5 Tips To Maximize Your Shared Kitchen Experience
You’ve just signed the contract for your first shared kitchen membership – congratulations! It’s time to make your recipe or business idea into a reality. Shared kitchens, sometimes called incubators or commissaries, are a low-cost way to bring your food or beverage product to market. But there can be an adjustment period for entrepreneurs who aren’t using to working with, or in close proximity to, other businesses and potential competitors. That’s why we put together a list of tips for maximizing your shared kitchen experience. The tools you need to build a successful brand are all around you – if you use them!
1. Use your network
With your shared kitchen membership, you’re not just receiving kitchen space. You’re also getting access to a network of entrepreneurs, business service providers, professionals in your field, and more. No more Googling to find the best packaging designer! Whether you’re looking for a mentor, an answer, or advice, you’re in the right place. The key is not to be shy. Ask those questions!
2. Get used to sharing
Though the name is obvious, some entrepreneurs are still surprised to find themselves in a tight space with many other makers. That communal mentality also extends beyond the kitchen. You’ll be sharing the spotlight at events, in the newspaper, and sometimes even on the retail shelf. If there’s ever a time to remember that a rising tide lifts all boats, it’s now! Feeling jealous or resentful of other businesses is a waste of your time. Shared spaces benefit new makers by exposing the market to a suite of new products, and attracting more attention than you’d be able to garner alone. Embrace the community and you’ll be embraced back.
3. Carve out “your” time
All that said, a person needs some personal time. Setting a consistent schedule in the kitchen will help you to establish your time and presence there. And if you can set that schedule outside of peak hours, you’ll be able to accomplish more than when the kitchen is crowded. If your kitchen has night and weekend hours, take advantage! Those times will often be less packed, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done.
Failing to communicate in the kitchen can have disastrous consequences. Hot food, sharp knives, and flames are all flying. Use kitchen language to help your neighbors avoid danger, and always have open ears in case of warnings. Outside of the kitchen, strong communication is just as important! You can avoid conflict with fellow entrepreneurs by setting clear expectations, understanding their wishes, and keeping lines of communication open. You’re likely to collaborate with other members on partnerships, public relations, marketing, and more. Good communication will keep it all running smoothly.
5. Competition is a good thing
So there’s more than one cookie baker at the shared kitchen. That’s not such a bad thing! Competition in a category can bring more overall attention to everyone in it. And you’ll never make a better product if you don’t have other products to test it against! Think of competition in the kitchen as a force for good, and you’ll waste less time worrying about it. May the best maker win!