Capstone – Project

City of South Bend Commissary Kitchen, financial viability report

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Engagement Synopsis

Since 2010 the number of commercial grade semi-public kitchens, also known as Commissary Kitchens, has grown almost exponentially. A big reason behind this is the extraordinarily high start ups costs associated with running a food business. These Commissary Kitchens provide a relatively safe location for small food businesses to grow and become financially viable themselves. One of the primarily responsibilities of the E3 team is to engage with residents of South Bend and listen to what they need to help improve their communities. A recent survey by a local food business entrepreneur shows that there is a rising interest in having a Commissary kitchen in South Bend but there is currently no central focusing force guiding the interest. There are currently four different groups that are asking us for more information about Commissary Kitchens and what the city can do to assist. We need the assistance of Mendoza students to determine the rough financial viability of a Commissary Kitchen. This will require sifting through market analysis and qualitative studies to determine if the need within the communities can be profitably connected to the placement of a key business. There are currently no exact locations picked but the general idea has been to take an existing property in a neighborhood commercial corridor and rehab it into a semi sustainable location for food businesses to grow and thrive. The students will be asked to determine what the price tag would be needed for food businesses to rent space from a Commercial Kitchen to at least break even with the operating costs. If that is not possible suggesting a few ways to supplement income to make the kitchen viable. There are a variety of models available in other cities, including community kitchens, shared kitchens, cloud kitchens, and various shared-used agreements with restaurants/churches/community centers.

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