A food entreprenuer’s perspective on kitchen incubators

In order to make the case for a kitchen incubator in Montgomery county, it is important to know who will benefit and how. With that in mind, I interviewed three types of food entrepreneurs: a food truck owner, a baker, and a caterer. I discovered how they would find a kitchen incubator useful and whether or not they believe it would help others in Montgomery County. Using this information, we can simulate how kitchen incubators will benefit us.

The food truck BBQ Bus is located in D.C. It sells lunch and dinner items such as barbecue ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, but on wheels. The truck travels around and often tweets their locations to share it with customers. “Shared space like what’s offered at Union Kitchen is great, especially for businesses just starting out,” said co-owner Che Ruddell-Tabisola. In fact, BBQ Bus currently shares a kitchen incubator with two other food trucks. The rise of the kitchen incubator would be useful for them and other food trucks so they could have a preparation space and insight from other trucks on how to run their business, promoting the “incubation” of businesses through this concept.

Karen Robert’s, a food entrepreneur and baker, founded KarenKay’s Cakes. I asked her for her opinion on shared kitchens and how they would help her. “It would be the best thing to happen for an entrepreneur like myself.  When I first started my business, finding an affordable kitchen to cook out of was my biggest dilemma,” she said. Her businesses mainly sells at farmers markets and on the online store. “Because I want to take my business to the next level,” she said, “and not only sell at local Farmers Markets, I need a commercial kitchen to use.  I look forward to seeing the first real incubator kitchen in Montgomery County.”

Stone Stoup Catering is a catering company that serves D.C, Maryland, and Virginia out of Gaithersburg, Maryland. They offer a large variety of many types of food as well as a unique cookie selection. Chef Zello, the owner, stated that “[Shared kitchen space] certainly would have been helpful when we first started!”

The Innovation Program frequently hears from businesses like these that shared kitchen space is or would have been a great help in jump-starting these businesses. What do you think? Would shared, licensed, commercial kitchen space be helpful for your start-up? We’d like to hear from you.