When you first began envisioning yourself as a food truck owner, you probably saw yourself on board, cooking, greeting and taking orders. But what if cooking on board isn’t an option in your city? Many local zoning ordinances limit the areas that food trucks can park and operate. And, in fact, some cities don’t allow cooking onboard the truck at all. So, what then?

If that’s the case for where you’re located, you’ll need to find a commercial kitchen where you can operate. This location won’t just be for cooking, though; it’ll be used for deliveries, preparation tasks, storage, and packaging your items to sell. Even if your city allows cooking onboard, it’s likely that you’ll need a commercial kitchen for prepping foods and for overnight storage, anyway.

Just like when it came time for you to purchase your truck, you knew what functions and capabilities you required in the truck due to your menu’s offerings. When searching for a commercial kitchen, you must keep the same things in mind. Tailor your commercial kitchen requirements to your menu’s needs, not the other way around. You’ll also need to take the location, cost, type and size of your commercial kitchen into account. All of these factors will determine (and limit) the types of dishes you can prepare, the capacity of business you can handle, and where your events and services can be located.

So, what are your commercial kitchen options? Many times, new food truck owners decide on a shared-use commercial kitchen. If this option is lacking in your geographic location or is not what you prefer, you can consider these options as well: restaurants, schools, social clubs and churches.

Talk to other food owners around your area. Even if they don’t want to share their commercial spaces with you, they’ll have good ideas on where you should turn to find help. You can also check out these sites: commercialkitchenforrent.com and culinaryincubator.com.

To evaluate whether or not a specific commercial kitchen is right for you, take these factors into consideration:

  • Does this kitchen provide you will the entirety of the inventory that you require?
  • Is the layout functional and optimal for your menu?
  • Is it likely that the commercial kitchen will be packed with other users at the same times that you require access to the kitchen and supplies?
  • Is the kitchen the size that you need?
  • Does it provide enough storage for all of your ingredients and materials?
  • Is the kitchen close enough to where you want to serve during your operating hours?

It is essential to address all of these questions if you want to be satisfied with your commercial kitchen. Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time in these kitchens, so make sure that the one you rent is aligned with your business interests and needs.