It is already a good three weeks into fall. Before I know it, trick-or-treaters will be knocking at my door. Less than 24 hours later, Christmas decorations will take over and lead us once again into New Year’s Eve. Oh, and let’s not forget that pesky little turkey that will take center stage in most homes in November. You see what I mean? It is the busiest time of the year.
I had big plans for the season. I had hoped I would be up and running with my new culinary quest; mass-producing my delicious, lavash, some have even referred to them as “extremely exquisite” crackers. I came so far with my recipe, creating crackers that are not only healthy and tasty but also do not break into a crumbly disaster as they are being consumed. I had envisioned a cracker that has it all—a divine flavor, healthful properties, and no messy aftermath—and had finally perfected the vision.
This cracker journey began in the early spring while I was working on my cookbook. Once I started to receive calls and emails, asking if this cracker can be ordered, it got me thinking… Why not make it available for the masses?
Really, why not?
Well, I quickly realized that it takes more than flour, water and a few other ingredients to make crackers and start selling them.
My first stop was the Internet. I googled how to start a business: State and Federal requirements, Food Establishment licenses vs. Cottage licenses, Labels and Nutrition facts, Incubator Kitchens, Shared Kitchens, and the list goes on.
If you think that dealing with government regulations is the most difficult thing in life, then you probably need to join me on my journey of finding a commercial kitchen where I could possibly manufacture my crackers.
After learning that a Cottage license would not suffice for the business plan I had in mind, I had to go a different route. I had to obtain a license that would allow me to sell my crackers through a third party and across state lines. Meaning, my crackers couldn’t be prepared in my own kitchen; I needed a commercial kitchen.
Not a big deal, I thought. I obtained a list of commercial kitchens that are in the business of providing kitchen time for an average fee of $20 per hour, plus (of course) additional fees for dry storage, cold storage, freezer space, etc. All of which are asking a minimum of 20 hours per month with a six month agreement. Then, I calculated how many bags of crackers I would need to sell during the six months in order to pay this kitchen time and showed the numbers to my husband, the businessperson. The support I got from him was amazing. “This is a waste of time. You are not going to make money from crackers,” he said.
Still determined, I said, “I’m going to give it a chance, and maybe in a year I’ll build my own kitchen so I can avoid this kitchen time expense.”
I guess that business people will be business people! And when it comes to their own wives, I guess husbands tend to not see all potentially financially risky endeavors through rose-colored glasses...immediately. “I estimate you will need about 100 grand for this. Where exactly are you planning to get this money?” he asked.
I know it’s hard to admit, but I do have a smart husband. Albeit, a little less idealistic and creative than myself; but I guess what they say is true; opposites attract. And deep down, I do believe he’s right. I should not invest money in a commercial kitchen; or in anything that I’m not sure if I would get my investment back. It would take me selling lots and lots of crackers just to pay off this kitchen.
Finding the path to manufacture my crackers is proving challenging, but something I will continue to pursue, and hope to be able to execute in 2017.
More to come…