Utah is a great place to start a business – the best, in fact, according to Seek Capital.
If you are an entrepreneur with a business idea, this is the place to be. Of course, that doesn’t mean starting a new business is easy, especially if you’re looking to get into the food industry.
Starting with a passion for delicious food and translating it into a profitable business is an expensive endeavor. Without the capital for an expensive commercial kitchen, it can be difficult to get off the ground.
Community Action Services and the Food Bank are working to bridge the food entrepreneur gap with a low cost commercial kitchen: The Potluck. With hourly rates based on income and amenities to suit magicians of all types, The Potluck has helped entrepreneurs turn their dreams of ideas into a delicious reality.
Here’s how The Potluck made a difference for two local food businesses:
Omanee Foods, LLC
Omanee Foods started off with a family-run kimchi recipe that couldn’t be beaten. Owner Taylor Roberts loved his mother-in-law’s recipes and wanted to share them. Unfortunately, he needed a commercial kitchen to start making kimchi and other foods for the masses. Rental rates were expensive, as were catering companies.
Roberts’ old day job was as an accountant, and he wanted to start his business the right way, without cutting corners. When he stumbled upon The Potluck, he found a commercial kitchen that could meet his needs, with flexible pricing and hours to meet his needs.
“If you’re looking to get into the food business, you’ve got to keep it on the rules and follow state laws,” says Roberts. “In Utah, the Potluck Kitchen allows small businesses to do this without wasting their entire budget.”
Roberts said the kitchen gave him the opportunity to experiment with different recipes and work on his making process. Not only that, but he felt right at home among other entrepreneurs who shared similar goals. The kitchen is open to businesses of all kinds, with most of its hours of operation spent at businesses like Omanee Foods and The Pie Tin Bakery.
The pie bakery
In Utah County, you can find a business offering a variety of candy on almost every street corner. One thing baker Kanani Carmack didn’t see much of was the dedicated pastries. Carmack couldn’t let the public suffer without some homemade pies, so she took to baking. Like Roberts, however, she found she needed a good commercial kitchen to get the job done right. Enter the Potluck.
Carmack heard about The Potluck before starting her business, so she knew where to turn for her needs. The Potluck Kitchen is a baker’s dream, with a two-deck oven that can handle 100 miniature pies at a time. So she has no problem whipping lemon, strawberry rhubarb, chocolate with coconut pudding and s’mores pies. She found it to be the perfect place to start a business like hers.
“I love baking my pies,” she says. “Every pie I bake is made with love. Community action gave me the foundations to pursue my passion.
The Potluck is intended to serve entrepreneurs for one year, after which their needs are reassessed. It has the resources to help a variety of food companies, whether the food is meant to first end up on store shelves, like Omanee Foods, or go straight to the mouth, like The Pie Tin Bakery. Cooking has been a great starting point for businesses like Omanee Foods and The Pie Tin Bakery and can provide a foundation for success as they move forward in growing their businesses.