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4 Tips for Renting Commercial Kitchen Space

You may need to rent commercial kitchen space to make a batch of your restaurant’s sauce for sale in retail outlets. Perhaps you must fulfill a large catering order, start a takeaway food service, or make items for a meal kit service startup. Whatever the case, you’re competing with other groups to rent commercial kitchen space, of which many are available to you. That is why you should understand how to find the right rental space for your needs. Here are four tips for renting commercial kitchen space.

Understand Your Needs Versus What They Supply

Just because a rental kitchen is empty at the time you tour, it does not mean you’ll have full use of it when you rent it. Determine how much space you need, including freezer space and workspace, and compare this to how much space is available to you when you rent the facility. Don’t assume you will get exclusive access to those five ovens when you rent a shared kitchen.

If you must share the kitchen when you rent it, you may not have the space you need unless you pay more for the extra access to ovens, pantry space, and freezers. Or you may need to rent a separate commercial kitchen so that you don’t have to worry about the odors of someone else’s cooking altering your preparations, or the risk of food ingredient exposure if creating vegan, kosher or allergen-free recipes.

Ask About Rental Requirements

Does the commercial kitchen require you to have a specific level of insurance personally before you can rent the facility? Business liability insurance is a standard requirement, but commercial kitchens may set higher insurance thresholds than others. Do you have to have a food handling license and business license before you can rent the facility? Are you required to clean the facility to specific standards when you’re done? When you’re looking for a kitchen to rent, determine the schedule restrictions you may face. Some restaurants and churches rent out extra kitchen space during the week, but won’t let you store items there over the weekend. Will they let you come in on a Sunday morning to make a batch for sale on Monday? Others require you to rent for a minimum period, such as one month.

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Know the Restrictions They Can Set

Aside from knowing the cost per hour if you’re renting by the hour, ask about the hourly rate if you go past your scheduled time or need to stay later than when the business officially closes. Are you allowed to come in at 4 a.m. to start baking, or are you only let in when the place formally opens at 8 a.m.? Does the commercial kitchen allow you to bring in paying customers for cooking lessons and make your own meals, or do they limit access to you and your employees? If they rent the space to you for a three-hour block, can they make you leave even if your work isn’t complete at the end of that time?

Consider Reputations – Both Ways

Look up reviews of the commercial kitchen. Do they protect supplies from theft and keep their refrigerators in good working order? Next on the list is researching their inspection history. You don’t want to work with a facility that became a commercial kitchen because the restaurant was shut down due to health and safety violations. Never make your food in a commercial kitchen cited for health and safety violations. You’ll lose access to the facility if it gets shut down even temporarily while your business faces a public relations problem if you are discovered to have used such a facility.

Another factor to consider is your reputation with the commercial kitchen. If you cannot clean the facility after use to their stated requirements or finish on schedule, they may give you a bad review as a customer that follows you when you try to rent another facility.

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No matter why you want to rent a commercial kitchen, it’s important to keep these tips in mind.