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Do you need insurance for teaching cooking classes from home?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

We had baby #2 two weeks ago. My wife doesn't want to go back to her 'real' job in December. She has a cooking blog/website (Japanese food) and has had some people interested in classes. We haven't thought about registering a business or anything yet - just some private cash work at first, I guess. I think she'll need to get some sort of public liability insurance. She'll need a food handling certificate as well - perhaps?

 

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?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 6

Ok, I'll bite. I would check with your present insurance carrier (homeowners I assume) and tell them what you plan to do. I'll bet that they will want you to get a commercial policy because you will be operating a business in your home. As for a Serve-Safe certificate, I don't think anybody is going to check but it would be a good idea just for the knowledge. Now, as for serving meals- that opens a whole can of worms. You would be operating a food service business or restaurant and that requires a certified kitchen, something that the HD will never give a home kitchen. If you just give lesions and some tasting I think you will be fine but you will cross the line if you serve meals. Before you do anything though I would check your zoning for what's allowed. Find out what kind of home based businesses are permitted, if any. You might get away with it until someone complains about the people you have coming and going and the cars.

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by fohr View Post
 

Hi

 

We had baby #2 two weeks ago. My wife doesn't want to go back to her 'real' job in December. She has a cooking blog/website (Japanese food) and has had some people interested in classes. We haven't thought about registering a business or anything yet - just some private cash work at first, I guess. I think she'll need to get some sort of public liability insurance. She'll need a food handling certificate as well - perhaps?

 

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?

 

Thanks

 

 

If you are going to be cooking food for consumption by the public you had better make sure you are legal and proper in all things.

 

Your kitchen must be approved by the health department of your city. Your wife will need to be certified in sanitation.

You'll need insurance as well as any other logistic that goes along with owning a business.

 

If you choose to go any other route you are opening yourself up for litigation. Be careful and good luck

post #4 of 6

Why at home?  A local kitchen supply store might be happy to have your wife host a class in her home. The local community college or university might be willing. A church kitchen or local school.  Any place that already has a commercial kitchen with an HD license. They would also have more room for students. You won't be able to fit too many people in your home kitchen. 

Then you just worry about licensing and insuring your self.  

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by fohr View Post
 

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?

 

Thanks

 

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. 

post #6 of 6
Fohr, Congrats on the birth of your second baby!

Has your wife thought of giving her cooking lessons in the kitchen of the client? She can give private cooking lessons to 1 person or a group of 4-8 (invited by the host) depending on the size of the kitchen . I'm a personal chef and this is how we do it in our industry.

She NEEDS to buy insurance (don't risk it!), and check with your local municipality to see if they require her to have a business license. A ServSafe or NRFSP certification is really helpful, but not required for personal chefs.

In SoCal, there are also incubator commercial kitchens that rent out space for classes, but then you're paying for a registration processing fee, a $500 refundable deposit, and the room rental amount. A client's home is a better option, imho.

Good luck!
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