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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 03-15-2012, 10:12 AM   #1
daninnewjersey
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Default Really need advice

So I've been making barbecue and selling it to people I know....friends, etc....people that won't sue me :) I'm now getting people I don't really know asking to buy my stuff. I'm taking a ServSafe course next week but don't have cash for a restaurant. I have no idea what I need to do to get legit. I'm sure there are plenty of people on here that were in my spot at one point. I'd appreciate any of you offering whatever suggestions you could. Thank you......Dan
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Unread 03-15-2012, 11:16 AM   #2
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I've never been in your shoes before, but the first thing that comes to mind is that you have to cook out of a health department approved kitchen. That is probably not very practical in your case though. Are these requests weekly or daily? Perhaps you need to tell these strangers the scoop of your situation, so there are no ugly surprises. It may not legally CYA, but at least you are throwing that out there.
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Unread 03-15-2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Seems every weekend my friends are asking for a few racks of spares and some of my smoked cheese. I know it's not a lot but this is without me advertising AT ALL. In fact, I've told a few people I didn't know that I couldn't sell to them yet. Are there kitchens that rent time in them or some other kind of deal like that?
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Unread 03-15-2012, 03:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daninnewjersey View Post
Thanks for the reply. Seems every weekend my friends are asking for a few racks of spares and some of my smoked cheese. I know it's not a lot but this is without me advertising AT ALL. In fact, I've told a few people I didn't know that I couldn't sell to them yet. Are there kitchens that rent time in them or some other kind of deal like that?
Yes. Also, there are churches with nice commercial grade kitchens that might allow you to rent time from them. Good luck.
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Unread 03-17-2012, 02:13 PM   #5
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I'm not sure if a Church Kitchen would work unless it is inspected, I don't think i've ever seen an inspection certificate hanging in the church back home even though they do a weekly dinner for anyone that wants to show up.

I am in the same boat though of "wanting to expand, but need a commercial kitchen"

my best thought so far is to check with a local bar/resturant and "team" up with them so that they can get some extra food on their menue and you can list them as your kitchen
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Unread 03-17-2012, 04:29 PM   #6
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It varies widely, but, some churches, schools and charitable organizations will have certified commercial kitchens, most will not. There are commercial kitchens that will rent out time in some parts of the country, but, they are often booked and never cheap. Restaurants are a good option, if you can get in with the owners, as they often have down days or an hour or two when they can let you cook. Out here, many of the food trucks are doing commisary and cooking at restaurants.
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Unread 03-18-2012, 07:15 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies and ideas. Going to check the churches in the area first. Hopefully that will work....
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Unread 03-20-2012, 06:51 AM   #8
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I've been checking into the same thing and you basically have 2 choices, rent a kitchen or buy a mobile one. I found several mobile units ready to go on craigslist ranging anywhere from $4000 - $20000. In my county you have to park it on a commercial property other than the one you are selling at every night so the HD can do inspections whenever they want. The best way to find out everything you need to know is stop by your HD and they will give you a book explaining everything. I found that unless you have about $15000 to dump into it it's almost impossible to do it legal. When you break down how much BBQ you have to sell just to get your initial investment back, it's almost not worth it.

Good luck man hope it works out for you.
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Unread 03-20-2012, 03:25 PM   #9
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Look into the requirements in your area as a private chef, the requirements are typically much less. Might be some technicalities to work around, but if the demand is big enough it could work
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Unread 03-20-2012, 06:01 PM   #10
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Dan I also checked out S. Jersey recently and when it comes to private catering there is basically no enforcement (straight from the horse's mouth), but you're not legit and run a risk by not having liability ins. In Jersey, the health codes sometimes come down to the municipality level, so it's very location specific. Sometimes several towns will defer to the county level. To get legit, you have to have a spot first, period. Here's a CL link to a spot in Cherry Hill that might still be avlb. http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/off/2853833433.html
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Unread 03-22-2012, 02:09 PM   #11
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Thanks again for the replies. Went to the health dept and they gave me a list of non-restaurant kitchens they inspect. So far have been shot down by 2 churches, but there are other places to try......
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Unread 03-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panthers65 View Post
Look into the requirements in your area as a private chef, the requirements are typically much less. Might be some technicalities to work around, but if the demand is big enough it could work
What he does is not allowed by a "legal" private chef. No pickups or dropoffs. Cooking at private parties on site only.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 10:15 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the info you guys supplied. I finally got a yes from a kitchen that's inspected...and they aren't charging me anything (as long as I hook them up with some BBQ).

I'm getting insurance estimates of about $500.00 per year. Does that sound in the ballpark?
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Unread 03-28-2012, 10:31 AM   #14
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My insurance runs around 545. a year so your in the ball park,
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Unread 03-28-2012, 01:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyocurt View Post
My insurance runs around 545. a year so your in the ball park,
Awesome.....thanks. I gotta get a lot of ducks in order before June 18 (farmers market in these parts). Plus, have people asking to buy my stuff. Any pointers you or anyone else could share with a new...and hopefully successful....vendor/caterer would be VERY much appreciated......
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