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How To Cook From Home And Sell Food

Top Tips on How To Cook From Home And Sell Food

Have you been wondering how to cook from home and sell food? With so many people forced to stay indoors, or even out of work with the current state of the world, search for additional income sources has become the norm. If you love to cook or bake, why not start a food business from your home? Most states allow you to sell certain food items from your home. So, if this is the route you are looking to go, here are a new a few tips to help you allow the way.

How To Cook From Home And Sell Food

Tip #1: Know The Laws of Your State

As soon as you decide to start a food business, you will need to figure out the business legalities right off the bat. You need to find out what you can make in your state, as well as what is going to be required for licensing and permits. The state can create cottage food laws, but it trickles down to the local cities and counties in most instances. The local municipalities where you live may also have additional rules and regulations. So, be sure to find out both what your state cottage food laws along with what your city laws are.

Tip #2: Figure Out Where You Will Sell Your Products

The second tip is to figure out where you be selling your products. Some states don’t allow you to sell online. So, you’ll figure out if it’s allowed to sell and ship your products outside of the state in which you are operating. In most cases, you’ll be allowed to sell within the area in which you operate but unable to do interstate sales (sales outside of your city and state limits).

City and state laws change regularly, however. So, if you aren’t currently allowed to take orders online that could change in the future. Don’t give up hope on the idea. There is also hope for a ton of outdoor events in a few months to a year when the world reopens. All these events will need food vendors. And if you start your business today, you could be the vendor on call.

Tip #3: Figure Out What Types of Food You Can Sell

The big question on most people’s minds is if they’re allowed to cook food in their home kitchen and sell as they do in the restaurants. That is a great question. Many people think of things like chickens, ribs, meats, and fish. But the answer in most cases is absolutely not. Unfortunately, California is the only state that actually has a law that allows you to almost create a home restaurant, in a sense, on the state level. However, many of the counties and cities in California haven’t yet adopted the law, allowing you to do it within the city limits.

That’s one of the things that they have to unfold, unfortunately. Those cities and counties have to allow you to open the home restaurant within their city and county. The state can put it on the books, but unless it’s adopted and taken on in those cities and counties, it’s something that won’t be allowed. So, what can you sell then? This law doesn’t limit your ability to bake or create actual savory food products or condiments such as salsas, hot sauces, snacks, popcorns, chocolate pretzels, or even snacks to name a few. These are products that are considered to not be potentially hazardous.

What are potentially hazardous items? These are items that have to be kept at a certain temperature, or have a certain timeframe in which they have to be consumed. Most states don’t allow you to make those types of food products, but the list of things you can make is gigantic in every state and all of them are pretty similar.

Tip #4: Understand the Limitations of Food Prep

There are many different restrictions and limitations detailed in each state. Many of which are related to who can be in the kitchen at the time of food preparation. Obviously, pets are not allowed. Smoking’s not allowed. If you’re preparing food for your family, they ask that you do that separately. So, if you’re creating a food product for your food business, try to do that at a separate timeframe than when you would be cooking breakfast or dinner for your kids.

There are also limitations regarding the types of equipment you use to prepare your products. In most states, you aren’t allowed to use commercial equipment or large mixers. Things that are normally found in a commercial kitchen are generally not allowed to be in a home setting or used for home products.

Tip #5: Be Sure To Get Business Insurance

The final tip is something that, again, surprisingly is not required in many states. Though it isn’t required, for businesses related to food or cooking, insurance is highly recommended. Consider taking out, at the very least, a food business insurance policy for your home-based business. Outside f this, you can also consider investing in a commercial auto insurance policy as this will allow you to use it for your business. This is a smart move as you’ll be using your car to move around town when you’re delivering orders, getting ingredients, maybe packaging, or whatever it is that your business needs.  There are also potential tax benefits to doing this as you would be able to write off any expenses you incur while using your car as a business expense.

Bottom Line

Starting any business is hard, but deciding to start a food business is, in itself, a special beast. But, if you love to cook, and making food products brings you happy go for it with all your might. Sure, knowing and understanding all the rules, and limitations involved will offer a slight learning curve, but when you are enjoying what you are doing for a living, you’ll find conquering the issues in a start-up will be well worth the effort.

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