Guide to start your food business using a commercial kitchen for rent, Maricopa AZ

I want to start this article by making a disclaimer. Any information in this post is provided “As-Is”. This post is not meant to be financial, tax or legal advice. I provide this information with the intention to help other food entrepreneurs navigate through all the steps required to take their creation out to market with a low investment cost and rapid execution. Always consult about your game plan with the appropriate professional. These high level steps are intended for the Maricopa County in Arizona where Freedom Kitchen a gluten free commercial kitchen for rent is located. Rules for other regions may be different. Some rules might possibly match with the laws and rules in other regions as well however, in all fairness and honesty that is outside of the scope of this guide. In addition, if any rules change or get altered in any way, I will put in my best effort to update this guide, but keep in mind that things often and suddenly change. That being said, always make sure to double check that you have the correct information. I did my best to keep this list in a chronological order, but most steps can be done in a different order or at the same time; it really is up to you.

With-out further ado, let’s delve into my guide to start a food business by using a commercial kitchen for rent as base of your operations.

Business Entity

This step is not really a required one, when you're starting out. In theory you can start a business using your personal name and information. However, it is best if you set your self up to be able to scale, plus, there are multiple benefits in setting up your company the correct way. The most common choice among small start-ups is to create a sole-proprietorship LLC (Limited Liability Company). I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on this because I’m not. There are many flavors and options when it comes to the small, legal stuff in business. So I strongly advise you to consult with your tax professional or lawyer about what fits you best. I can tell you that, in my case, I decided to open a sole-proprietorship LLC, which, I believe is the most common choice for entrepreneurs looking to turn a side hustle into a real business. For those of you reading this in Arizona, know that you can create your own LLC, fairly easily, through the Arizona Corporate Commission website. The application takes about 30 mins to fill, and the process might take from a couple of weeks to a few months depending on certain things; for example, if you’re paying to have your application expedited or not. After doing this, you’ll need an EIN for your business. This one is also easily attainable. You can get it in about 20 mins through the IRS website. Once you get your LLC processed you have spawned a new entity. Congrats! Now we can move on to the next steps.

Taxes and License

Again, please consult your tax professional because this is a very complex subject that goes above and beyond this short guide and my knowledge on the subject. But, as this guide has a purpose, I will share with you what has worked for me. First of all , most likely you’ll need an Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT). Consult the Arizona Department of Revenue site to get more specifics. You’ll need your Articles of Incorporation and EIN (Previous step). Depending on your city you might need a city license. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, please find your local laws and regulations and make sure you follow them. A good place to start would be your city’s website or maybe your local library.

Commercial Kitchen for Rent

Using a commercial kitchen for rent is a great way to take your business to market with very low investment and risk. Theres are various kitchen space providers in Maricopa County, but which one to choose? Well most kitchen’s will give you a tour, so you can determine if the kitchen meets your requirements; the decision is entirely yours. Some kitchen’s may include special terms, so make sure that the terms work with your type of business. For example Freedom Kitchen is a Gluten-Free commercial kitchen for rent. That means that all of your ingredients must be gluten free. That is just one example, so make sure to ask if any special terms apply. Once you have a kitchen space selected, you’re ready to move on to the next steps.

Insurance

You will need a General Liability / Product Liability proof of insurance, this will be required by your base kitchen and by any farmer’s market or event that you plan to assist or cater. The event planners or kitchen managers will ask you to send them proof that you’ve added them to your insurance, thus making them into an insured entity. This is another reason why it is important that you read up on laws and rules. Shop around for options. I have used this before with great results.

Maricopa Health Department Permits

As the header reads, the following information is intended for people in the Maricopa County area. What you have to know here, the key lesson I can give you that you really have to remember, is that there are many differences in laws and regulations when it comes to the Health Department. These will largely depend on the specifics of your food business operation. The following steps are for a farmer’s market and event kiosk establishment, as of 2019.

To request the initial food processor permit and begin operating from a commercial kitchen for rent you have to fill the Food Establishment Permit. Keep in mind this is just the request for the food inspector to approve your operations at the rented commercial kitchen. Once approved you will have to pay for the permit it self.

In addition to that, if you end up participating in events, you will most likely need a mobile food permit. This step might not be required, though, as it all depends on the nature of your business. Please see the Mobile Food Guide line pdf for more reference.

Conclusion

The food business is changing rapidly. Automation and new delivery trends are a good example of this. I believe this is the best moment for you to put your food product out there. Many are moving to online delivery models that reduce the overhead of running a front-end shop. It is my mission, through Freedom Kitchen, to provide the space for these ideas to become reality. I aim to make that happen by reducing the entry barrier that the food business would traditionally require, just so you could be able to produce, sell or distribute your goods. This is easier, and more profitable. If your’s still unsure about some things or have some other questions, then feel free to contact us and schedule a visit or maybe just drop us a line. You will see why Freedom Kitchen’s can bring added value to your business! By operating from a dedicated Gluten-Free commercial kitchen for rent, you will surely make yourself able to make great things happen.

Finally a Gluten Free Commercial Kitchen!

Since this is my first post, I’ll quickly introduce myself and my story. My name is Ray and I’m a serial entrepreneur. “Welcome Ray” I would hear unanimously, if this was a meeting for recurring entrepreneurs, in the iconic “AA” meeting fashion. I come from the IT world with many years of implementing projects across multiple time zones and lines of business. Therefore, I assumed that spinning up a food business would be as quick as spinning up a website and getting it out there … Not quite!

My journey started a while back when my wife who own’s Sunny Batters, a Gluten Free and Dairy Free bakery, started to think about expanding our little Gluten Free cottage bakery into a full commercial production. As many others trying to get their food creations and provide alternative to the mass produced, chemical ridden foods that are commonly available in retail stores. I started exploring what would be needed in the Phoenix metro area to launch our little seedling food company into the commercial landscape. My initial idea was to find a shared commercial kitchen for rent to run our Gluten Free baking business from there. But, there was a big factor, most commercial kitchens for rent are not Gluten Free environments, as a result, we could not get any shared commercial kitchen that could guarantee us that we could have zero cross-contamination with gluten. Gluten containing flours stay airborne for up to 48 hours and adheres to most surfaces. This was not acceptable for the quality that we wanted to bring to our customers, as a result the Freedom Kitchen’s concept was born. A gluten free commercial shared kitchen that removes the gluten cross-contamination possibility and enables you as a food entrepreneur to tell your gluten sensitive and celiac customers, that you care for them and their health by going the extra mile.

Our mission is to provide more than a Gluten Free Commercial Kitchen for other start-ups to operate from, we believe that people need more access to high quality local food. As of now, this type of food is a premium market, much of it is related to the fact that start-ups are faced with a huge overhead burden, lack of good solid partnerships and access to funding.

In conclusion, our objective is to lower the overhead and create a community of all natural, gluten free, high quality products that can reach consumers at their terms. Please contact me if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts. In my next article, I’ll be creating a checklist of all the steps needed to get started as a food entrepreneur for Maricopa County, so you can get out there and join the local food revolution!