How To Approach Cafes To Rent Kitchen Space?

Business By CakeDiva73 Updated 22 Jun 2008 , 6:51pm by lainalee

CakeDiva73 Posted 4 May 2008 , 6:00pm
post #1 of 39

I am wanting to get legal and came close last year with a local cafe. It didn't work out because the (not so) silent partner was concerned with their Workman's Comp insurance and me getting hurt while working in their facility.....*sigh*

I was depressed for more than a year, lol. Guess if I am going to be a business woman I better learn to suck it up and move on quick! icon_smile.gif

So my question is, what do you feel is the best approach? The phone is too 'telemarketer' but even if I show up during a slow time, how will I know if the owner is on the premesis? Do I just drop in? Do I bring samples? If so, what kind?

Also, perhaps the biggest question is what to expect to pay...now I realize location, location, location but I was hoping (perhaps) to find a place that would benefit from baked goods and bake for their store in exchange for kitchen time. With this kind of an arrangement, who provides the ingredients?

I realize I sound like a train wreck but part of my fear of approaghing them is because I don't know what the heck I am doing! Maybe if I had an idea, I would be a bit more confident. thanks in advance for any advice ~ it is appreciated. icon_smile.gif

38 replies
peardream Posted 4 May 2008 , 6:31pm
post #2 of 39

I don't have any advice, but I am in the same boat.

I always feel like I'm going to sound like a raving lunatic, walking into a place talking about renting their kitchen space.

I always wonder if the phone would be a better way of approaching the subject, so the owner isn't put on the spot, in a face to face conversation.

I'm interested to see what others have to say about this.

CakeDiva73 Posted 4 May 2008 , 6:37pm
post #3 of 39

Hey, I'm with you...theonly thing is on the phone, it makes it easier for the owner to dismiss the idea altogether. That's why I was thinking bringing in some phat icon_smile.gif samples would catch their eye and their taste buds before they have a chance to say no......maybe? lol icon_smile.gif

peardream Posted 4 May 2008 , 6:40pm
post #4 of 39

I posted something on Craigslist about renting commerical space and here's one of the responses I got:

why would a restaurant want to take on anyones responsibility for use of the kitchen ? I have just retired from the food business in Colorado, and if you think your own "insurance" would cover the total loss of a place due to theft, fire loss, damage, food loss, it will not. You would need to carry total replacement coverage insurance in addition to food issues coverage, which is separate from equipment costs replacement.

And if you would happen to poision someone, by accident, the kitchen you are using would be hauled into the picture, you know lawyers - pit bulls of society.

Save your money, put your dream on the back burner and plan for your own place. Also look at the costs of flour for the next few years, it will be out of sight.

Kinda depressing and discouraging, eh?

sweetiemama Posted 4 May 2008 , 9:05pm
post #5 of 39

Geez peardream! What an awful response that person sent! Sometimes I wonder how people have the time to be so rotten! If we don't try we will never know....

The one time I e-mailed someone it turned out he was just sort of running this business for a friend who had been very ill. It was a weird response. Mostly he wanted to know how I got his e-mail. Ummm....it is on your website!

I am curious about this too. I am thinking to give them samples also. From what I have seen here on CC it seems to be a lot of right place, right time, right people.

CakeDiva73 Posted 5 May 2008 , 1:06am
post #6 of 39

I realize the risk involved and I feel that not everyone has such a dour attitude as the guy who emailed you......ok, I HOPE they don't! icon_smile.gif Otherwise, I am SOL.

Still though, does anyone have any ideas about how to approach these businesses? Do I bring pictures, sample cakes, cupcakes? Has anyone done this or had any success? thanks

Katied75 Posted 5 May 2008 , 12:04pm
post #7 of 39

I'm a newbie to decorating so certainly I haven't tried this, but what about sending out letters?

My parents are in the construction business, and when they are looking to buy land they go to city hall, research available land, and send out letters of interest. They got their last huge project that way.

My thought is that you can get the address of every cafe, commercial kitchen space, etc. and put together a letter stating who you are and what you are looking to do. Tell them you are willing to work during their off hours, or whatever it is that you are okay with. I'd also include a picture portfolio of your work.

Then you can either mail the letter, or for places you really feel would work I'd bring in a sample of cupcakes or cakes that they might want to sell at their establishment, along with the letter. Drop it all off for the owner to see.

This is also a way to drum up some business... for every place you drop off baked goods with a letter you are 1. letting employees see or try your baked goods and making them aware of your business and 2. potentially finding a cafe that might look to order your baked goods for their business.

Katie

peardream Posted 6 May 2008 , 7:31pm
post #8 of 39

How about we ask those who own bakeries/ cafes how they would prefer being approached?

There are plenty on cakecentral.

I was hoping for more action on this thread.....

cakeryluv Posted 6 May 2008 , 7:55pm
post #9 of 39

I was hoping so too... The place I thought I was going to be able to use for sure, just wont work with my schedule (unless I want to be baking and decorating overnight!) so I'm back to square one. I'm headed to the local churches next, but not sure what kind of reaction I'll get.

CakeDiva73 Posted 6 May 2008 , 8:07pm
post #10 of 39

Triple that! icon_smile.gif I would have loved to hear from some owners as to how they would prefer to be approached too.

I was so scared away after that cafe said no....he really seemed interested. I was even told I should drop a tray by with some business cards - just to let him know I am still alive and kicking in case he has changed his mind.

I am really starting to feel the pressure - meaning I have business cards and even a website that I can't use because I am not legal! I have corporate accounts I would like to go after but can't, again, due to legalities. CRIPES!!!!

ok, my whining little fit is over now!

CakeDiva73 Posted 6 May 2008 , 8:13pm
post #11 of 39

Oooh. almost forgot.....found a large site owner and inquired if they were licensed (I think she knew I wasn't they type to turn anyone in - was just curious as it pertained to my own potential business) Anway, she said she wasn't - has never been asked and has a license for "Gift Baskets"......... gift baskets!!

She doesn't do just cake - she does alot of cookies, etc. But that was her advice, get licensed for gift baskets. Said that could mean anything.....

And please lets not turn this into a big fight - I understand that that is not being licensed for 'food from the home', I totally 'get' it. I was merely marveling at her creativity and, perhaps, luck? icon_lol.gif And she's been doing it (website and corporate orders, no less!!) for more than 3 years.

Anyway, just a little useless trivia for ya!

peardream Posted 6 May 2008 , 8:23pm
post #12 of 39

Was this lady in your same state, CakeDiva?

I don't know if the laws are different from state to state but I know in FL, you have to have a license even to sell pre-packaged foods....
Or at least that's what I gathered from trying to wade through their FL Dept of Agriculture website.

cakeryluv Posted 6 May 2008 , 8:23pm
post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

Triple that! icon_smile.gif I would have loved to hear from some owners as to how they would prefer to be approached too.

I was so scared away after that cafe said no....he really seemed interested. I was even told I should drop a tray by with some business cards - just to let him know I am still alive and kicking in case he has changed his mind.

I am really starting to feel the pressure - meaning I have business cards and even a website that I can't use because I am not legal! I have corporate accounts I would like to go after but can't, again, due to legalities. CRIPES!!!!

ok, my whining little fit is over now!




yup, same here. I know I'd have piles of business (I turn people down nearly daily) if I could just do it. I haven't printed my business cards, but I did register my website and I'm playing around with my logo and gathering all of my supplies but I'm feeling helpless otherwise.

As far as the gift basket thing goes, awesome if it works, but I used to work for a local bakery and I know they'd be all over me license-wise, so it sure wouldn't work for me! icon_smile.gif

ChrisfromNOLA Posted 7 May 2008 , 2:35am
post #14 of 39

CakeDiva, I was thinking maybe there is a cooking school in you area that would be willing to let you rent? What about a catering or reception hall b/c they are usually not very busy during the week?
If someone were to approach me about renting space, I would prefer a letter that way I could think about it and try to figure out how it could work. Summer is a slow time for most businesses, so extra income may be appealing to some owners.

BigTexinWV Posted 7 May 2008 , 2:03pm
post #15 of 39

Before I approached anyone I would have a business plan. That included what exactly you want from the kitchen and what you are willing to give.
This would need to include how many hours a week you are planning on using the kitchen, rather or not you want to be considered an employee, if you can pay for your own food servicer license. Any additional space you may need to store your supplies. You need to show that you are a good investment. And that you are on your game.

Most importantly your plan will need to include what you need, and how, when and how much you will pay for it. If you want to work in the afternoon and in the evenings then I would not suggest going to diners. I would suggest a donut shop and something like that. Maybe you can look at churches, maybe the food bank, daycares, and schools. I do not think that you will have much success with national chains; I am assuming that it is against company policy.

Most of all remember that people are going to turn you down! But that is okay, because if you have done your homework and you know that this will work, then those fools just missed a good thing! It will be a numbers game the more places you talk to then the more likely you will hear a yes!

lardbutt Posted 7 May 2008 , 2:59pm
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by peardream

I posted something on Craigslist about renting commerical space and here's one of the responses I got:

why would a restaurant want to take on anyones responsibility for use of the kitchen ? I have just retired from the food business in Colorado, and if you think your own "insurance" would cover the total loss of a place due to theft, fire loss, damage, food loss, it will not. You would need to carry total replacement coverage insurance in addition to food issues coverage, which is separate from equipment costs replacement.

And if you would happen to poision someone, by accident, the kitchen you are using would be hauled into the picture, you know lawyers - pit bulls of society.

Save your money, put your dream on the back burner and plan for your own place. Also look at the costs of flour for the next few years, it will be out of sight.

Kinda depressing and discouraging, eh?



I refer to people like this as SUCKERS!

They SUCK they life out of everyone when they walk in a room! How would you like to be married to someone like that!

Stick with your dreams, set goals and have a plan when you meet with someone. Now, I have no idea what should be in a "plan", I just know you need one! icon_lol.gif

Homemade-Goodies Posted 7 May 2008 , 3:32pm
post #17 of 39

Terrific pep talk and advice, BigTex!

I'm hoping that the lady I'm going to approach appreciates the trade-off of trust...I'll be liable/respectful for her equipment, but she will be for mine as well. Fingers crossed that works. I've been baking her cheesecakes on the menu for nearly a year, so luckily I already have a relationship with her, but we'll see...... :S

pinktea Posted 7 May 2008 , 3:46pm
post #18 of 39

This might be a possibility.

I liked what Paula Deen did when she had her lunch business . Her 1st "commercial kitchen" was at a nightclub. They are required to have a commerical kitchen and they are closed all day thumbs_up.gif

CakeDiva73 Posted 7 May 2008 , 4:23pm
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinktea

This might be a possibility.

I liked what Paula Deen did when she had her lunch business . Her 1st "commercial kitchen" was at a nightclub. They are required to have a commerical kitchen and they are closed all day thumbs_up.gif




wow, that's a great idea. I watched her Chefography and didn't pick up on that at all. I know what was making them from home and going to the Medical Arts place at lunchtime when she first started out, we all gotta start somewhere.

I need to sit down and create the business plan but I am hoping NOT to rent a space - I would rather trade for baked goods which is why a deli would work out really well for me. Just gotta get my courage up. icon_smile.gif

cakeryluv Posted 7 May 2008 , 4:36pm
post #20 of 39

Wow, I never even thought to check the bar route... we have hundreds (literally) around! Pinktea, thank you for that brilliant idea...I'll add them to my list! Plus, I might be able to convince one of them to use my treats as trade in some way anyway...a lot of them serve food anyway, why not desserts?!

peardream Posted 7 May 2008 , 4:38pm
post #21 of 39

Maybe it would be best to send out a nice letter, stating you will follow-up with them in a weeks time, to give them time to think about it.

I think if you just sent the letter, it would go ignored...sometimes persistance pays off.

I need to take my own advice! I'm a chicken when it comes to the idea of approaching someone about kitchen rental. Is it kitchen rental really common amoung the business or will people think we're nuts for asking?

cakeryluv Posted 7 May 2008 , 4:43pm
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by peardream

Maybe it would be best to send out a nice letter, stating you will follow-up with them in a weeks time, to give them time to think about it.

I think if you just sent the letter, it would go ignored...sometimes persistance pays off.

I need to take my own advice! I'm a chicken when it comes to the idea of approaching someone about kitchen rental. Is it kitchen rental really common amoung the business or will people think we're nuts for asking?




I've been wondering the same thing. The restaurant I originally thought was going to work out thought it was strange, but since DBF works there said they would be willing. Over the next couple days they said they'd get back to us with a final answer and it seemed they were having second thoughts and said they spend too much of the day in the kitchen prepping so I'd only be able to come in after midnight. They live upstairs from the restaurant so I just can't imagine making noise down there doing it. Plus, I have no desire to be anywhere but my own house at midnight! icon_smile.gif

pinktea Posted 7 May 2008 , 7:11pm
post #23 of 39

Cakediva73, she mentioned it in her autobiography - " Paula Deen - It ain't all about the cookin" . (which by the way is a good read).

Cakeryluv, the trade off proposition is a great idea. Bar hoppers have a sweet tooth too!!!

lovinkakes Posted 8 May 2008 , 8:47pm
post #24 of 39

peardream, so sorry about that AWFUL reply. I like what everyone else said: keep your head up!
In Colorado we have a rental kitchen. The site says $20/hour, but when I called, there is also a $100 fee per month. Not too bad, though. Also, the health department official told me people commonly use the kitchen of the church they attend, that that is OK, too.

ladyonzlake Posted 31 May 2008 , 12:02am
post #25 of 39

Check Craigs List under business or office/commercial. I just type in Kitchen and several rental kitchens come up.

I enquired about one which was a cafe that catered to the business crowd. They closed at 3pm and on weekends. The price wasn't too bad at $500 a month with unlimited use. The problem...the distance from me and I'm not sure I could cover $500 a month.

Liability insurance isn't too bad. It would cost me about $500 a year. That would cover me in the kitchen I rented, if someone got sick from my cake or choked on it, and it also covered mishaps with delivery of the cake.

You can also try www.commercialkitchenforrent.com

I don't know how people do it when they may hourly. I wouldn't be able to afford to sell cakes at $25 an hour rent!

I'm hoping to find someone who will let me start out at say $250 a month until I build my business and can afford more.

lsienna Posted 31 May 2008 , 4:50pm
post #26 of 39

I recently have been looking into renting space and I found most people want upwards from $800.00 to $1000.00 per month. The one woman I spoke with has a bakery in an affluent community and her rent is $3500.00 a month! Yikes! She was asking min. $1000.00 per month. She also told me before her bakery she leased out a kitchen at a local Girls and Boys club who had a brand new kitchen and they were charging her $1500.00 per month! Jeez!

I guess it will be tough around here to get a head start but I just have to keep looking and sooner or later something will happen. I am hoping to pay around $200 - $300 per month to start then I can add more rent as I get more business. Where there is a will there is a way.

lsienna

jamhays Posted 31 May 2008 , 5:10pm
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by peardream

Maybe it would be best to send out a nice letter, stating you will follow-up with them in a weeks time, to give them time to think about it.

I think if you just sent the letter, it would go ignored...sometimes persistance pays off.





+1

couturecupcakery Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 9:50am
post #28 of 39

Last month I just did a mass email to any catering company I had heard of within a 20 mile radius of my home. I got 3 decent responses and I ended up seeing all 3 kitchens and of course at each meeting I took in a dozen cupcakes (my business). I got a range of $1000 pr month to the BEST deal ever of $100 per month!!! I live in So Cal so this is an amazing deal. The agreement is I will use 1-2x per week, in the afternoon and/or evening--works for me better this way. If I start to need more than this will will renegotiate $$. He may even want to use my services-- I would of course give a screaming discount! He even said I could have an area on a rack and use space in their fridge!! Now I can get licensed. Don't give up. Just keep cutting and pasting emails to anyone you can think of. Before I got my space I even contemplated places like The Elks Lodge, The Kiwanas club etc...

ladyonzlake Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 2:12pm
post #29 of 39

Wow, Courturecupcakery that is an awsome deal. You have a great tip! I'll try that!

ADeluca Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 11:46pm
post #30 of 39

Has anyone ever thought about possibly buying a commercial space and building a kitchen to use with someone else? I was thinking maybe if I could find someone else in south florida who was interested in splitting the cost of a kitchen and splitting our time in it, maybe that could work? Any takers? (btw I don't want a cake decorating business so I wouldn't be competition! I want to make gluten free treats and sell them to stores)

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