Renting a Kitchen: A First-Timer’s Guide

If you’re a food entrepreneur, and you’ve never rented a kitchen before, the process can seem daunting. First, there’s the matter of finding a commercial kitchen to rent, and then hoping it’s available when you need it. We’ve observed the difficulty in that process first-hand; that’s why CookItHere.com was born. Hopefully, you’ve found this blog in conjunction with the main site, where you can search for a kitchen to rent. CookItHere.com lists commercial kitchens for rent by location, and we’re working to add photos, reviews and availability to each profile to make finding a kitchen near you even easier.

When selecting a kitchen, do some research to be sure that you’ll have everything you need. You’ll want to tour the kitchen before you decide; nothing beats a visit to assess cleanliness, quality and space efficiency. Here are a few basic questions to consider before you make your choice:

  • Is it certified by the local health department? Is the certification current?
  • What are the rates? Some facilities rent hourly; others have longer minimums.
  • What equipment is available?
  • What storage options—refrigerator, freezers, pantries—are available, and what are the rules and rates pertaining specifically to storage?
  • How much security deposit is required, and what is the process for getting it returned to you?
  • What unique features does it have? If you’re doing classes, you’ll need viewing space, or tasting/ dining space. Some kitchens even have larders you can access (for a fee) for on-hand ingredients.
  • General amenities: if you’re planning to spend any significant time at the kitchen, check out parking and restroom facilities in advance.

Before you can use a commercial kitchen, you’ll have to fill out an application and submit certain documents to the proprietor. Here is a list of commonly required documents:

  • Proof of liability insurance. There’s no getting around it; any commercial kitchen worth its salt will require that you have liability insurance. Amounts vary, but most we’ve seen require coverage of at least $1,000,000  with the kitchen named as additional insured.
  • Food handler’s certificate. This varies by location and by your business, but most local governments will require some kind of certification for any commercial food operation.
  • Business license. It is possible to rent a commercial kitchen for non-commercial use—ask the kitchen operator about individual policies—but many require that you have a business license.
  • Classes and/or orientations. Again, depending on the location, you may be required to attend a health department class or pass an inspection or test before you can use a commercial kitchen. Other kitchens have their own orientation programs that you must complete before you can get cooking.

Once you’re up and running, let us know how you like the kitchen you selected. Cookithere.com allows you to post reviews. And if you find a kitchen that’s not on our site, be sure to let us know—we’ll add it.