You can go to the fridge and stare, you can mill around the pantry unimpressed – or you can turn this beloved space into an home cooking business oasis.
Your kitchen can provide a real income. In just one state I help, there are at this moment 7805 home cooking business owners.
If you do what you love – you’ll never work a day in your life.Marc Anthony
I love cooking and baking. And I love making money. If you agree, then you’re gonna love what I share with you here. This is your opportunity to OWN your time, to own your life and to have real freedom.
Table of Contents
TYPES OF HOME COOKING BUSINESS
Even folks like Barry who had never baked, fell in love with it after his wife was able to stop walking to her 3rd shift job. The opportunities abound and the following will give you a taste of what is possible.
#1 COTTAGE FOOD BUSINESS
Forty nine of our 50 states have some sort of cottage food laws or program that will allow you to start a real business from your kitchen. Many states make it easy enough that you can get started right now – today!
These folks started in their kitchen with a popcorn machine.
What’s allowed in the 49 states with some sort of cottage food law are different but one thing remains the same, BREAD and COOKIES!
Between bread and cookies, you’ve got a lot of opportunities. Just think of all the different types of bread available.
From regular loaf breads to sweet breads and sourdoughs, cottage food entrepreneurs are making and baking for fantastic kitchen incomes.
This one teacher shared her story here and I received an avalanche of emails with teachers wanting to start up too.
#2 DROP OFF CATERING
I went to Harleysville, PA to film a vendor who does lots of drop off catering. This is another great home cooking business alternative.
One he did the day I got there was for a high school graduation celebration at someone’s home.
We picked up salads, breads and some other supplies from local businesses, made Jason’s multi-cheese mac and pulled pork he’d already slow smoked on his smoker.
We delivered all the food in disposable hotel pans and left. No setup, no clean up, no nothing. Just dropped off their food. These small deals make anywhere from $200 to $700.
Some states require a commissary (commercial kitchen) in order to make and resell foods while other states allow you make the foods at the customer’s home with no license or commercial kitchen required.
My daughter took the no license and no commissary route in the Outer Bank of North Carolina. She’d take her mobile pig roaster and roasts an entire hog at someones home.
Some places, she’d deliver, setup and get the pig on and leave it all with the customer. This made it even easier and was her first step into doing drop off catering.
#3 FRIDGE MEALS
During Covid, many in Vendors United lost their upcoming events and gigs. Immediately they started doing things from home.
One member came up with fridge meals and still to this day is offering fridge meals along with many others. – see Big Mama’s here
He’s using OrderGrubNow.com to take orders and he only offers them on certain days. Health departments weren’t able to keep up with licensing and inspections as well and many were helping with Covid testing and so for many vendors – they just started doing it without a license.
Obviously still using all the safety practices.
Natasha Shares How She Just Got Started…
#4 MAIL ORDER
Another great home cooking business alternative. Some states don’t regulate!
For example, if you call the health department who oversees the food industry in North Carolina and ask about doing kettle corn or funnel cakes – they’ll tell you that they do not oversee those items and to contact the state agriculture department.
Call the agriculture department and they’ll tell you to go ahead and start. No license, no inspection… just start. All states aren’t like that though.
Doing mail order, vendors are making kettle corn or mini donuts from their homes and shipping them all over. They never see or talk to a customer and are able to make a living right from their kitchen.
YOUR KITCHEN – YOUR COMMISSARY
A commissary is a commercial kitchen. Some vendors live in states that are more restrictive in their cottage food laws and so a vendor may want to expand into a real licensed kitchen.
Inside a commercial kitchen, you can do anything you want and some have turned their own kitchen into a commercially licensed kitchen. (usually not allowable in most states)
Options for using a commercial kitchen:
- Shared Kitchens
- Incubator Kitchens
- DIY Commissary
- Out of Business Restaurant
SHARED KITCHEN & INCUBATOR KITCHENS
Shared kitchens have become more and more available across the country. Someone who has a commercial kitchen already and allows you to use it.
This may sound hard but I’ve helped thousands and thousands of hot dog vendors get a free commissary using these methods – because all hot dog vendors have to have a commissary.
Incubator Kitchens – these are designed for multiple people to use. Usually rented time or by the month, you can enjoy the use of professional equipment and still sell from your home.
You can see a list here of ones near you: Incubator Kitchens Near Me
Note: Do a Google search and you’ll find even more.
DIY – BUILD YOUR OWN COMMISSARY
After using a bbq restaurants kitchen for awhile, I decided to put in my own commissary. I called the HD inspector and asked what I’d need to do.
Because it would be impossible in my own home kitchen as it required a separate entrance, I had to build one in my yard. Here is what they required for me to have a commercial kitchen at home:
- Septic Inspection (to see if it could handle the new line)
- A 3 Bay Sink (for wash rinse and sanitize)
- A hand wash sink (separate from others)
- A floor drain
- Non-porous surfaces (good paint)
I bought a little metal storage shed from Lowes and within a few weeks had a real commercial kitchen. Later, I began renting to other vendors in my area. See commissary income
Check out this commissary he built at home
ABANDONED RESTAURANT – CLOSED RESTAURANT
Terry Sharp called me, said he was having trouble finding a commissary. Terry really just didn’t want to use my script and go ask. He said…
I’d rather pay every month than to go ask people.
So instead of a free commercial kitchen, he’d rather pay. Okay. I told him about incubator kitchens but there wasn’t one near him.
I told him to look around for closed down restaurants. He said that’d be easy because there were several. And he called a realtor who had one listed near him for lease.
Then he offered to pay $500 a month to use the kitchen for his catering business as the restaurant part wouldn’t be used.
They agreed but in the meantime, another one he called about offered him to rent the kitchen for $200 a month. It was a smaller mom & pop type place that had closed down.
He got it inspected (which was easy as it had recently been already an approved restaurant). In 12 days he was cooking and baking inside.
HOME COOKING BUSINESS – GROWING BEYOND
My papaw used to say…
Stop try’n fix what ain’t broke!
I’ve literally helped tens of thousands start as food vendors with a hot dog cart (mini mobile kitchen). Because we are likely Type A personalities (entrepreneur types) (bigger and better types) – we always want more.
Welcome to the club!
Inevitably, you’ll want to grow – and thats completely okay. Problem is, some vendors I’ve helped wanted to get a $350,000.00 food truck or open a restaurant.
Sure, they can be profitable, but usually you’ll make less.
Less profit, less of that take home and spend as you like kinda money. And freedom… kiss that goodbye too.
I’ve watched many vendors go broke, even bankrupt doing this. They’ll get up and running, doing great, maybe add a couple more carts and some employees and then one day… a light goes off and they’re like…
“Hell yea! I’m going to open a restaurant!”
Very, very few… make it for long.
One great friend of mine… a fellow pro vendor in our group – told us all on the live mastermind on Monday night…
“I feel like I bought myself a job. I’m making way more but taking home less than I was.”
It’s that overhead and hours thing. It’s a killer.
Dance with the one that brought you. Expand with more, not different. Get more carts, more catering help, more orders… but tread with caution with opening a restaurant or some fancy food truck.
And if you have to… you just can’t stand it… then go small. Prove your concept and new business first. Make it support itself.
Buy a used old food truck, start in a small mom and pop type restaurant and steer clear of the big business killing, insanity creating, life sucking – large investments.
OTHER HOME COOKING BUSINESS VARIATIONS
This lady had nothing. She was living in one of the pay by the week motels. After talking awhile I suggested hitting up some local businesses and providing their donuts.
She bought donuts at Dunkin® and made deliveries.
Within a very short time – she bought a hot dog cart. You can see how she did all this here.
Another lady was homeless living in her car. I interviewed her and it inspired me and those watching. You can watch these and more at Youtube.com/benscarts.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Starting a home cooking business is not hard, there is very little risk – if any and the payoff can be huge. However, some start off great but fizzle out.
WHY? The two most common reasons:
- They aren’t self directed enough to put in the effort when no-one is making them.
- They don’t do their due diligence and keep learning – they prefer trial and error methods
Expect to work and to stay vigilant about quality.
Also, expect to take new ideas one at a time instead of using the spaghetti method of throwing it all up against the wall and seeing what sticks. (that’s a surefire way to burnout and exhaust your profits)
Procrastination is a killer (see number one above). They instead have the motto of – why do today, what I can put off until tomorrow.
Others, they find their ego won’t allow for them to share ideas with others. They’d prefer trial and failure over cutting out all the learning curves and sharing with a group of like minded friends.
But that… is not YOU!
It’s our small mastermind group. Street food vendors, hot dog vendors, drop off caterers, cottage food owners and more… all inside a private group. We share daily, 7 days a week, our trials, our tests, our successes, our tips.
You’ll cut years off your learning and instead be putting more cash in your pockets from the valuable resources inside. [resources = like minded people]
We’ve had folks in there for up to 2 years learning and growing before even opening up a business. One feller, he was in for 2 years before he left the law office and began and I interviewed him here:
HOW MUCH CAN YOU MAKE?
Wyoming limits your annual income at $250,000 if you’re a cottage food business. I regularly see vendors inside our VU group and those that email me updates who are making over $100k annually.
To start off, you can expect to make at least $940 a week based on previous vendors averages. Some less, some more, but that’s the average.
Every time I hear from someone who is struggling, it’s due solely on their marketing. We can’t be as entrepreneurs, experts in all things business.
Usually we are focused on the product and the offer and less on accounting and marketing. Over the years I’ve learned some of the best free ways to get business instantly.
Just listen to this interview I did and hear exactly what I taught him that meant lots of sells right from day one! This was recorded just after they completed their first week.
You’ll learn tons of tips on how vendors inside VU spend a few bucks for some very customized Facebook ads and get great results.
I on the other hand, like the free methods.
SNEAKY SMOOTH FREE MARKETING THAT I JUST LOVE TO TEACH
- Create f/book business page
- Create some content on it
- Join some local groups (especially the ones that don’t allow advertising by group members)
- Take a 30 second or less (15 is perfect) video of your food – a picture can work too.
- Have a friend post up the video / pic with something like…
These are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had! Just got them in the mail. (or just picked them up)
Don’t mention where you got them. People can’t stand not knowing stuff, they’ll ask in comments.
- Your friend or yourself then responds to commenters: Here! (link to your f/book biz page)
Some vendors will try to just up their own advertisement and think it will have the same effect… It WON’T!
Trust me on this. Do this right and you’ll end up growing faster than someone who’s paying for ads daily.
DO YOU HAVE A SUGGESTION?
I’m listening. This site is brand new and I’ll be writing articles, posting interviews and sharing what others share with me – all here.
For the time being… if you have a topic or subject that you need help with, please let me know. And while you wait on me to get it posted up… please do a quick search at https://learnhotdogs.com because it’s loaded with marketing ideas, tips, secrets and much more.
And it ain’t just about hot dogs!
For example: At learnhotdogs.com type in the search box, marketing or commissary or whatever keyword you’re looking for and watch what happens instantly.
Holler if I can help or you’d like to share your story. I’d love to hear from you.