10 min. 15 min.
Before Kiss My Bundt Bakery was an award-winning retail bakery in a hip area of Los Angeles, I was baking various desserts out of my home for friends and family.
In essence, I was running and illegal business, violating state and county laws. It didn’t feel like I was a law-breaking rebel, because I was simply following the models of home cooks I experienced as a child. As a child, my family bought cakes from a lady down the street and bought barbecue sauce from our next door neighbor.
For people who want to legitimately (legally) prepare their homemade foods for sale, the costs can be prohibitive.
They have to buy their ingredients as a retail price, which is more expensive than buying at wholesale prices (for which you need a license, and cannot get as a home cook).
Next, you must find a commercial kitchen, which are few and far between.
And, once they find a commercial kitchen to rent, they can pay upwards of $30/hour. To bake, cool, frost, package and label 300 cupcakes, it takes about 7 hours. That’s $210 dollars out of your cupcakes sale just on rent (no including labor costs, packaging cost, label printing costs, etc).
If they want to sell at a farmer’s market, they are looking at an additional $80-100 cost.
So, to “legitimately” sell their food products, aspiring food entrepreneurs lose money.
And, so, the micro-enterprise, economic-boost this small business could have on a family is diminished, and the business is more like an expensive hobby.
I’ve been an advocate for years for local governments and economic development entities to find ways that help support the growth of small food businesses, making the way for the next Mrs. Fields. One solution could be subsidized commercial kitchens as a small business development investment. Another solution could be possible legislation to eliminate the prohibitions.
A pastry chef friend of mine that lives in Vancouver Washington just told me that the City just passed an ordinance that supports home-made food production and de-criminalizes the process.
California is now considering a similar bill.
Over the years, I have met many folks who made incredible artisan food in their homes (quiche, fudge,etc). In fact, that’s how I started Kiss My Bundt nearly 10 years ago. To launch a physical food-business is very expensive (trust me), and to do it from home in California is illegal. A new bill up for vote would allow home food businesses. There is a counter argument: public health.
What do you think?
Here’s an LA Times Article About it: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-homemade-food-20120829,1674529,7146873.story?page=2