Shared kitchens, also known as shared commissary kitchens, are an emerging trend in the food industry — one that is sweeping the food and beverage industry. Along with vertical gardening, ghost kitchen models, and mindfulness when it comes to food preparation. The industry is blossoming and the service, or those offering the service are making a killing. The shared kitchen rentals are not only growing, but also evolving to meet the needs of its customers, and their customers and consumers. For example, some shared kitchens now offer additional services such as food storage, distribution, and even marketing and branding support. They are adopting the “one-stop-shop” mindset to their business platform. As the food industry continues to change, shared kitchens will likely play a vital role in helping small and niche start-ups or even big ones thrive. Renting a shared kitchen space is becoming increasingly popular among food entrepreneurs and small business owners. Why? Because it gives them a competitive edge, while also allowing them the opportunity to try a new concept with almost no down cost to begin with. Whether you’re an aspiring chef or a catering company, it can be an excellent way to gain access to valuable resources for all your culinary endeavors. Still, before you commit to renting this type of space, before you jump headlong, there are several key points that should be taken into consideration in order to ensure the best outcome for your business. In this article we’re going to cut them up, dice them up, mince them up, and even garnish them up a bit, so stick around as we take shared kitchen rents for a flavor test.
What is a shared kitchen?
Simply put, a shared kitchen is a commercial kitchen - one with all the trimmings and oddball things and gadgets - that is rented out to multiple users. These kitchens are typically fully equipped and offer a range of amenities and services, including storage space, dishwashing facilities, and waste management services. They are often used by food businesses that cannot afford to build and operate their own kitchen space, but still need access to high-quality equipment and resources.
Over the years, this type of culinary model, this a la carte has become the bain mare of the bisque that is the restaurant business. Why?
Let’s confit the reasons slowly like a succulent, slowly cooked duck — There are several reasons why shared kitchen rentals have become so popular in recent years. First and foremost, they are more cost-effective than building and operating your own kitchen. By sharing a space with other businesses, you can split the costs of rent, utilities, and equipment, making it a more affordable option. Plus, shared kitchens offer flexibility, allowing you to rent on an as-needed basis without committing to a long-term lease. This makes it a great option for small businesses or start-ups that are still growing and don't want to take on too much financial risk. That is trying out the waters before jumping right in.
Things to consider when renting out a shared kitchen
Now that we've covered what a shared kitchen is - that we’ve flamed that term and understood the mother sauce of its soul - and why it’s become so popular, let's render and commit to memory the key points to consider when renting your first shared kitchen.
Location, location, location — When choosing a shared kitchen for rent, location is paramount. You'll want to consider the accessibility of the location, as well as traffic and parking considerations. Is the kitchen nestled in a convenient area for your business and customers? Are there parking options available nearby? Is the neighborhood safe? Imagine you’re about to rent an apartment — same concept, same considerations. These are important factors to keep in mind when making your decision.
Shared Kitchen Space
Another important characteristic to consider when renting a shared kitchen is the size of the space and the equipment that's available. You'll want to make sure the kitchen is large enough to accommodate your needs and that it has all the tools, gadgets, and sharp knickknacks you require to run your business. It’s also important to consider whether there's additional storage space available for your ingredients and equipment.
Cost - the big list item that keeps most people up at night - is always an important consideration when starting any business, and renting a shared kitchen is no exception. You'll want to calculate upfront costs, such as membership fees or security deposits, as well as monthly or hourly rent and utility costs. It's also critical to consider any hidden costs, such as additional fees for equipment use or waste management services.
Legal? We live in a highly bureaucratic world where red-tape bids all of us. When renting a shared kitchen, it’s important to ensure that you're complying with all zoning and permit regulations, as well as health and safety regulations. Most kitchens already have this packed and ready for you, it’s part of their service — but there are some bad eggs out there that like to play loose and dirty with this aspect of their business. You’ll also want to make sure you have adequate insurance and liability coverage to protect your interests in case of any accidents or incidents.
Another important consideration is the availability of the kitchen and whether you'll be sharing it with other renters. You'll want to make sure the kitchen is available when you need it and that you’re able to work around the schedules of other renters if necessary — it’s a huge potluck place, so it’s important that you get along with the other folks renting out this time-share.
Amenities and Services
When choosing a shared kitchen, consider the amenities and services that are offered. Some have a few, others are filled to the rafters with them. We’re talking streaming services, and espresso machines. Do they have the appliances and equipment you need? Is there a lot of storage space for your ingredients and equipment? It’s worth considering, and reading all the contract clauses, and understanding whether they offer additional services like cleaning or waste management.
Reputation and References
You live and die by the sword — or the chef’s knives — or, in the shared kitchen universe, by your reputation. Google them till your eyes begin to bleed. It’s critical, dare we say essential, to research the reputation of the shared kitchen you’re considering. To kick every stone over, and get a look at what skeletons they are hiding. Chase down leads, search online for testimonials from previous renters, check reviews and ratings, and ask for references from the kitchen’s management.
Shared kitchen by the numbers
With the rise of small food businesses and the increasing costs of starting and maintaining a commercial kitchen, many entrepreneurs are turning to shared kitchen spaces as a cost-effective solution. How many?
According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets, the global shared kitchen market is expected to grow by $7.7 billion from 2020 to 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of over 17%. And that’s just in the US. Worldwide it’s going to reach Godzilla size levels of profitability. Shared kitchens offer many benefits for food entrepreneurs, including lower startup costs, access to commercial-grade equipment, and fully licensed and approved kitchen space. These facilities can be rented on a short-term or long-term basis, offering flexibility and scalability for businesses looking to grow — and as an added bonus, shared kitchens often provide networking opportunities and access to industry events and resources, allowing entrepreneurs to collaborate and share resources with other food businesses.