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Have a Homemade Baked Good You’d Love to Sell? Consider Renting Out a Commercial Kitchen for Your Fledgling Business

A lot of professional bakers get their start at home; a favorite family recipe and an entrepreneurial spirit can combine to make a successful start from almost nothing. However, once you start selling your food products, there are a lot of legal restrictions that you will face. In some states, selling food baked in a residential kitchen is illegal. Instead, consider renting space in a commercial kitchen until you build a big enough revenue to support a storefront and commercial kitchen of your own. Here are some things to consider.

Opening your own professional commercial kitchen is expensive.

When you’re just starting out, building a kitchen that can accommodate commercial food preparation is prohibitively expensive. As of 2013, experts estimate that it costs between $25,000 to $100,000 to outfit a commercial kitchen with the type of equipment that you need. 

Instead, consider renting out the commercial kitchen space that you need by the day or hour. This is a smaller investment, by far, and you can even try out the kitchen equipment in order to learn what you do and don’t like long before you have to make equipment-purchase decisions on your own.

There are plenty of existing kitchens available for rent.

There are commercial kitchens in many areas that are designed as rentals. As of 2013, some offer per-hour pricing at the rate of $10–$25 per hour. If you’re still in the market-testing phase of your production, that’s a very minimal expense. If your market starts to increase, you can often rent the same places by the month for a while instead.

But there are other options that you can look at instead if such a kitchen isn’t available within a reasonable distance from your home. Look around for breakfast-only restaurants that have the baking equipment that you need and see if you can rent the space in the evenings for your production. Other potential options include local or family-owned restaurants that are closed on the weekend or one day a week, caterers that may be looking for extra revenue during times when their kitchens aren’t in use, churches, co-ops, community centers, and even actual bakeries (as long as your product isn’t in direct competition with theirs).

Keep in mind that every commercial kitchen is equipped a little differently, depending on the owner’s primary needs. Before you rent, make sure that the kitchen has any specialty kitchen equipment that you need, like specific mixers or cooling racks. You can visit sites like to look at equipment that you may want to own yourself from the beginning. If you intend to rent the space more than once, talk to the owner about also renting out storage space for your supplies so that you don’t have to lug them back and forth each time.