La Cocina Orientation Notes
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La Cocina Orientation Notes

  • Date: 2021-06-23
  • Presenter: Emiliana Puyana - Program Manager, entrepreneur, restaurant background
  • Main Topic: How to start a food business in San Francisco, La Cocina Background

  • La Cocina
    • Non-profit 501c(3) in Mission District, SF
    • Kitchen incubator for new/early business
      • From idea/young/informal business to formalizing and helping the business run more efficiently
      • Providing folks with accessible and affordable commercial kitchen base (Folsom and 25th) at a discounted rate
      • Provide access to market opportunities
    • Folks would come in and be part of a program curriculum, formalize, launch, grow business (using the kitchen is not a requirement)
    • Once it grows to a specific point, then folks transition out of the incubator and go to their own location
      • Packaged food company β†’ factory, co-packer
    • Income qualifications - low income by HUD standards in the SF Bay Area (~$75K)
  • The best thing to do is to STOP and WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN.
    • Opportunities will continue to comeβ€”it's important to check against the business plan to see if one is staying on the path because it is easy to stray!
    • Main points to cover:
      • What are you selling?
      • Who is the target market? Don't be too broad. Figure out the specific target market and how much they make. What are their habits? Where do they go to shop? Where do they get their news? Paint a picture of an individual.
      • Who's your competition? Understand your competitive advantage. Do a SWOT analysis comparison.
        • "My food is better" is not a competitive advantage, because customers have to pay before they find that out.
      • 3-4 short paragraphs on whyβ€”why are you excited about this type of food, this type of business
      • Write a menuβ€”identify efficiencies/inefficiencies
        • Write the recipes to figure out the cost of goods
        • Online tool: recipe costs calculator
        • Call purveyers to get their wholesale price list
        • Restaurant depot
      • Operations
        • Different types of entity formations
        • LSE (Legal Services for Entrepreneurs) host webinars
      • Permits
        • Packaged foods - permit comes from STATE NOT COUNTY (County is only for prepared/cooked foods)
          • Go to California Department of Public Health - Processed Food Registration
          • San Francisco City Hall - Marta Janez (sp?) - can schedule live appointments and provide step-by-step
          • Account for labor including yourself - MUST figure out a way to GET YOURSELF OUT OF THE KITCHEN
          • Employees cost ~20% more than you think because of payroll taxes, withholding, etc. etc.
      • Finances
        • Conduct a break-even analysis - Figure how many product units are needed to break-even on a monthly basis
        • Conduct competitive intelligence
      • Take a step back and examine whether this is all viable
        • If the answer is no, it doesn't mean it's all for nothing. Pivot! (Case study of this La Cocina applicant who pivoted from an expensive pot de creme business plan to a honey wafer cookie that became nationally distributed and she sold the company, etc.)

        Application rounds for La Cocina begin early next year (2022)

        Affiliate organization (startup): Foodnome - start legal home-based restaurant (roya@foodnome.com)

        No income requirement: https://kitchentowncentral.com/