I have read up on some of the things required to get a license, and I don't want to remodel my home that is brand new, just to bake a dozen cakes a year. SO, I am thinking of going to my church or the school (private) to see if I can rent their kitchen when needed. Anyone from Wisconsin have any guidelines or advice on our laws regarding running this type of business? How about anyone, from anywhere who rents a kitchen like this? I have never done cakes for profit, all are for friends or family, and once in a while, they offer to pay for ingredients, I have a full time job which I love, and don't want to open a full-scale bakery, because new restaurants and bakeries in my small town don't go over very well, and my husband does not want me baking cakes out of our home any more...advice please?
Hi Kerri. I'm not from WI but I am close by (MN). Every state differs in their licensing requirements, so my first call would be to your Dept of Agriculture. They are normally the folks that license bakeries. That, or the Dept of Health.
I'm in a similar boat...don't want to renovate my house but want to be legal at the same time. The thing that is holding me back isn't the rental space but the equipment costs. Shelling out $1K for an NSF mixer just isn't in the budget. So, I'm plodding along doing cakes for family while saving my pennies for a new mixer. Just wanted you to know that the location may not be your only issue to consider.
Good luck, I hope you're able to find something that works for you!
Hi! I live in Madison, WI. Actually I just moved here from Minnesota. I found out that you CAN bake cakes out of your home to friends and family for profit. But, when you get to the "public" you have to have a license and stuff. But, they didn't say a limit on the people to can sell to or anything like that.
I am in WI and just got licensed last summer, so we just went through the licensing less than a year ago. The same license laws apply whether you are renting space or have your own separate kitchen in your home. The big things to look for/ask about when looking at space is the triple sink and separate hand wash sink. Obviously, you'd want to check out oven space and type as well--a regular oven probably isn't going to be great for you, but a school may have a convection oven or larger oven for you to work with.
I tried to rent before we put in our kitchen and couldn't find a church that would rent to me because none of the churches in our area are equipped with the sinks, just regular ovens, etc. I considered our school kitchen but they are working in the kitchen from 6:30 AM to 2:00 PM, M-F and that didn't work in my schedule. That might be something to consider, as a school may not want you to be in the building late at night finishing a cake-and I know I often go into the wee hours!
As far as baking for profit for friends and family, unless the laws have changed recently (and maybe they have, I need to check since I heard some rumors about more relaxed laws) you cannot bake for anyone for profit, family, friends, public, etc. without a separate kitchen, so I would be careful about that. The dep of ag is your best bet and they are very friendly and helpful.
Becky, my Dept of Ag rep told me that as long as I wasn't advertising, I could take $ for the cakes I make for friends and family. In her words, they have bigger fish to fry than someone that makes a few cakes now and then.
I believe my rep, but it also makes me wonder if each of the reps have their own "interpretation" of how they uphold the laws. Kind of like how one police office will pull you over for going 38 in a 35 MPH zone where another one wont. KWIM?
I'm in WI and we put a kitchen in our basement. No problem. talked to the health dept guy about using another facility when the process began and he said that I could do it at another licensed kitchen if I purchase a license myself. So, I guess if the kitchen was licensed it would be ok. However, like you've heard, each county is different. One county over doesn't license home kitchens, mine does.
Another decorator in my area (southern WI) had been decorating for years and years without a license and got caught--huge fines, enough to make her stop decorating. She started up again a few years later and just retired recently...even though I heard basically the same thing you did from one of the people at the ag office, I'm not willing to take the chance. Eeek! My licensing person was pretty strict and I'm not sure she'd look the other way, although they are really overworked and too busy.
That's my worry too Becky...that one person's interpretation may not be ok. So, I'm keeping it on the down low until I get my license. Then, watch out!
Kerri, sorry that I've hijacked your post!