Utah Valley is full of entrepreneurs, ranking at the top of Top 10 lists of best places to start a business. There even are a variety of business incubators ready to help people get startups off the ground. 

But what if your business dream has less to do with office space and more to do with a commercial kitchen? Commercial kitchens can be hard to find and expensive to use, putting a startup out of reach for many people. That’s where Community Action Services and Food Bank can help. In The Potluck, the affordable commercial kitchen, we help people achieve their bakery, catering, and restaurant dreams. Here’s how it works:

What is it? 

The Potluck is a 533-square-foot commercial kitchen that meets all health and safety regulations. It has space for cooking as well as food prep, but no seating areas. Also, when you rent the space, you’ll have access to:

  • Two ovens
  • Six-burner stoves
  • Two convection ovens
  • One reach-in refrigerator
  • One reach-in freezer
  • Two 20-quart stand mixers
  • One proofing cabinet/hot holding box
  • Four prep tables
  • Bowls and other utensils

The Potluck is open for use seven days per week, 24 hours each day.

How much does it cost?

The goal of The Potluck is to help small businesses get off the ground, so we use a sliding scale for rent based on income and household size.

For example, if your family income is 50 percent or below our guidelines, rent is $5 per hour. If your income is between 201 percent and 300 percent of our guidelines, then rent is $20 per hour. If your income is 401 percent and above the guidelines, then rent is $80 per hour.

Who can use it?

We started The Potluck to help entrepreneurs in Utah Valley so that they can become economically stable and self-sufficient. We give low-income entrepreneurs priority as well as the majority of hours of use each week, but other people can use The Potluck as well. Of the 168 hours, The Potluck is open each week, 120 hours are dedicated to low-income entrepreneurs with 48 hours for people who don’t meet the low-income guidelines.

The Potluck is perfect for people operating bakery or catering businesses—Chip Cookies and Baba Cuisine are some of the most successful businesses that came out of our kitchen incubator. We don’t have space for food trucks to dispose of wastewater, though.

After you’ve been using The Potluck for a year, we’ll assess your business. Most businesses will pull out of the commercial kitchen if it’s not working for them. 

How do I get started?

The first step in getting started with The Potluck is to meet our application requirements. You must have

  • Food handlers permit
  • Annual health permit
  • Food safety manager certificate
  • Liability insurance
  • Tax ID number

Depending on your product, you’ll either get a health permit from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food or the Utah County Health Department. We recommend contacting both agencies to ensure you have the right permit. You also must submit financial information as well as a detailed business plan.

Once you’ve met all the requirements, complete and submit our application which is available here.

The Potluck sometimes has a waiting list, especially during the farmers market season. 

Our mission is to foster self-reliance, and helping small businesses grow through The Potluck is one of the ways we accomplish that goal. If you’re interested in more information about how the commercial kitchen can help you achieve your startup dream, go here or contact Jennifer Morgan at jmorgan@communityactionuc.org or (801) 373-8200 ext. 239.