Can You Use A Church's Kitchen In Florida?

Business By LILBOBO1980 Updated 13 Mar 2009 , 10:35pm by bellatrixothersis

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LILBOBO1980 Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 4:10pm
post #1 of 17

I am a newbie and still learning how to decorate cakes but in the future I would like to start a business. I don't want to work full time but maybe do a couple wedding cakes each month. In Florida I am aware that you have to be liscenced and insured along with using a commercial kitchen.

In general are church kitchens considered commercial? My father in law is a pastor and has been conducting services from his home for years but would like to be able to have a church building so that the congregation can grow. This is something that we will likely be able to turn into a reallity soon and I was thinking that it would be great if I could bake in the church kitchen and then I can just give the church extra money (aside from my tithing) to help with the church rental.

Also.... I have no idea how much insurance runs. About how much should I expect to pay for insurance?

Thanks for any help and advice!

16 replies
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newmansmom2004 Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 4:21pm
post #2 of 17

Interesting. I'll bet if the church can get their kitchen licensed as a commercial kitchen then I don't see why you couldn't use that. I think the onus is on the church to make sure they pass "commercial kitchen" status w/the board of health and the state.

The thing to keep in mind is if the church really has no interest in having a commercial kitchen, and they're only doing it for you, then you would probably need to contribute some funds to aid in getting that commercial status.

Keep us posted on how it all turns out. Very interesting idea.

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Chef_Rinny Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 4:27pm
post #3 of 17

I'm looking into renting space also right now. It's worth calling around and looking into-I don't know about Florida, but I recently found out through talking to the health department that in RI all churches and VFW halls have to have their kitchens inspected and such, so that is where I am looking into! If you call the health department they should be able to tell you if it's the same in Florida.
Good luck!

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LILBOBO1980 Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 4:53pm
post #4 of 17

Thank you for your replies! I just got through to the health department and they did state that I would be allowed to bake/decorate in a church kitchen. Yay!!!

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mommicakes Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 7:40pm
post #5 of 17

That is interesting information to know. Good for you and I hope that you do well.

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kakeladi Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 9:34pm
post #6 of 17 department....state that I would be allowed to bake/decorate in a church kitchen........

But, but.....only if it meets their standards. It would have to pass all the usual inspections/rules any other commercial kitchen would. Just because it is located in a church does not exampt it from the rules. Just be aware. If your county HD has more than one inspector the application of the rules will be different from one to the other! Yes, I've seen it happen. One day one gal came in and said: 'change this'; next month the other gal came and said: 'Oh noooo, change this'.

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tcakes65 Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 5:35am
post #7 of 17

Did you contact the Department of Health or the Department of Agriculture? The Department of Agriculture oversees cakes in Florida. I suggest finding out if they require that you have a separate license from the church's kitchen and if the kitchen would have the same equipment requirements. Keep in mind that the city of Jacksonville has requirements separate from the Dept of Ag such as an occupational license, a consent of use certificate from the zoning department, business tax, and tangible property tax. You'll need to contact those various city departments to find out how it will work with you using a church kitchen. JEA also requires that you have a grease trap. You'll also have to become a Certified Food Manager, and the Dept of Ag is big on this. Good Luck with everything! I hope the church kitchen works out for you.

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LILBOBO1980 Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 5:53am
post #8 of 17

Yes, I do understand that the church kitchen will still have to meet all the standards set out by the state.

No, I have not contacted anyone locally yet. I am actually in Orange Park, FL now but I am sure they have their own regulations/laws. Thanks for letting me know to also get the local info.

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tcakes65 Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 1:49pm
post #9 of 17

Just trying to let you know that there's a lot that goes into this. If you do your research now, it will save you from some headaches. I thought I thoroughly did my homework, and 9 or 10 months after my business opened, something popped up that was not on the web nor did the city openly provide the info. However, they will definitely let you know if there's a requirement you missed. icon_lol.gif By the way, you asked about insurance. Mine runs approximately $500/year, but my landlord requires specific coverage for my commercial space (windows, etc.). Therefore, I'm sure yours would be slightly cheaper.

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chilz822 Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:04am
post #10 of 17

Wow, how cool to stumble on this post! I just asked the very same question regarding using church's in another forum here and was awaiting an answer. I'm also in Florida, north of Jacksonville. Nassau County and FPL rather than JEA.

Lilbobo, have you gotten any further information on fees etc?

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LILBOBO1980 Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:42am
post #11 of 17

Hi chilz822,

No I have not done any other research just yet. My biggest thing is that I wanted to know if it was possible for me to use a church kitchen here in FL. I understand that there is a lot more to it but because I am no where near ready to take that step I just have not invested my time into the research yet. I was just happy to find out about the church because I really did not see any other way of possibly turning this hobby into a business.

I am actually in Clay county (Orange Park) ... no longer in Jacksonville. I hope you do not find it too hard to locate all the info you need.

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Yuni Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 6:35pm
post #12 of 17

hi Lilbob01980 n chilz822, I am on the same boat as you, after weeks of jumping all the endless hoops researching on net for info without any firm answer, I just sent Food Inspection an e-mail about my problem (very much like your case, newbie, located in Jax, doing some cakes now, looking to have a bakery/cake business in the future when things feel right.) And they replied me with this e-mail, I edited personal info off only;

> From: Food Inspection <[email protected]>
> Subject: RE: Bakery
> To: [email protected]
> Date: Monday, January 26, 2009, 10:20 AM
> XXX,
> Thank you for your recent inquiry. Unfortunately, Florida law prohibits
> the use of a home kitchen to prepare food for public
> consumption. If you are still interested in making custom
> cakes and other baked
> desserts, you will need a commercial kitchen. If you are
> interested in
> building such a facility or renovating existing space, our Minimum
> Construction Standards are attached for your reference.
> If this is cost
> prohibitive, you might consider renting an existing kitchen in a local
> church or civic organization. These facilities are state approved and
> sit idle most of the time.

> Whatever option you chose, you will need an Annual Food
> Permit issued by
> our Department. The application can be found at:
> If you have any further questions, please let us know.
> Food Inspection

So, the answer is 100% that yes you can. if you are interested, I have a copy of that Minimum Construction Standards, it says nothing about the size or equipments, it is all about clean and safety of the kitchen actually.

by the way, I am only about 30 mines away North from you~ Hello my local cake folks! icon_biggrin.gif

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Yuni Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 6:41pm
post #13 of 17

by the way, which one of you post that "kitchen wanted in Jax" on craigslist?? icon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

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cakedoll Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 6:50pm
post #14 of 17

That's interesting to know. I'm in the Northport-Port Charlotte area. Right now isn't the time to open a full scale bakery in this area due to the economy. This place went from boomtown a couple of years ago to having the 2nd or 3rd highest foreclosure rate in the nation. It's not going to get better any time soon.

I'd wondered about renting kitchen space somewhere as an option. Thanks so much for posting the info!

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Kayakado Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 5:58pm
post #15 of 17

You also need to check with the church's accountant or legal guru.

Renting a space in a non-profit church and running a for-profit business out of it may jeopardize the church's non-profit status with the IRS.

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forthwife Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 6:17pm
post #16 of 17

I live in Florida and know our church has a policy that their kitchen is for re-heating of food only, NOT for preparation of food. That is a church policy, not a state policy. They have it as such because if someone were to get sick from food prepared at the church, the church is then liable. I would assume this is also the case with cakes. I would hate to have a food issue and drag my whole congregation down with me, double check your liability and your church's too. It sounds like an awesome idea if it'll work out for you!!

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bellatrixothersis Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 10:35pm
post #17 of 17

I ran into this same problem. I had a tentative yes for a church kitchen but the church found out that they can lose their non-profit standing. So it was a no - go for me. I've heard this same thing from other people. I feel like I keep running into a wall, maybe somebody is trying to tell me something?

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