Yes to Home Restaurants in California

home restaurant

Are you ready to start a home restaurant? This is an idea that is long overdue. Birthed from the popular popup restaurants from the 2000s in Britain and Australia. The popup restaurant did not find its way to mainstream American until 2008. Of course, people were hosting popups, but not to the extent they are today.

Popup restaurants are an effective way to showcase culinary talents. Food trucks lead the way, but it didn’t stop there. Popups are a great avenue for sharing your food culture with the community.

Novice cooks who have the skill and ability can gain exposure. You no longer have to dish out close to 1-mil to open a traditional restaurant. Popups are the much-needed stepping stones feeding the masses on your terms.

This Potluck culture, making cultural cuisine, using local, homemade food it exciting.

Cooks have been hosting these type events for years. And asking for donations and sometimes setting a fee was nothing new. Participants paid because the food was delicious, the atmosphere was comfortable. And what was better than being around like-minded souls.

Folks have been cooking for family and friends for years and had no idea they were breaking the law.

How to Start a Home Restaurant

home restaurant

Today, the State of California allows you to start a restaurant in your home. Follow the start-up rules and regulations and attend workshops, education is key. A home restaurant can only earn $50,000.00 per year, but the opportunity is limitless.

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People want homemade meals.

Home restaurants are now legal in California and that barrier to entry into the restaurant industry has been removed.

It’s about economic empowerment and allowing folks to start a grassroots business that may take them further than they could anticipate. Here’s more information about Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO). Your starting point will begin by contacting your County Board of Supervisors who must opt in to offer these permits. AB 626 creates a permitting system for home kitchens. This makes it legal for the sale of home-cooked foods.

Do you live in California? Are you ready to start a home restaurant?

Legislators approved AB 377. It is heading over to Governor Brown for signage. The CleanUp Bill should encourage more counties in California to approve AB 626.

  • Check your county for AB 626 approval.
  • 1 MHKO site is per home.
  • Obtain a food handlers card.
  • Must pass an accredited Food Safety Manager Certification.
  • All food must be prepared, cooked and served the same day.
  • Maximum of 30 meals per day and 60 meals per week can be served.
  • Annual sales cap $50000
  • Outdoor Signage is allowed.
  • MHKO food cannot be sold to other food facilities for resale.
  • MHKO employee, family member or household member can deliver food.
  • It is unknown if the rules and regulations will be the same for all counties. 
  • Contact an Environmental Health Specialist.
  • Submit an MHKO permit application.
  • Schedule an Inspection with the Environmental Health Specialist.
  • Once all documents are approved and home inspections are complete, you’re approved to operate.
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Consider keeping guest out of the kitchen for safety reasons. Practice Fire Safety Procedures and install fire safety equipment. Have an evacuation plan and know how to turn off power sources.

Keep first aid kits on-hand. Walk around your home and devise a plan for keeping all guest in a particular part of the house. This applies to outdoor dining too. You may even want to invest in surveillance equipment. Remember, these customers are strangers. People off the street, eating at your home. They’re not family or friends. After the dinner or meal is over, they should not be lingering around, unless this is pre-approved prior to the meal.

Check bathrooms to ensure that no patrons have been locked inside or are wandering through other areas that are off-limits.

It is certain there will be many safety checklists and best practices as more home restaurants open across the State of California.

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