cake lady Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 8:59pm
post #1 of

Does anyone else out there "rent" a commercial kitchen? If so...what has your experience been? Good, bad, convenient, etc. Also, is it cost effective? I am looking into this for myself and would like some insight.

22 replies
jason_kraft Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 9:41pm
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AWe rented a commercial kitchen for our bakery in California since 2008. It's not as convenient as baking from home but in some areas it is the only way to legally run a food business (aside from building a second kitchen on your property or opening a storefront). Once you get a decent amount of volume the additional space for prep, baking, and cooling can help significantly improve your efficiency.

kikiandkyle Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 10:59pm
post #3 of

AI'm also thinking about this, it's the only way I can sell legally without getting my own commercial kitchen and I'm not ready to commit to that kind of investment yet.

I'm pretty sure I'll be losing money in the beginning, I mean 4 hours at $25 an hour to make one cake, it's not going to leave me with anything. But maybe it will help me build my client base and portfolio until I can reach the volume needed to get into profit.

jason_kraft Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:15pm
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AIf you're spending 4 hours on a single cake the rental cost should be built in to the price. For example: rental of $100 + your own wage of $60 + $30 ingredients + $20 overhead = $210 + ~20% markup = $250.

If your volume is still low there will be slack time (so 4 hours of work time might turn out to be, say, 6 hours including waiting time) but eventually you will be able to fill in that slack time with work for other orders.

cake lady Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 7:08am
post #5 of

A

Original message sent by jason_kraft

If you're spending 4 hours on a single cake the rental cost should be built in to the price. For example: rental of $100 + your own wage of $60 + $30 ingredients + $20 overhead = $210 + ~20% markup = $250.

If your volume is still low there will be slack time (so 4 hours of work time might turn out to be, say, 6 hours including waiting time) but eventually you will be able to fill in that slack time with work for other orders.

cake lady Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 7:12am
post #6 of

AThank you so much for the helpful information Jason_kraft! I was wondering how I could make the smaller orders count if I rent and still turn a profit.

kikiandkyle Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 3:40pm
post #7 of

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I have more questions! 

 

How do you handle things like freezing, for instance I'd mix and bake my cake there, but then it needs a few hours to cool. So can I take it home with me at that point? And then I usually chill the cake after it's crumb coated, so again does it come home with me? And then if I don't need to deliver it until the next day? Renting a shelf in their fridge and freezer is an additional $25 each a month, so leaving my cakes there, while being at risk of being taken, will also add more expenses. But if the whole point of paying to rent a kitchen is to keep the cake out of my house then how can I make it work?

jason_kraft Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 4:12pm
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AI don't see how you would be able to efficiently produce products in a commercial kitchen without fridge and freezer space. If you look at the increased productivity enabled by on-site cooling it should pay for itself with the first order. Just as with the rent, the additional $50/month would be allocated across the cost of all orders for that month.

Usually when a commercial kitchen is required to legally sell cakes you are not allowed to bring the cakes home with you anyway.

gingerbreadtogo Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 4:15pm
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Unfortunately the law (at least in CA) states you can not store or bring any product home. You would have to leave it there.  Too bad you have to pay for freezer space, the kitchen I rent doesn't charge freezer space. I don't know if your kitchen has different pricing. My kitchen has the fee for baking.. and a lower fee for using space for decorating or packaging (that doesn't use oven,mixer or their equipment). 

 

It isn't cost effective for me when I do my custom cookies, but it definitely is when I do my 30 lb batches of gingerbread. Like Jason said it can work with volume.

 

ps If it's a well managed kitchen there should be no issue with theft from fridge or freezer or storage.

 

Good Luck!

kikiandkyle Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 7:45pm

So commercial kitchens aren't a viable option for someone who wants to do cakes without opening their own legal kitchen then I guess. Back to the drawing board...

jason_kraft Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 8:47pm

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

So commercial kitchens aren't a viable option for someone who wants to do cakes without opening their own legal kitchen then I guess. Back to the drawing board...

Rented commercial kitchens can certainly be viable, what gave you the impression that they couldn't?

kikiandkyle Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 9:18pm

It's just the fear of the unknown I guess. I know I have to consider the loss as an R&D cost, but I don't know how long I could sustain that. I won't be getting many $250 orders, the requests I've had were for single tiered 8" party cakes, and I have no idea how many of those I would even get while I'm stil building the business. I'm sure it works for people who already have the volume to make it work, but I'm starting at the bottom. 

jason_kraft Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 9:29pm

AIf you are renting by the hour the loss with lower volume shouldn't be too bad. This is the reason why a business plan and market research is critical, so you can know beforehand that your target market exists and is willing to pay your prices, not to mention working out how much your profit or loss will be at different sales volumes.

When starting a new business you can generally expect to break even or take a loss in the first year or two.

And to clarify, this would be an operational loss, not R&D. R&D costs can be recovered by allocating to sales, while an operational loss is (hopefully) a temporary situation that can be resolved by lowering operating costs (e.g. improving efficiency with higher volumes).

kikiandkyle Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 10:17pm

Given that most of my friends aren't interested in paying full price for my cakes, I think it might be cheaper to keep making them for free until I am ready to make the investment of going legal! 

 

Thanks for all your help anyway Jason, very good info here. 

havealittle Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 10:52pm

Look around for other options....I just found a community center that is licesed....they are going to work with me with the pricing. They rent the kitchen for $100 a day....12 hours....but if I clean up and etc, I can get it cheaper....Not sure about the area you are in...I live in PA....I have knocked on so many doors with no luck...then one day it hit me...the local community center that holds monthly pancake sells and etc.

 

Best of luck....I was using a commercial kitchen that charged like yours did...and I just had to turn down people that wanted a small order. Because on top of the $25 a hour I had to drive 3 hours roundtrip.

 

Keep looking and don't give up!

kikiandkyle Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 12:14am

Thanks for the advice, I'll try that. 

 

As we're also looking for a new house we're factoring in the possibility of building our own space to our search criteria. 

montanacowgirl Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 12:33am

I don't know if this will help you, you might find a kitchen to use a bit cheaper. Here in MT, many times our senior centers rent their kitchens out.

 

http://www.culinaryincubator.com/maps.php
 

kikiandkyle Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 3:45am

Thanks!

cake lady Posted 23 Feb 2013 , 8:52pm

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

Thanks!

Your questions have helped me also. Thanks everybody!

havealittle Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 12:49am

I am so happy! Just closed the deal with the local Community Center...$75 for the day to rent their kitchen! :-) They have 4 ovens, frig and etc. I am so excited....the other kitchen I was renting charged by the hour....I asked if I only need for a couple of hours if we could talk about different price and she said sure. But really $75 is 3 hours at the other place, so I think this is a good deal! I am excited....

 

If you are looking for a kitchen...look outside the box....I have looked at countless other locations that you see listed....restaurants, country clubs, churches....and etc....

 

Good luck everyone!

Waffle-Lady Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 7:41pm

SO, I'm here in St. Louis, Missouri and since closing my mall location I've been looking for a commercial kitchen to rent. My fiance who is a business owner in plumbing and constructions thought how about finding a commercial space and moving the equipment in there for your prep space and renting out space to other "food" related businesses. Not a bad idea, but before moving forward I wanted to get a sense of what the needs were in St. Louis. I know it's tough to find space and because I had a retail location in a local mall that didn't work, I know all to well the financial toll renting a space can take. I'm not looking to charge nearly as much as some of the other placings out there. I want to be fair because small business take time to build and the one thing they lack is continual cash infusion. So with that, I'm looking for 6-8 businesses willing to commit to at least 10-15 hours of kitchen time per week. I plan to only rent to 6-8 at a time. The space will be secured and centrally located in the county of St. Louis MO (areas like U-City, Webster Groves, Kirkwood and Clayton are being considered). Let me know if you have a need or pass this on to someone you know is looking for kitchen space.

Waffle-Lady Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 7:42pm

SO, I'm here in St. Louis, Missouri and since closing my mall location I've been looking for a commercial kitchen to rent. My fiance who is a business owner in plumbing and constructions thought how about finding a commercial space and moving the equipment in there for your prep space and renting out space to other "food" related businesses. Not a bad idea, but before moving forward I wanted to get a sense of what the needs were in St. Louis. I know it's tough to find space and because I had a retail location in a local mall that didn't work, I know all to well the financial toll renting a space can take. I'm not looking to charge nearly as much as some of the other placings out there. I want to be fair because small business take time to build and the one thing they lack is continual cash infusion. So with that, I'm looking for 6-8 businesses willing to commit to at least 10-15 hours of kitchen time per week. I plan to only rent to 6-8 at a time. The space will be secured and centrally located in the county of St. Louis MO (areas like U-City, Webster Groves, Kirkwood and Clayton are being considered). Let me know if you have a need or pass this on to someone you know is looking for kitchen space.

smashleec Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 8:39pm

I was looking into this too. Something I was wondering though was about your supplies. All the flour, icing sugar, etc. that you need for baking the cake and making icing and whatever else. AND all your tips and spatulas and everything. If the reason of renting the kitchen is to not have those things in your home, how is that suppose to work?? If you have a big giant bag of flour and you obviously wont be using it all what are you suppose to do with it? Take it home? and then what? next time you go bake there you take it with you.... but it was at your house. And what about the tips and decorating supplies, what if you use that stuff at home for personal use, and then take to the kitchen to make a cake for a client? I am just a little confused

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