My church just finished a kitchen remodel. They had the open house today and it definitely still needs some finishing touches, like paint on a couple walls, etc. I am in the baby stages of my business and would like to approach the person in charge of the kitchen about a deal that would work for both the church and for me, but I don't know what is fair and what isn't, or even what to ask him. I live in CA, and I'm not sure the kitchen is a licensed commercial kitchen. I would guess it is, but I need to check on that. The person in charge of it has his own catering business, so even if the church's kitchen isn't licensed, he must have one somewhere that is and I would love to talk to him about renting from him, or having a joint venture, if he doesn't offer desserts in his catering business. The thing is, I'm TERRIFIED to talk to strangers, especially professionals. How do I approach him and what do I say?
The answer is always no... until you ask.
That being said, just speak with him. Even if he doesn't have an opportunity for you, he may be able to direct you to someone who may help.
I have a caterer friend who uses her church kitchen. This may vary from state to state, but even tho' the church kitchen was classified as a warming kitchen and not subjec to health dept approval (so it wasn't a licensed/approved kitchen), my friend was able to use it as long as it had the equipment she needed and the HD required. So just because it's not health dept approved right now, MAY not be a hindrence to you ... check it out.
My friend also made them a deal that she cleans their church for no salary and they let her use the kitchen for no rent. Whatta deal she got!!
And if you're going into business, you need to get over that "fear of talking to strangers" thing or you're going to be miserable every single day (or very broke!)
They say that the best way to face your fear is head on!! Go for it!!! The most they can tell you is no and even then....at least you tried. I know how you feel though. I HATE talking to strangers. Just gotta tough up and go for it (I know...easier said then done). I have found with past experience that regret over never knowing if it could happen is worse then the letdown of rejection. Keep us posted and good luck with whatever decision you make!!
Just ask. The worst they can say is no. Like Indydebi said you may be able to work out some kind of agreement with them. Perhaps you could offer some kind of trade off that would work for you.
I agree though , you need to be able to talk to strangers if you plan on running your own business.
I know the feeling. It sucks. I get that when I'm approaching someone when I want something, but not when they approach me. Wierd. I tend to e-mail first, or use the phone. Hiding as it were. Or in the case of our church and asking, I casually mentioned to one of the ladies "in the know" that I was looking for a space to rent, and she said "Ohhhh... That's too bad! We are only..." and went on to explain, but it came across as totally casual on my end (even though I was sweating!!!), and she gave me about 3 good ideas. Good luck!
Go for it! Figure out what you want to ask ahead of time so you don't have to think as much during the conversation. That always helps me. My brain often goes numb during such conversations. Even if the answer is no, it sounds like the person you are going to talk to has some valuable info. that he will likely share. Good luck!