Looking for some different prospectives on going from a storefront to a licensed home kitchen. We have a storefront/general store now and supporting the overhead literally keeps me running all the time. The interruptions from the public coming into the store prevents me from getting into my "cake zone" and is extremely frustrating. We've enjoyed much success with our wedding cakes but, all the money earned goes right to 1200.00 monthly energy bills, liability insurance, employee wages and other large payments. Selling our store would eliminate huge, huge bills. We now have an offer on the building and are ready to go. Am I completely dillusional that it will be easier and less burdensome to have a licensed kitchen at home? I know there still will be increased energy bills and liability insurance etc. But, it just seems like it is financially a smart thing to do. And in the end...will give me more time with my contracted cakes because I won't be dealing with people coming in.
ps. Our storefront is a general store with a weekend bakery counter. 99% of our wedding cake business doesn't come from the storefront...it comes from other vendor referrals, website and bridal shows. We have already contacted our food inspector who said he is more than happy to work with us on licensing a commercial kitchen at home.
Looking for any input...thanks so much!
I cannot work from home legally and on the one hand I hate myself for not jumping off the cliff and getting a commercial location but then again I loves me too much to incur the wrath of such overhead as yours which is minimal all things considered. By that I mean the rent alone on a retail location here in Elvistown would be cheap at $12k/mo. before you even turn on the first light bulb and get that meter running.
So I think the best best best case scenario for a shop is in the home--separate from living quarters--by that I mean a separate dedicated area where you're not flipping the kitchen from home use to cake use.
This way you can be choosey about which cakes you wanna do--you can block off sections of time--you have so much more control. And treasure of treasures you can get into the beloved zone and fly.
Am I completely dillusional that it will be easier and less burdensome to have a licensed kitchen at home?
No. When I put together our business plan, there were two options: open a retail shop, or rent a commercial kitchen. (We live in CA so home kitchens cannot be licensed.) Running a retail shop would have required about 5-6 times the amount of work for the same amount of profit, so we went the kitchen rental route.
Run the numbers yourself and see how much you have to sell to recover your costs in a licensed home kitchen (or a commercial kitchen rental if you need more space).
I am not sure what state you live in, however if you PM me I will see what information I have on hand in our database about constructing an in-home commercial kitchen. I can tell you there are a couple of bakers I know personally who have made a success from having home-based kitchens, Maine's Cakes and Cookies in Maine and Gellocake in Okemos, MI.
I can provide others if you like...just let me know.
Thank you everyone for your input. I'm definitely ready to make the step "backwards" from store to home. It makes financial sense. I will miss my huge brick ovens at the store...it's amazing to fit an entire wedding cake in at the same time. But, I'm so excited about leaving all the overhead and interruptions behind.
I've met with our health inspector that inspects our store. He will be the one working with us on licensing a commercial kitchen at home. He has assured us he will do everything he can to make it a smooth transition. We've been very lucky to have him as our inspector over the years. He's always been a wealth of information and is very pro business. Never intimidating and always really good about explaining everything and answering questions. So, I feel very confident on that aspect. We are in the process of looking for a home that will be able to house a separate commercial kitchen. There will probably be a lapse in time between the selling of our store to the licensing of a new one. During that time we have made arrangements to lease a kitchen. Not ideal...but, at least I won't have to cancel any contracts. It is legal in my state to bake from home...but, my booked clients know that I bake in an inspected commercial kitchen and I don't want to change that on them.
Thanks again for responding...I'm sure I'll have a million questions along the way [/code]
... By that I mean the rent alone on a retail location here in Elvistown would be cheap at $12k/mo. before you even turn on the first light bulb and get that meter running...
Big typo--I meant $1200 a month for rent in a retail location here is reasonable. We can go as low as $450 a month for a kitchen with no retail walk in but add on the cost of the improvements necessary to build out.
But I think you will love working in a less financially demanding place.
Best of the best to you.
Thanks for the help...I can't wait to get to focus on the cake aspect more than the business aspect. I know those details are still important...but, they will be much, much smaller.