Originally Posted by fohr
However, because they are there to learn how to prepare meals at home, they'll be served a complete meal menu per class. Will registration/license be needed? Will we need a 'compliant' kitchen for this?
Will a food handler's certificate be needed though?
I've operated a business from home ... but my business was a Victorian B&B and I was zoned for this. I also had a fully equipped commercially licensed kitchen.
In answer to your question:
1) To operate a business out of your home, you have to be commercially zoned. If you're not commercially zoned, you may (depending upon your municipality) apply for a waiver from your city government but they will want to know about the traffic flow and parking issues that these classes might bring as residential neighborhoods are not expected to have the same amount of traffic that a business has.
2) If you are going to operate a business out of your home and you are zoned for this (or have a waiver), you will need to apply for a state business license and you will be liable for business taxes. In Pennsylvania, where I ran my B&B, businesses had QUARTERLY taxes which were a huge pain in the you know what. You will also need a state and Federal tax ID number for your business.
3) If you are going to teach a culinary class, depending upon your state and municipality, you will have to have your kitchen inspected by the county or municipal health inspector. Your kitchen will also be subject to a minimum of one annual randomly occurring inspection per year.
Is your kitchen commercially equipped? Do you have a floor drain and a mop sink? Do you a commercial quality hoods and a fire suppressant system installed over your stove? Do you have a hand wash station, a 3 tiered sink for cleaning, and another sink for food items? Does the hand wash station have a paper towel dispenser mounted on the wall? Is there a liquid soap dispenser also mounted on the wall? Does the three tiered sink have soap dispensers and quat dispensers? Do you have red sanitation buckets and cleaning rags? Do you have ready access to a fire extinguisher that's inspected and certified on an annual basis? Do you have date/label stickers for food storage? Are you practicing FIFO with food storage? Do you have an MSDS folder that specifies every hazardous chemical you have in the kitchen? Do you have male and female bathrooms that are handicapped accessible? Some municipalities might also require you to have a wheel chair ramp.
4) I am not sure if insurance is required, but you'd be incredibly foolish not to have it otherwise this could become a liability issue. I had commercial insurance for my B&B inn even though the inn was also my home. In the minds of insurance agents and in the eyes of the law, there's a HUGE DIFFERENCE between a friend who slips and falls in your home and a paying client who takes a fall. The former would probably be covered by your existing home owner's insurance (depending upon the specifics of your policy) but the latter would not because businesses are expected to have higher traffic volumes than insurance for residential homes.
5) Do you have any pets? Having any pets would be a health code violation because pet dander is a source of physical and biological contamination.
6) Do you need a food handler's permit? YES! Depending upon your state, county, and/or municipality, you may also need to be ServSafe certified. Depending upon where you are, there may be a requirement that specifies that a food safety protection manager must be present for each shift. Any kitchen helpers you might have would also need food handler's permits.