texas. They are so anal here. Thats okay though because my husband already decided against that anyways! icon_cry.gif

Cookie4 Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 2:38pm
post #17 of 30

To Tracey: You are right about Texas, however, many home bakers in Texas are doing one of the following:

1. Baking at home and being quiet about it,

2. Baking in a certified kitchen and either decorating there or moving the cakes to their home kitchen for decorating and also being quiet about it, or

3. Are adding rooms onto their homes with outside access doors for clients and deliveries which makes them become a certified kitchen after taking the Food Safe certification and inspection process is completed.

All said - if a home baker doesn't advertise and only accepts an 'offering' gratuity he/she can probably get away with baking without the investment of a kitchen for some time until he/she can afford the full bakery investment.

Here's the real dilema: Do you bake enough cakes to support a facility, material costs, utilities, insurance YET? If not, keep baking and see where you are in 6 months, then 12 months and when you can afford it -make the commitment to really BE IN BUSINESS!

tracy702 Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 2:44pm
post #18 of 30

Cookie4
I am well aware of how many home bakers their are. I posted the website for katy625, as she was mislead that it was possible to have a home bakery, where in fact it is not.

What home bakers must realize is that in fact should someone get sick they can be sued and lose their personal belongings. Most home bakers are not ServSafe Certified.

There is absoultely nothing wrong with someone baking at home for family and friends. I just would not suggest advertising and selling cakes from your home.

Happy Baking and New Year,
Tracy

bkdcakes Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 3:04pm
post #19 of 30

Tracey, what if the building is not connected to your home? I was told that it would be acceptable, as long as the "living quarters" were not connected to the commercial kitchen. Since I can't afford that right now, I'm still trying to figure something else out.

Also, in our county, a church kitchen is zoned "non-profit", so you can't use it for profit, unless the church wants to lose their np status!

Thanks for all the info!

tracy702 Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 3:22pm
post #20 of 30

bkdcakes,
You are correct - it must NOT be connected to the home. The second thing you have to have approved if you went that route is the zonning where you live.

The city usually will not allow it if you are in a neighborhood that is not zoned for commercial use, due to traffic, etc. And some neighborhoods have Homeowners Associations that will not allow it.

There is more red tape to cross when trying to do it at a home than if you sublet a kitchen that is already licensed from someone else. Churches are suggested my many - but you are correct - if it is a "Non-Profit", which most are - they can lose their status. Most are not aware of it.

I would suggest talking to a cafe or donut shop. The key is to find someone that has limited hours or days that they are open. Then you can work during closed hours/days.

Good Luck.

sweetcakes Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 5:20pm
post #21 of 30

i have a copy of the TFER, have read it over many many times so i know what it says, but like laws there are loopholes, any good lawyer will tell you that.
But anyhow this is what i am doing and will be finished in the next month or so.
I have permission from my city, my health inspector approved my plans, and we are now putting cabinets in. We have taken 1/2 the garage and converted that to a commercial kitchen with all the requirements, i will have insurance, permits, certificates, everything that is needed, as i will be baking from a home based inspected commercial kitchen very soon. so it is possible to do it, with quite an investment at home, but one needs to check with the city first, then the health dept, get those okd then your set. there can be light at the end of this tunnel, but there are hurdles to jump over on the way. icon_wink.gif

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 2 Jan 2007 , 8:58pm
post #22 of 30

Sweetcakes, I am assuming your garage is detached from your house?

asolis77 Posted 16 Jun 2010 , 11:42pm
post #23 of 30

I was wondering the same thing. I live in Castroville, Texas and thought I should buy a house in San Antonio, Tx, so that I could section off an area for my cake business. Oh well, I guess I'll have to rent a small space instead.

carlee521 Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 12:44am
post #24 of 30

Katy,

I read that you live in fort worth and the commerical kitchen is $40 an hour. If you are willing to drive to Garland, their commercial kitchen is $16-18/hr.

http://www.hourkitchendallas.com/

Here's one in fort worth that's cheaper than $40/hr lol

http://www.elixirkitchenspace.com/rates/

Another one in fort worth:
http://www.commercialkitchenforrent.com/Intermezzo_Fine_Foods-270.html

minicuppie Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:15pm
post #25 of 30

Kelley M. started a grass roots organization and submitted a bill in 2009 to enact a cottage law here in our great state. Here is a link. http://www.texascottagefoodlaw.com/ Sign the petition! Become active! We will be submitting again in early 2011 and hopefully will be able to ram it through.

thecakeprincess Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:36pm
post #26 of 30

great thread.

sweetcakes Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:58pm
post #27 of 30

No, my garage is attached. But my residential area does not open directly into my garage. When my HI comes round to do his 2 yearly checks, he knocks on my front door, walks through my house, through my laundry room, through 2 doors into a hall in the garage and then through another door into my kitchen.

MessMaker Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:07pm
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by simplysweetcakes

Great information, I too am in Tx and have been wondering about this. The Dept Public Health sent me a packet of info but I haven't read through it all yet. It is my understanding that you can NOT bake and sell cakes out of your home, is that right? My house happens to be on a street that is also zoned for business use, I was wondering if I could build a seperate "kitchen" and shop on my property...any texans out there know if this would be allowed?




it is to my understanding that that you could build a separate shop for your kitchen as long as its not part of your living quarters..

1. Can I manufacture food in my home kitchen?
The rules do not allow any type of manufacturing or holding of food for distribution in any areas used as living or sleeping quarters unless it is completely partitioned from your home.
http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foods/faq.shtm

kelleym Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:44pm
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcakes

No, my garage is attached. But my residential area does not open directly into my garage. When my HI comes round to do his 2 yearly checks, he knocks on my front door, walks through my house, through my laundry room, through 2 doors into a hall in the garage and then through another door into my kitchen.



Rules must vary by county, because I was told by my county that the kitchen must have an outside entrance, because the HI would not enter the home.

sweetcakes Posted 18 Jun 2010 , 3:56am
post #30 of 30

My HI could knock on my other door and not enter my home at all, but he always comes to the front door.

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