Commercial Kitchen at Home, Advantages and Disadvantages

If you are beginning a new foodservice venture it may be helpful to have a home commercial kitchen and be able make use of it. 

You can do this by either establishing a specially licensed home commercial kitchen in addition to your residential kitchen, or you can license your home kitchen according to the home cooking laws found in the permits in many states.

The second option is significantly more straightforward, which severely restricts the number of products you can manufacture and sell, as well as the volume you can produce.

Installing a home-based commercial kitchen provides you with a lot of opportunities to keep your family and friends’ kitchen accessible.

You should consult the local county zoning department to help determine if your home’s planning designation allows you to build an at-home commercial kitchen there.

Regulations are often stricter in inner-city areas since a commercial kitchen can potentially create noise, foot traffic and odors on an otherwise quiet residential street.

You may have less restrictions in a rural area on whether or not you can add an industrial kitchen at home, but you will need to show that your water source is clean and safe. 

If possible, develop a working connection with a particular person in your local zoning department.

commercial kitchen at home

This connection would be very useful to receive consistent answers to all the questions and will also avoid you constantly having to review your situation every time you need responses or orientation.

Of course, the choice of location for the industrial kitchen at home will be limited by the space available. Also consider where it will be easiest to access existing plumbing.

This will save you some construction costs. However, it’s a better idea to spend a little more and build your kitchen in a place where the noise and odors won’t interfere with your family’s daily life rather than saving a little and dealing with ongoing frustration.

Be aware of opportunities and restrictions for loading and unloading from different parts of your home. If your inventory and your finished product are cumbersome and heavy, it’s best not to climb two flights of stairs. 

Some equipment, such as commercial refrigeration units, can be difficult or even impossible to move to certain parts of your home, such as a basement with a low ceiling.

Unless you live in a mansion, you probably won’t have a large area to devote to your industrial kitchen at home. Use your space wisely by integrating storage into the main kitchen area by hanging shelves on the walls and using under-counter areas.

Choose appliances that are large enough to do the job, but no more than necessary. Place refrigerators and mixers where noise is less likely to disrupt your family’s routines.

commercial kitchen at home

It is convenient to have an industrial kitchen at home and work from there, if you are starting a food service business.

What do you need to start a basic commercial kitchen at home?

It depends a lot on the type of gastronomic offer you have, but in general terms you will need:

Design program or graphic software
Commercial kitchen appliances
Storage cabinets
Food preparation tables
Commercial lamps
Commercial sinks

If you use your new industrial kitchen at home to prepare food for resale, check with your local business office for regulations before beginning the renovation.

Allow your home industrial kitchen to be inspected for certification once the kitchen is complete and ready to operate in your business.

Non-compliance with codes can mean costly alterations when applying for subsequent licenses or certifications.

Advantages and disadvantages of these industrial kitchens at home in general

Commercial range advantages:

Less expensive than home ranges.
Higher performance burners (generally 25k BTU’s in restaurant grade, while “heavy duty” models come in around 35k BTU’s).
Ovens typically contain full sheet plates.
Very durable

Installation and service problems:

In homes with natural gas, the gas supply line is generally insufficient in size for a range of industrial cooking in the home. Having a gas supply line that is too small seems to void the warranty on each unit.

They generally require 6 inches or more of clearance from combustible surfaces, with some ranges requiring up to 12 inches of clearance.

This usually means tiled cabinets, walls, backsplashes, etc., which reduces the savings. It also means gaps between the range and adjacent cabinets.

Less insulation around the ovens, which can cause problems in the home, especially with small children.

You may have trouble getting service (some commercial service companies do not have liability insurance that covers their household service personnel).

Most cabinets are more than 24 inches deep, which means they stand out from ordinary cabinets.

The choice of location for the industrial kitchen at home will be limited by the space available

Since most are over 24 inches deep, custom hoods are usually required, again reducing savings. And with the heat these things can produce, you need a good hood. 

And commercial hoods tend to be noisy compared to residential hoods, and often require air conditioning, further reducing savings.

Most require multiple pilot lights (usually one per burner and one per oven) which consume a large amount of fuel and eliminate the rest of the initial savings within a few years.

A typical commercial 36″ range has seven pilot lights running at all times, using a lot of gas and producing a lot of heat. A 48″ range with dual ovens has ten pilot lights!