Does anyone here have any experience baking and decorating cakes at a commissary or satellite kitchen? That is one of the places the health dept suggests using. If you have done this I would love to hear how it works out for you. Thanks.
Not to steal your thunder but I also am interested in hearing any replies as I have seen this mentioned on CC several times.
I guess I have to wonder if anyone really does work at these types of kitchens.
I know when I worked at the comissary, they NEVER allowed that. I have worked at several comissaries here and overseas. But maybe that is something new. Can I ask where you are located that the health dept suggested that?
Colorado. There are private licensed kitchens that are rented out to bakers, caterers, vendor foodcarts, those who need a licensed kitchen but aren't big enough to invest in a kitchen, that type of thing. I just wonder how it works out for a cake decorator.
Oh, okay. I get that. I thought that they might have specifically told you to try the comissary. That is why I was wondering about it. I have never done that, but I am also searching for a place to rent, too! Hope you find something good!
I don't have personal experience in this, but I found a site that lists available commercial kitchens for rent:
That list is for Colorado. To find one near you, type your zip code into the box in the upper left hand corner of the page and hit "go."
I'm also interested in hearing first-hand experiences.
They are also called shared-use commercial kitchens or kitchen incubators. I am looking in to starting one....its been educational. They typically range in price between $10-$35 depending upon what part of the country you are in, how many hours you want to rent the kitchen per month, and what hours you are willing to work. Usually this fee includes a small amount of refrigerator/freezer and dry storage space as well as utilities, often phone and a few other services. Incubators will usually also have some sort of small business help services, which is great. I know the fee seems expensive, but even the for profit ones don't make a lot of money--there is a lot more going into it than you'd expect.
You just have to decide if it makes sense for your business so you have some place to start from before finding your own space. They can be great for just getting started, but since cakes are such a time consuming item (and you really can't make 500 at a time--like a food processor could) it may be tough for you to produce enough to cover the hourly cost of the kitchen, your other costs and still have much of anything left over.
(I really think they work better for a company producing large quantities of the same product all at once--if they can produce 200 bottles of their product which they sell at $8 each during a 4 hour period they are going to make a lot more than a cake decorator who can make 2 or 3 cakes which they can sell for $60 each in that same 4 hour period--and don't forget you have to include set up and clean up in that time)
If you do do it you have to figure out how to be super productive and efficient.
HTH and good luck
I checked out a shared kitchen in my area. It was too expensive for me. You had to sign up with a 6 month commitment and put down one month's security deposit. The cheapest monthly rest was $450 which gave you 20 hours/month. You also had to have your ServSafe certification ($250) plus purchase liability insurance ($500-$600/yr). Instead I approached a friend-of-a-friend who owns two bakeries and she will let me work out of her smaller kitchen in exchange for baking a few things for her and helping around the store once in a while. What a find for me! I am so excited to get my license. Good luck.