It's convenient to work from home. If you're starting a food service business, you can accomplish this by building a separate licensed kitchen in addition to your residential kitchen, or you can license your home kitchen under the cottage kitchen laws that are on the books in many states. The latter option is much simpler, but it severely limits the products you can make and sell, as well as the volume you can produce. Adding a commercial kitchen to your home opens a world of possibilities and lets you keep your home kitchen available for feeding family and friends.

Zoning and Licensing

Check with the local zoning department to determine whether your home's zoning designation allows you to build a commercial kitchen there. Restrictions tend to be tighter in urban areas, because a commercial kitchen can introduce noise, traffic and odors to an otherwise peaceful residential street. In a rural area, you may encounter fewer restrictions regarding whether or not you can add a commercial kitchen to your home, but you will have to show that your water source is clean and safe.

If you can, cultivate a working relationship with a particular person at your local zoning department. This will help you receive consistent answers to your questions, and will save you from having to recap your situation every time you need answers or guidance.

Choosing a Location

Of course, the choice of location for your home commercial kitchen will be limited by where you have space. Also consider where it will be easiest to tap into existing plumbing. This will save you some build-out costs. However, it's a better idea to spend a bit extra and build your kitchen in a place where the noise and odors won't interfere with your family's day-to-day life than to save a little and deal with ongoing frustration.

Take into account the opportunities and restrictions for loading and unloading from different parts of your home. If your inventory and your finished product is awkward and heavy, it's better not to have to carry it up two flights of stairs. Some equipment, such as commercial refrigeration units, may be difficult or even impossible to move into certain parts of your home, such as a basement with a low ceiling.

Designing Your Kitchen

Unless you live in a mansion, you probably won't have an expansive area to dedicate to your commercial kitchen. Use your space wisely. Integrate storage into the main kitchen area by hanging shelves on walls and using under-counter areas.

Choose appliances large enough to get the job done but no larger than necessary. Position refrigerators and mixers where the noise is least likely to disrupt your family's routines.

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