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Whether it’s taking your farmers market booth to the next level, or scaling your restaurant to a nationwide retail brand, commissary kitchens can range from industrial shared spaces to boutique food halls.
They can provide a variety of resources to start or scale your business. With lower risk, faster turnaround, and flexibility, commissary kitchens are a great option if you want to start your own food business but don't have the means to build your dream kitchen.
In this article, we’ll explain the kind of risks you’ll be avoiding by starting your food business in a commissary kitchen, before taking the plunge of investing in your own space.
1. Speed to market
Bringing a new business to life can be challenging and stressful. With a traditional brick-and-mortar, you can typically expect to open your doors in a year. It’s not only about finding the perfect location, but also balancing building inspections and permits, with recipe development and staff training.
Starting a business can always be challenging, but a commissary kitchen can help that process run far more smoothly. For example, with Coho, you’d be able to start your business in as little as five weeks. Most commissary kitchens cover the technicalities of leasing and maintaining a building. At Coho, our onboarding process can be completed in eight easy steps: from booking a tour, to helping you navigate food permits, and creating a customizable kitchen package tailored to your specific needs.
With labour costs averaging 30% of your total margins, entrepreneurs can turn to commissary kitchens to reduce the number of staff and active labour needed to get their business started and growing.
Commissaries are commonly associated with ghost kitchens (a business concept set up for delivery-only meals.)
Whether you’re an established brand ready to expand or a new business wanting to introduce your innovative twist on a family staple - you could start your business without the overhead of a large team. This will allow you to focus on making delicious food.
3. Capital investment
Reducing your upfront costs for starting a new business means you can focus on connecting with your customers and producing a great product, rather than worrying too much about when you’ll break even.
On average, the costs for opening your own physical location can start at $250,000 and this is just on the buildout and overall site maintenance.
With Coho’s pricing packages - you could get started in a commissary kitchen for as little as $250/month. This is because our commissary packages are customizable, which means you can decide which one of our four locations is best for you, but also what type of station, how much storage, and what kind of equipment you’ll need. Since your investment is lower, you'll see an ROI much faster - think six months rather than three to five years.
4. Maintenance costs
It's often said the easiest thing about starting a food business is cooking. Running a kitchen is a huge, complex task. One of the biggest benefits of what makes a commissary kitchen so ideal is the bulk of your overhead costs are taken off your shoulders.
For example, by joining Coho, we not only provide the equipment and kitchen space but also manage the following for you:
Repairs and maintenance
Waste disposal: recycling, garbage, oil
Cleaning supplies and pest control
5. Real Estate & Testing
Regardless of what your business is, you’ll be able to breeze through your prep with access to high-volume equipment and industrial kitchen space. For example, Coho’s East Georgia location is 10,000 square feet of prime real estate, loaded with commercial kitchen equipment, such as: two Combi-ovens, a steam kettle, a tilt skillet and an industrial dishwasher.
If you’re unsure where to even start, a commissary kitchen can afford you the versatility to test multiple concepts at once to find and validate what works best for you, without worrying about additional turnover.
Commissary kitchens come with a host of hidden benefits other than reduced overhead costs, prime real estate and speed-to-market. It’s not only a more holistic way to test out your idea, but it’s also a great way to expand your business model and keep yourself on-trend and relevant.