All over the country, a new concept is popping up: Commercial kitchen space for rent. In the past, if you wanted to rent space in a commercial kitchen you had to find an established restaurant kitchen and work there in their off hours. Today, there are incubator kitchens that exist solely for the purpose of renting their space out. But does this make sense, even for a start-up? At Hoodmart we’re interested in the idea and have analyzed the options to compare the pros and cons.
Of course, the main reason that people decide to rent commercial kitchen space is because they want to save money. But is it really cheaper? You may save some money upfront, but remember that your long-term costs will be much higher. For example, you won’t have to purchase ventilation equipment today but you’ll have to pay for kitchen time every single time you use it.
One reason that it may make sense to use a pay-per-use commercial kitchen is if you need a much higher capacity than you’d need in your typical kitchen, but you only need that capacity for a limited amount of time. For example, if you’re a bakery that typically sells a few dozen varieties of breads, but you’re heading to a local trade show and want to have ten times that capacity, then it may make sense to rent space on a case-by-case basis.
Access to the equipment you need
It’s true that renting space in a commercial kitchen means you have access to a wealth of commercial kitchen equipment. However, what about those companies that are doing innovative or unusual work and need specialized equipment? If you rent space at a local kitchen, you’re at the mercy of whatever they have on hand – not to mention you’re at the mercy of their ability to keep their kitchen in line with local health codes. Do you want to risk your business by trusting that they’re doing their job correctly?
It’s true that limited capital to start with can make it impossible to buy or lease the space needed for a commercial kitchen, let alone the commercial kitchen equipment required. However, we’d hope that any serious cook or baker would move on to their own kitchen as quickly as possible. If they don’t, then they’ll be at the mercy of another company for as long as they’re in business.