Starting a Small Food Business- Tips for Renting a Commercial Kitchen

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Many small businesses such as wedding cake bakers or takeaway sandwich rounds often start as a casual sideline or hobby. After some success, the next exciting step could be to turn a fledgling enterprise into a thriving, small scale business. But it’s easier to plan for the future if you’ve discovered some helpful tips before moving to a commercial kitchen.

Licensing

If your business is involved with providing food of any kind, including takeaways from a dark kitchen, it needs to be properly licensed. You do this by simply registering with your local council authority as soon as you’ve decided your ongoing enterprise has become commercial or at least twenty-eight days before you set up in a rented business property. Being properly registered gives your business a positive endorsement and reassures your customers that you run a hygienic enterprise. Earning a top five star rating during a routine inspection is the aim of every food business entrepreneur. But first, you’ll need to find the best commercial kitchen for your small business.

Make a Business Plan

When embarking on a new phase for your small food business, it’s a great help to devise a business plan, but make sure you write it out on paper. You might think you’ll remember your aims, but your strategies can easily become too vague as the pace of your business increases. Defining your Unique Selling Point is crucial to help you compete with local competitors. Work out what your food business can offer customers such as an express delivery service directly to their doors or perhaps a completely vegetarian menu. Even with a dark kitchen, you’ll need to use leaflet campaigns to advertise your product and knowing who your potential customers are will help you to use the most appealing wording and imagery. Estimating how many customers you might attract should help you to decide on what type of commercial kitchen you need to rent and more importantly, how large it needs to be.

Financing

Making the transition from a hobby to a commercial food business is always going to need extra funds, particularly when you first set up. It’s beneficial to have a small contingency fund to help you absorb increased overheads such as energy, stock and advertising. If you rent a large commercial kitchen, the running costs will be more expensive. The food industry can sometimes incur unexpected losses such as ingredients that go beyond their use by dates or buying out of season items for dishes that don’t prove popular with customers. To help you through the difficult times, you can try to secure additional investment from your family, apply for any available government start up grants or even a small business loan from your bank.

Choosing a Location

Planning where to rent your commercial kitchen could affect the cost as some areas command higher business rents and rates than others. Ideally, it should be near your home to cut down on wasting valuable time travelling, but it needs to be in an area with a high potential for attracting customers. If you’re running a cafe or takeaway that requires people to visit in person, think about a location with good transport links and parking access. A dark kitchen with a delivery only service will still need convenient space for a team of drivers and suppliers bringing in new stock. Find out if the location is liable to change in the future through redevelopment.

Premises

Commercial kitchens often include the burden of an expensive long-term lease that involves heavy losses if your business doesn’t survive. You’ll have the best chance of success if you limit your expenditure. Join a free to use scheme that helps you locate the best commercial kitchen for rent by simply negotiating directly with the owner. You’ll be able to acquire a flexible daily, weekly or monthly contract for renting a space in an existing commercial kitchen during the hours it’s inactive. It’s far less expensive for a new business and helps you adjust your plans as your business grows.