An Incubator Kitchen

An Incubator Kitchen #2: The Membership Model

In the last post, I talked about the process of formulating the idea for our kitchen, what programs we would include and why.  In this post I'm going to talk about the model we're considering for membership. When deciding on the membership model for our kitchen, we tried to address two problems:

1. Money: It’s expensive to build-out a space that serves the needs of professional food makers, and it’s expensive to operate it.  Much like the Underground Market, we want this to be a space that is accessible to as many food producers as possible, while being a sustainable business.  We are going to look for grant funding to ensure we can serve low-income producers, while we build a workable business model that serve the entire Bay Area food community.

2. Access: We didn't want this to be a place only for professional cooks.  The Underground Market has shown that there are thousands of people who want to be involved in other ways than as producers.  There is so much more to do with food than simply have a professional business focused on it.   People want to be part of this, and we’re excited about that.

To solve these two problems we came up with the membership model below.  Rather than sell hourly kitchen rental time, accessible only by professional cooks, we’ve created a new system we’re hoping resonates with the public.  Our membership will be tiered to interest for professionals and non-professionals.  If you're interested in using the kitchen 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, there is a level for you.  If you're interested in using a professional kitchen to can the tomatoes from your backyard a couple hours a month, there's a level for you.

If you're really just interested in staying involved, taking classes, coming to parties, watching movies on the rooftop, there's a level for you. In this way, we can have a lot of really interesting stuff going on, allow people who are interested in being involved a road to entry, while generating income to allow us to offer kitchen rental to beginning entrepreneurs at a reasonable rate.  The levels listed below are still up for revision, but that is the general outline of how the space will be run.  If you have any feedback on this model, please let us know. It’s not set in stone, so if there is anything you would like to see in the space when it opens, we’d definitely like to hear it. Please feel free to comment on this post, or fill out this short survey.

Community membership

• First dibs on classes, events, talks, community events, – 2 days prior to public notice the members will receive an exclusive newsletter allowing them to be the first group to access these offerings

• Allows entrance to the Underground Market (which charges a fee for entry)

Community kitchen-users

• 4 hours month of shared kitchen time included 1-2 designated days a week (Sunday and Wednesday 6-10pm – timeframes pending)

• Additional 10 hours month of kitchen rental at a reduced rate

• 10% off all classes and events

• Will also encompass above community member services

Community kitchen-devotees

• 10 hours month included

1-2 designated days a week (Sunday and Wednesday 6-10pm)

• Additional 10 hours month at a reduced rate

• 20% off classes

• All above community kitchen-users services

Professionals

• Start-up/concept development/low-income program participants

• Still testing the market, making less than $500/month, or not yet generating sales

• One to two people on crew, allowed in the kitchen

• 10-25 hours a month of kitchen time

• Subsidized hourly kitchen rates

• One day a week for kitchen time (8 hours)

• Consulting services built-in through programs/grants

Start-up/concept development/moderate-income program participants

• Testing market, making less than $500/month, or not yet generating sales

• One to two people on crew in kitchen

• 10-25 hours a month

• Subsidized hourly kitchen rates

• Will use the kitchen approximately one-two days per week (8-16 days per week)

• Consulting services built-in through programs/grants

Start-up/production development

• Vetted concept, generating consistent sales

• 4 shifts per week or approximately 32 hours a week of kitchen time

• Two to four person crew per shift

• Consulting services built-in through programs/grants

Graduates/Long-term fixed

• Vetted concept, generating consistent sales and growing rapidly

• 4-6 shifts per week or approximately 40 hours a week of kitchen time

• Tenant may sign 6-24 month lease

• Cost/month fixed - 40 hours per week