June 19, 2023

A Complete Guide to Commissary Kitchens

The F&B landscape is constantly changing, with businesses looking to find cost-effective ways to keep their operations running, while also adhering to shifting customer demands. With the sector becoming increasingly crowded, newcomers know they have to tread carefully in order to avoid getting trapped in the common pitfalls that befall many young eateries.

Those looking to start a food business or adapt to a new modus operandi may have a lot of questions about where to prepare and store food products. This is where a commissary kitchen is a great option as it can offer a range of benefits to food-based businesses.

With the concept becoming increasingly adopted, we at Smart City Kitchens will be venturing into an in-depth exploration about commissary kitchens, including what they are, what types of businesses they can benefit, and the numerous advantages they offer.

How do commissary kitchens work?

A commissary kitchen is a shared kitchen space that food businesses can rent and use to store, prepare, and cook their products. It’s an ideal option for companies that don’t want to go through the expense and hassle of having to lease or build out a commercial cooking space. For these businesses, a commissary kitchen is a great solution as it offers an accessible and affordable space that provides a range of benefits. It allows them to prepare food to the highest safety and quality standards in a shared facility, reducing overhead and offering a range of amenities that can help them get their business off the ground and running quickly.

What type of businesses use commissary kitchens?

There is a myriad of businesses that can take advantage of the numerous benefits offered by commissary kitchens. From bakers to caterers and food truck vendors, these shared kitchen spaces provide access to professional tools and equipment, flexibility, cost savings, and more. Commissary kitchens can be a valuable asset to businesses that need to produce food products in a short amount of time, as well as organisations looking to experiment with menu items and develop new recipes. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the different businesses that can excel in commissary kitchens.

1. Bakeries

Bakers benefit from commissary kitchen access because they need an environment that is specifically designed to produce large amounts of baked goods quickly. Additionally, some of these kitchen spaces eliminate the need for an expensive bakery and provide access to a wide range of equipment and tools, such as mixers, ovens, and proofers.

2. Restaurant Chains

Restaurant chains use commissary kitchens to help prevent disruption to daily operations. By preparing items in a commissary kitchen, they can avoid chaos during peak service hours. This also allows them to avoid added expenses from hiring additional staff and dedicating extra space for production in their establishments.

3. Local Restaurants

Smaller, local restaurants also benefit from the use of commissary kitchens due to the reduced costs associated with having to purchase and install expensive equipment. With everything needed to prepare their food available within reach, these eateries can produce all their dishes in a fraction of the time when compared to how long it would take them if they had a physical restaurant.

4. Caterers

Caterers enjoy greater flexibility through these shared kitchen spaces while saving money as they can rent it out. They can also speed up the process of preparing food for large groups of people as they will have access to all the equipment needed to accomplish this.

5. Snack Kiosks

If you’re choosing to operate at event spaces, commissary kitchens are an option worth considering. As stand spaces can be limited at event venues, separating operations may be a better strategy. Before the event, stand operators would be able to prepare the dish or food product before transporting it to the venue for sale. 

6. Virtual Restaurants  

Commissary kitchen spaces are ideal for virtual restaurant owners to maintain day-to-day operations without compromising on product quality. Without the need of a physical storefront or a dine-in area, business owners will be able to reduce certain overhead costs which are generally associated with traditional restaurants.

The many advantages of commissary kitchens

Commissary kitchens offer a range of benefits to food businesses, providing an attractive alternative to the cost and hassle of renting or owning a restaurant or renting out a huge space to fulfil your catering orders. With the cost saved on utilising commissary kitchens, restaurateurs can invest that money into crucial aspects of their business in order to make it even more profitable.

1. Cost savings

Renting commissary kitchens is often the more cost-effective option compared to renting a building or dedicated kitchen facility. Restauranteurs can reinvest the cost saved on utilising commissary kitchens into crucial aspects of their business to make it even more profitable. 

2. No storage shortage

With additional space available, this eliminates the need to purchase or rent a larger unit, as all your equipment can easily be stored in the commissary kitchen unit you operate out of.

3. Equipment on hand

With equipment already available at these facilities, including a commercial hood, three-phase power and gas, and chiller and freezer units, food prep work is a breeze and much more cost-effective as it saves businesses the time and money of having to buy it themselves.

4. Great locations

Since commissary kitchens are situated in central locations, it increases their accessibility to transporting food from their unit to the restaurants and event spaces they cater for.

5. No ownership responsibilities

This is one of the more underrated benefits of renting a commissary kitchen space as business owners don’t have to deal with the headaches that come with ownership. Instead, all the focus can be directed toward producing top-quality food that adheres to customers’ high expectations.

6. Get started quickly

Many restaurants utilising Smart City Kitchens’ facilities can hit the ground running in as little as two weeks as most of the infrastructure is already taken care of.

7. A licence to serve

The kitchen spaces operated by Smart City Kitchen come approved with a Food Processing License, which is required for central kitchen production operations.

What is needed for commissary kitchens to be successful?

As businesses continue to explore new revenue models, shared-use commissary kitchens are becoming an increasingly popular option for entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. To ensure success in these spaces, companies must be equipped with the ideal combination of equipment, location, technology, and personnel.

1. Top-notch equipment

Having the right equipment is key to running a successful commissary kitchen. Typical necessities like coolers, ovens, stoves, food processors, and other equipment should be up to date, temperature-regulated, and easy to clean. Additionally, modern appliances, as well as accessibility to a range of food prep and storage materials are an integral part of a successful kitchen.

2. A customer-filled location

The right location is also imperative to success as it will be an essential component for eateries with a business model that is heavily reliant on delivery. This is where Smart City Kitchens excels as we offer facilities throughout Singapore with a large customer base in the surrounding vicinity. This ensures they have the foundation to grow before expanding to other markets.

3. Enough staff on hand

Depending on the size and function of the kitchen, it’s important to have enough trained individuals to help with food prep. If businesses get large orders for massive quantities of food, they will naturally need more hands-on deck. Simply put, it’s always best to start small and increase the number of employees as the business grows.

4. Cost Management

The price of renting a commissary kitchen depends on factors such as location, amenities, equipment, and the hours you are renting. If you are choosing to use this kitchen space on a long-term basis, you will need to calculate whether you wish to rent, lease, or buy. Doing so allows you to reduce your overheads and therefore maximise your profit margin.

Your commissary kitchen journey awaits

Commissary kitchens offer a unique solution for food businesses looking to scale without committing a significant amount of capital. With a plethora of benefits on offer and the ability to support numerous types of businesses, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of businesses are making the jump to these facilities and prospering as a result of it. Interested in starting your own commissary kitchen? Fill in the form or get in touch with us.

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