Re: Starting a catering business/Kitchen rentals

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Posted by Nancy B on October 01, 19100 at 02:01:30 :

In Reply to: Starting a catering business/Kitchen rentals posted by Larry Schreiber on September 29, 19100 at 00:09:51 :

: I am trying to start a catering business. I am a CIA graduate. I want to do this the right way but dont have the backing to buy a resturant. I wanted to know if there is places to rent kitchens and to store food. I live in long island and want to base the company here.

When I was a professional caterer (long ago) in order to be legal, I rented the kitchen of a pizza shop at night. Pizza places typically do all prep work during the day, and only use their ovens at night, not really their kitchen. Mine had a hugh walk-in where I had designated shelf space. There were rarely any schedule conflicts (I had open hours nightly from 5pm to 2am.)

I also worked out another deal, by chefing during the day for a start-up "gourmet to go" place that did primarily lunch business. They were very eager to get experienced talent, but didn't have budget to pay decently -- I traded kitchen rental for a portion of my salary, for use of the kitchen during their down-time hours, plus I worked there 30 hours/week for a reduced rate. We had a very explicit contract so we would not compete or step on toes business-wise. I was very careful to avoid any conflict of interest situations, because this kitchen use was very precious to me. We also included a clause about giving each other notice of ending the business agreement, to protect me from having outstanding catering work that I had no kitchen to produce in.

This way, as long as you personally have insurance and health certifications, you are operating out of a licensed legal kitchen.

I also agree about having a lawyer draw up standard contracts -- it only takes getting burned once for a lot of money to regret not having sought legal counsel.

It's a tricky, crazy business -- I did it for 14 years, both on my own and working for other small and very large firms. You have to really love it to do it! :-) I'm a technology practice manager for a software company now...and the high tech industry seems tame by comparison to my cooking days! :-) good luck!

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