Cooking from Home - Environmental Health et al(26 Posts)
This is a really interesting thread as I am in the process of setting up a (sort-of) catering business. I came across the idea in the States where you cannot sell food made in your own kitchen due to legal reasons (all food for sale needs to be made in a certified commercial kitchen) and wasn't sure if the same applied in this country. But I'm guessing from what you all are saying that it isn't the case. I am actually planning on doing a lot of cooking in my clients' kitchens but will still need to be certified. I was quite worried about it but am relieved that a few of you are saying it's not a big deal!
TeamEdward - how do you use your order forms exactly? I tend to do a lot of the consultatipn with customers by email and then send a final email setting out exactly what they've ordered. I would like to start using official order forms though, would it work to send one by email for them to fill in, or just fill out the details myself and send them a pdf or something?
Thanks teamedward. I wonder if I can do the same though, as I hope to start supplying local cafes.
Any ideas of how I could find out? I should perhaps ask the eho.
Very interesting contributions!
What have you all done about 'best before dates' ?
Houses are so in demand here we couldn't being to use that as an option unfortunately. Most of the commercial premises here are bought by cash rich builders and turned into domestic properties so someone like me cannot get their hands on one. It's now happened 3 times and regardless of how I complain to the council they continue to let it happen.
Without going into the nearest city I can't get anything as we live in a small town. There is something nearby that I've been looking at which has been sitting empty for a few years so some negotiation may be done on that.
It HAS to go out of the house, I have no life and no time and the kids are sick of it. Fortunately for me it's not been a rush decision and I won't move till I find the right place - I can keep going as I am as long as I know I'm taking steps towards improvement.
I don't need a premises with footfall or on a high street so the rental value is actually very low in terms of square footage. Fingers crossed this is the one this time (4th time lucky!)
There are large numbers of well established commercial baking and catering businesses failing at the moment so starting from home and keeping cost slow is a good thing. One very well regarded catering business failed in our town just yesterday and the owners lost everything.
Once a business reaches a certain scale though you will inevitably have to make the decision whether or not to move to commercial premises as dizzydixies is now doing . The problem is that commercial rents are still far too high and add on top of that business rates, insurance and more staff - your fixed costs go through the roof. Working from home is quite different from having a commercial operation.
Working from home there is very little in the way fixed amount of money going out of the door every month for rent and rates and wages - regardless of what you actually sell.
My advice is do your budget really carefully before taking on a commercial premises. Know what your break even point is. Ask yourself how many cakes you will have to sell to cover your fixed costs if you expand into a commercial space? It may be that the step up in volume you need is much larger than you can realistically hope to sell. In the current economic climate it may be better to just raise your prices to cut of some of your demand so you can keep it home based for the time being but make more profit that way. Another solution is to move house to somewhere where you can get a garage, outbuilding or workshop space attached to the property. I know of someone who started a home baking business on their kitchen table and then sold their house and bought a smallholding with old outbuildings they gradually converted as they needed to expand.
Commercial landlords are just being ridiculous with rents at the moment and being in charge of your own destiny by owning your business space rather than paying a landlord who demands ever higher rents in the face of an ever slowing economy makes more sense. The gaps on the high street and massive amounts of space on industrial estates is telling everyone that commercial rents should fall but banks and landlords are stil holding out and businesses are going under and property standing empty as a result.
This is really interesting, thanks for starting it TeamEdward. I'm doing the same, but although I registered with the council about 10 months ago I haven't heard anything from them about an inspection. At the time they said I was low risk and that it'd probably be about 6 months before they got round to coming to see me, and as I was really only doing the odd cake for family I wasn't worried. But I'm selling to actual customers now, and feel a bit anxious that all they've done is send me a booklet to read.
I did chase them up once as I was worried that I'd missed out some bit of the process that meant I wasn't on their books but was told I'd done everything I needed to. I might go back to them again soon.
Also, I'm only just starting out and I'm already day-dreaming about having premises. Very difficult to keep everything separate.
You have to be very strict with yourself otherwise there is just no switching off. I'm planning BIG changes for 2013 which will hopefully be the right decision <meep>
I don't have a garage and demand is outstripping the domestic situation. I've done this for 2years now and need to seperate the workplace from the home. There just isn't any opportunity to switch off.
I did think the bloke was a twat though
Time to take the plunge! We've been doing a fayre today and tomorrow, sold almost everything for the two days today so I take it as a 'go for it' signal. I better clean those cupboards then... I don't want to be the first one ever to fail without rats!
They're never wanting you to 'fail' but they will give you guidelines regards best practise.
As TeamEdward says - if your laundry has no place other than the kitchen then you'll have to keep it seperate from all commercial production - nobody wants to eat food that's been prepped at the same time as you sorting through dirty undies!
It's all about common sense - laundry/storage/household pets/children etc
I have to admit it's a complete PITA now as I'm producing so much it's completely taken over my domestic home time to reconsider. The latest Env health chap I spoke to was one who always advises people NOT to start a food production business within their premises if they can really avoid it I'm beginning to understand why now though lol
Thanks so much for posting this it's something I need to get sorted and it's good to know it's not as scary as it sounds! I've over 25 years of food industry knowledge and experience so am not worried about my knowledge, but I was worried about the use of domestic premises vs catering specific ones!
So what happens if you 'fail' it? Are you given another chance?
My washing machine is in the kitchen, is that going to be a problem then?
I've been putting it off but got to do it!
What do you make (sorry I'm on phone and can't go back to check last posters bame)
I run a food business from home too. 2yrs now. I'm the same but the Scottish system is a bit different I believe. Complete change from the last day job and utterly exhausting as I'm working ALL the time either making the goods or doing paperwork/answering calls or emails or delivering or getting ingredients etc etc etc
I'm at the stage now where I've capped what I can earn working from home so either have to keep going here OR take the plunge and go to the bank for a premises.
This was only supposed to be pin money from a hobby that I'm relatively good at
Got my food hygiene certificates from the local college using my ILA allowance
The house has been visited & cleared by the Env Health as SOON as I started up.
Seperate handwash sink isn't an issue as I make low risk goods and have a 1.5sink.
I can't work when I'm in charge of the kids - too much risk of cross contamination.
You can't have your laundry in the same room as your prep (fairly self explanitory)
No pets in prep area.
Domestic and commercial goods all have to be kept seperate.
That was the main points of my visit - hope this helps someone
You could PM me?
(It's CTR btw, in my kickarse name)
Your cakes look great, TeamEd.
Not the spotty oen though.
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