Okay, I'm frustrated but I'm not willing to let this just not happen!
I've been pounding the pavement trying to find a commercial kitchen, and not having much luck. From phone calls not being returned to a child answering the phone (for a church - in the middle of the day, no less) to flat-out "no's" from people I'm not convinced are actually authorized to make that determination...
Clearly, I'm doing something wrong. So my question is: For those of you who have managed to secure yourselves commercial kitchens (in a church, restaurant, firehouse, or wherever), who did you speak with in order to make it happen? I'm thinking the person who books the social hall is NOT the person I need to speak with. Am I wrong?
For instance, my first choice of kitchens is my local firehouse. The lady who is in charge of renting out their social hall seems to think this would fall under her domain, but I'm thinking I would need to speak with someone on the board. But because I've spoken with her briefly once (and then had two phone calls not returned since), I'm not sure how to gracefully go over her head without setting myself up for another flat "no."
A church that was among my top choices gave me a flat no. Again, I think this was another case of me not speaking to the right person. I'm still holding out some hope for a second church, though... But this time I'm not speaking with anyone but the pastor. Unfortunately, this is the one where the child answers the phone and takes "messages."
So one of my top three choices failed. I don't want the remaining two to fail, too. Does anyone have any advice on exactly who to talk to and how NOT to talk myself into another couple of no's?
I'm determined to make this happen if I have to alienate every church and firehouse in a 75-mile radius!!! LOL But I'd really rather just succeed with one of my top choices. WITHOUT being a PITA.
I am so sorry to hear that you are having trouble! I am renting from a dinner prep/make adhea dinner place. I just called and asked for the owner and they sat down and talked about it with me. I don't know if you have anyplaces near you like this, but so far it is working out perfectly for me. I have only been in business a month, but so far so good.
Just keep trying! I am sure it will work out. =0)
Okay, I've repeated this several time one here so my appologies to those that have already seen it.
I live in Orlando. I have been a member of church for many years and they flat out didn't want to budge on the idea. So, I started asking everybody I met. For months, in the grocercy store, walking down the street, going to farmers markets, asking "where can I find a commerical kitchen" You know the old cliche, somebody know somebody who knows somebody.
That's what worked for me. Somebody i talked to finally knew somebody. Now I am happily renting a commercial kitchen in Orlando for $250 per month for 10 hours per week.
Moral, just keep asking and never give up. If it something you really want you will find a way.
The best way that come to my mind. GO IN PERSON. Face to face will get you in the door at least. I am thinking of going that route to get licensed, and am playing santa clause making my list checking it twice.. etc..etc..
At a church, speak with the people in charge of money/budgets/finance. I guarantee you that once they know you are trying to give the church rental money, they make sure the request gets to the right person.
Be aware though, that while church and firehouse kitchens may be up to code for serving/giving food to members, etc. They are often not up to code for preparing food which can be sold to the public. Basically they may just need to be clean and safe. But a commercial kitchen from which you can sell often requires more specific things like three sinks, etc. All of this depends on your local codes.
But my point is to go in knowing the facts for your area so that you don't waste a lot of time futzing around with a kitchen that can't meet your legal needs.
I ended up being able to rent space in a bakery I had managed at one point. So I knew the owners. Restaurants are another place to try. Lots of places only serve dinner and would love to get some money from that kitchen that sits empty all morning.
I found mine on craigslist. You could also talk to the health department that licenses these places. They may know of places willing to rent out space.
Thank you for your responses!
artscallion, you raise a good point about different kitchens being allowed to do different things. I have spoken with my local HD rep at length, and while he was the one to recommend churches and firehouses, I never did ask him this question. Looks like I'll be making another phone call just to be sure.
tesso, I have INDEED considered going in person, armed with a cake! I just can't decide if I should make an appointment or show up unannounced instead.
Echooo3... I had to laugh! Walking down the street? How, exactly, does one strike up a conversation with someone about a commercial kitchen like that?! Love it.
brea1026, I have no idea what a dinner prep/make ahead dinner place is, but it made me think of a local restaurant I recently went to that is open very limited hours. We were having dinner and my DH started talking up my cakes to our server. She showed one to the owner, who came out asking for my name and number. I was too flabbergasted at the time to float the idea then - but I suppose I still could.
Thank you all for your input! I'm very determined to make this happen. Preferably without being reduced to wearing a sandwich board on a street corner.
I found the place I'm renting I found by going to the state college in my area. They had a business program that helped people start businesses and they told me a church to call and now I'm paying $400 a month for 80 hours.