Hey any of you out there who have rented a kitchen! I am potentially going to be losing my full-time job this year, and I am looking to help make ends meet by selling my work. I'm in Illinois and can't do it from home, but there is a kitchen I can rent nearby. I was wondering if anyone had any experience in being able to recoup the cost of rent with their sales. Any advice/resources would be helpful, I don't have a website either so marketing would be nice too. Thanks so much in advance!
I'm not sure about recouping your costs other than to factor it in to your prices. But as for marketing, I've used a blog, facebook and twitter (all free) to get word out. There are also businesses that may trade advertising space for cake (I'm doing that with a bridal magazine).
A site is an absolute must IMO. You can register with wedding planning sites and quickly get to page 1 of google. Think of yourself as a cust: you want a cake, where do you look? Online.
That and Facebook. I am pretty sure all of my orders come from Facebook.
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Are you sure you can't operate out of your home? I know a few CC'ers in Illinois who have a licensed kitchen in their home, but I also know it differs by county in your state.
re: The cost of the kitchen, you may have to set a minimum order to cover the cost. If you take an order for one 8" cake that you will sell for $40, but it costs you $10/hour for the kitchen and takes 5 hours to make the cake from start to finish, you're already ten bucks in the hole and you haven't even cracked an egg yet.
It looks like it is $24/hour for the kitchen I am looking at. That seems kind of high--I don't know that I would draw that kind of business. In Illinois, anywhere in the state, you must have a separate kitchen in which to be certified to run your food business. As I live in a 1 bedroom condo, this is impossible. I'd love to do this but I just feel so lost!
Unfortunately, a lot of places are petty expensive to rent. Is there a kitchen incubator in your area? Not sure what the web site is but I think it comes up if you Google it. The kitchen incubator starts kitchens in different cities and rents them out for VERY reasonable rates specifically to help small food-based businesses start. Hope you can find something that works for you!
Kitchen incubators are designed to help new businesses and therefore charge less rent. In the past few years many shared use kitchens have opened and have such high fees it's barely worth being in business. If my students are unable to work from home I recommend they find a commercial kitchen in a social service organization (VFW, Knights of Columbus, etc), church, school, restaurant, deli, or place that has several hours when it's not being used. Often, the rent is very low or even done by bartering.
Oh these are all such great suggestions! I really just want some extra income since budget cuts are coming at work, and I don't know that I can sell all that much to justify $24, plus $1,000,000 insurance that this kitchen is requiring. I don't live in a super affluent area so I'm going to do some detective work. I do very much appreciate all of these suggestions!
Other ideas are restaurants that may be just open for breakfast or for lunch; doughnut shops that are only open in the morning; even caterers who might have some down time during the week.