One of the biggest challenges that new food businesses often have is being able to afford the required restaurant equipment that not only meets their needs but meets food codes. In response to the growing number of food businesses that have this problem, kitchen incubators are popping up across the country.
On the surface, they may seem like a great option. The offer commercial kitchens that meet health code requirements. In most cases, you’ll pay by the hour, but some have monthly plans. While they may work for some business owners, there are also challenges that may people don’t think of.
You’ll only have access to what they have on hand for you
Do you need specialty equipment? Too bad – you’ll have to make do with what they have. Do you need more than one fryer? Or several ovens? Too bad – if your kitchen incubator doesn’t have it then you won’t have it. Do you need special ventilation for your kitchen? Once again, too bad.
It can be more expensive than you think
As we mentioned above, most kitchen incubators charge an hourly rate. If you look at that rate and think it may be reasonable, make sure you’re estimating the hours you’ll need correctly. You’re not just counting the hours it actually takes you to cook or bake. No, you need to count the hours it will take you to load and unload the ingredients you need, the time it will take to get a kitchen that’s not yours set up, and how much you’ll be slowed down by using tools you’re not used to.
Beware newly opened kitchen incubators
One of the challenges for a new kitchen incubator is figuring out how much to charge. It may be difficult for them to estimate their operational costs, which means they may start out at an affordable rate but that rate could skyrocket when they discover their real costs – and that may be after you’ve already decided to work exclusively with them.
You won’t have the flexibility you’d have in your own kitchen
Do you need to work early in the morning? Or late at night? With a kitchen incubator, you’re stuck sticking to their hours. You also won’t have the storage you’d have at your own kitchen, which means you’d have to either throw away extras or store them in your non-commercial kitchen.
The good news is that setting up your own up-to-code kitchen may not be as challenging or as expensive as you think. Hoodmart offers ventilation systems that are guarantee to meet or exceed the health codes in your area.