1. Fresno department of environmental health approved The days of cooking in your house for the public is over, Caterers are now required to have an authorized Commissary for their Catering Operation. Is the facility you are interested in approved by Health Department? 2. A facility that can support your Catering Operation… Is the facility large enough to handle your Catering needs? Can you cook, prep indoors in a sanitary environment? If you’re not the Health Department will shut you down and give you a hefty fine.
3. Commercial KitchenTo be a professional catering operation one needs professional equipment to prep, cook, hold and clean food.
4. Cold storage You need your OWN refrigeration when using a facility. You do not want to share cold storage with other caterers. This will ensure no cross contamination will occur as well as dealing with another company's poor sanitation methods. You can only guarantee you and your workers are washing their hands after using the bathroom, maintaining clean work spaces, marking, refrigerating and prepping raw foods properly.
5. Rentals Does your Commissary have commercial equipment for you to rent if you do not have the right equipment to cater with? The Health Department has a long list of requirements when selling to the public. In most cases, when starting a new catering business, it is easier to rent necessary equipment rather than spending a lot more money on items you you might not be sure if you will be using them often.
6. Sanitation A place to clean your cookware, is a must. Washing pots, pans, cutting boards, serving utensils in your back yard or outdoors is not alright. Make sure the facility has at minimum has an indoor 3 compartment sink that is Health Department approved as well as fitted with the right cleaning chemicals, sanitation, and hot water to clean properly your equipment. A dishwasher is also a bonus!
7. Bathrooms yep I said it Everyone needs a clean environment to do their business. A clean environment to wash your hands properly before returning to work is a must. A bush outside is not acceptable. If the bathrooms are reminiscing of a highway truck stop that smells like urine or other bodily fluids this should give you a realistic picture of how clean the other areas of the facility are.
8. Indoor work / prep area It is against the law as well as unsanitary as heck to prep any food items without a roof or tent cover and protect you as well as your clients from biological contamination. For goodness sakes if your facility does not provide an indoor prep area for you to cook, then you don’t have a Commissary, you just have the outdoors and the last time I checked the outdoors does not charge a fee.
9. Indoor ice machine If you aren’t afraid of bird droppings, flying insects, vermin or any other biological contaminate getting into your clean operation from an outdoor ice machine then by all means keep getting your ice from your vendor but I must impress that you must have real good insurance from all the lawsuits you will get from food poisoning. 10. Business development as well as marketing and branding… If your business does not grow, then how will you be able to keep renting space from your Commissary for your catering operation? Make sure your commercial kitchen / commissary is willing to help you grow and the professional means to help you expand.