Could someone who's dealt with this or have an opinion talk to me?
My husband and I have had a Texas Food License since 2008. Went through the Food Manager's program and got certified. We did catering for a while (until the economy crashed), have a fully operational kitchen that's licensed and inspected regularly.
The license is up for renewal in October and we're considering just dropping the State License and working out of the Texas Cottage Food Law rules. The reason being, when the inspector comes around he admittedly looks at the kitchen like it's still catering food since we have the license. We've had to add another appliance just because it's for "food service". Cakes!! We tell him..."We just do cakes!!" No cheesecakes! CAKES! We did it up right when we built the kitchen - spent over 50 grand because it was the LAW!!! Grrrr.
Has anyone had this decision to make? I've learned so much from you guys.
Anybody have an opinion?
If you're not working out of your personal home kitchen, you wouldn't be covered under the cottage law.
Personally, I'd keep the license and inspection, because it's a good selling point. Virginia has a cottage food law too, and I have the inspection anyway because I can tell clients that I'm licensed and inspected, and they're usually surprised that some people don't need to be.
I believe OP is asking whether or not to sell/stop renting the commercial kitchen and bake from home instead.
How much extra is it costing you to keep the license and the commercial kitchen?
I'm aware of what she was asking. I think perhaps she did not realize that the law has many restrictions.
My advice would be that if you have already invested 50k into your commercial kitchen, to keep your license and continue to operate as a food establishment.
In a nutshell, the law requires that:
You must work in your home's kitchen
Food must be sold at your home and nowhere else, which means that the customer must visit your home to either order, pay for, or pick up the food.
You may only sell non-potentially hazardous baked goods, jams, jellies, and herbs or dried herb mixes.
You must earn less than $50k per year from the sale of these items.
Food must be sold directly to the consumer, therefore it may not be sold in restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, etc.
You must label your food.
You may not sell food over the internet.
I hope this information was helpful to you in making your decision.