How to Create the Perfect Menu for Your Home Based Kitchen Restaurant

Congratulations, you’re officially in business! You got your Food Safety Manager Certification, you received your permit to operate your microenterprise home kitchen, and now you’re ready to build your very own foodie tribe on the Homemade App. Let the hunger games begin by creating a unique menu of home cooked meals that’ll keep nearby customers coming back for more. Here’s a few steps to help you get started!

 

Micro Home Kitchen Business - Select Dishes

CheckSelect Your Go-To Dishes

Write down a list of your go-to meals that always get you major cred when you prepare them for your friends and family. Simplify that list even further by selecting your absolute favorite meals that are simple to make, and feature ingredients that are accessible year-round.

Pro Tip: For guaranteed success, start simple by focusing on signature home cooked meals that are tried and true.

 

CheckCreate a Cool Theme for Your Menu

Use your food to tell your story! Is your menu inspired by recipes that were passed down to you, distinct flavors of a cultural cuisine, or made completely with locally sourced ingredients? Find your “why” and use it to create a unique theme that shows what makes your cuisine so special. Not only will it help your menu stand out, but it will help future customers find exactly what they’re craving.

Pro Tip: Consider revamping your menu every few months with fresh new recipes and seasonal ingredients to keep your customers engaged.

 

Micro Home Kitchen Business - List Ingredients

CheckList Your Ingredients

List out all of the ingredients and portions needed for all of your dishes, and keep them in a recipe binder or DIY cookbook so that you’re prepared when business starts rolling in. This will also make it easy for you to create organized budgets for your trips to the grocery store.

Pro Tip: Organize your dishes by grouping them according to their main ingredient so that your grocery trips can be more efficient.

 

CheckMake Your Menu MEHKO Approved

Make your menu safe, accessible, and #allergyfree for all by removing any dishes with ingredients that are restricted by MEHKO regulations. Ingredients restricted by MEHKO include raw oysters, smoked or cured food, vacuum packed foods, pickled or preserved foods, ice cream or raw milk products, and CBD or THC.

 

Micro Home Kitchen Business - Set Pricing

CheckMake Sure that the Price is Right

Now that you know exactly what you plan to sell, it’s time to figure out exactly how much to sell it for! To determine how much you should charge for each meal, it’s important to know how much you plan to spend on ingredients so that you can define your margins and guarantee that you’ll make a profit. This is called your food cost percentage, and the industry average is  25-35%.

After that, find out the raw food cost of each menu item by adding up the total cost of ingredients for each dish. Once you have this information, calculate the price of each menu item with this equation: Price = Raw Food Cost of Item / Ideal Food Cost Percentage. Not good at math? Use a food cost calculator as your guide.

Pro Tip: Also consider food containers, cooking tools, and equipment when calculating your budget.

 

CheckMake Your Menu Pop

You figured out your menu and pricing, and now it’s time to create descriptive and engaging names for each dish. Make your menu easily searchable by including keywords that people are likely to search like ‘burger’ or ‘salad,’ and add adjectives like ‘delectable,’ or ‘refreshing,’ to make your cuisine stand out. Think about the inspiration, cultural origins, and ingredients behind each dish to create detail-oriented descriptions for your menu.

 

Micro Home Kitchen Business - Take Food Selfie

CheckTake Your Food Selfies

You’ve described how tasty your menu options are. Now it’s time to show how tasty they look with amazing photos! It’s great to have professional photography equipment but if you don’t, you can still capture mouth-watering photos with your smartphone, and a few simple tricks. Start by finding a simple background, such as a wooden surface or a neutral colored wall. Make sure that you are surrounded by natural light by taking photos outdoors or near a window.

Add some fun details by including props like cooking utensils, raw ingredients, and elements that speak to your personality. You can even add a human element by featuring a cameo of your hand in action. Once you’ve staged your food, find the perfect angle to capture all of the incredible details of your dish, then snap several photos and select the tastiest picture! To add extra flare to your photos, use editing apps like VSCO to make the colors in your dishes really pop.

 

Simple and ConvenientOrganize Your Menu

Make it easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for by organizing your dishes into sections. Divide your menu by meal type (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), by dietary restrictions such as vegan, gluten free and keto, or by price. Also let your customers know what your crowd favorites are by highlighting your best-sellers and weekly specials.

Your menu will be your storefront on the HomeMade App, so make it work in your favor by highlighting dishes that show what you’ve really got in the kitchen. By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a menu of #foodporn worthy dishes that local foodies will run to tell their friends about!

 

The HomeMade support team is here to help you succeed during any step of this process. Please feel free to reach out to us should you have any questions about how to create the perfect menu. Drop us a line by clicking here. Good luck and can’t wait to start cookin’ with you! 

The Ultimate Guide to AB-626 MICROENTERPRISE HOME KITCHEN OPERATIONS in Riverside County

Home-based cooks, this is not a drill! Thanks to the Assembly bill (AB-626), it is now legal to create your very own Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation (MEHKO) in Riverside County. By following a few simple steps and obtaining the right certifications, you can start legally selling your delicious homemade cooking to local hungry customers, right from the comfort of your own kitchen! 

Use this helpful guide plus the quick reference graphic below for step-by-step directions on how you can get your microenterprise home kitchen permit, get your profile setup on HomeMade, and get cookin’ today!

 

Riverside county microenterprise home kitchen operation guide

CheckStep 1: Download The HomeMade App

First things first, it’s time to create your account on the Homemade App so that you can begin selling your homemade food on your own time, on your own terms and make money doing what you love.

Your profile on the HomeMade app will become your premium portal for connecting with local foodies in your community who want to eat your tasty home cooked dishes. With the HomeMade app, you’ll have a virtual storefront for your home-based cooking business to attract hungry neighbors, plus access to real-time data on sales and earnings which you receive after completed transactions. 

You can download the HomeMade App on Google Play or App Store with the links below to get started right away!

 

CheckStep 2: Complete the Riverside County MEHKO Standard Operating Procedures Form

It’s time to make it official by submitting the Riverside County MEHKO Standard Operating Procedures Form. By completing this form, you’re giving Riverside County the head’s up that you plan to open your own Microenterprise Home Kitchen, and you’re acknowledging that you understand the restrictions and procedures of operating a home-based cooking business. Filling out this form is easy! You can fill it out online by simply clicking on each box and typing your responses. We know it’s a bit lengthy, but it’s important that you fill out every section accurately to ensure that you can get that certified stamp of approval as a Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operator with minimal fuss. Once you’ve completed the form, save the document as a pdf file on your computer.

 

You can find the MEHKO Standard Operating Procedures Form here:

English Version

 

CheckStep 3: Complete The Riverside County MEHK Permit Application

Now that you’ve been schooled on how to operate your home kitchen, It’s time to get certified by getting your MEHK permit! This permit is your golden ticket to legally operating your home-based cooking business, so this is a very important step in the process. We made this part super easy for you by creating an online version of the MEHK permit form. Simply click the link below and it will guide you through the entire process. Once you submit your MEHK permit application, a copy of your completed form will be emailed to you.

Link to Riverside County Health Permit Application:

English Version

 

CheckStep 4: Get Your Food Safety Manager Certification

You know how to operate a microenterprise home kitchen and you submitted an application to receive your MEHK permit, but you can’t forget about food safety! Before you can sell your first meal,  you must take a course in food safety and handling to ensure that you know all of the useful information you need to prepare safe, healthy food for your hungry customers. If applicable, you will need each person other than yourself to obtain a Food Handlers Certification, too.

You can clink the link below to find all of the information you need regarding the Food Safety Manager Certification, as well as a list of accredited organizations that offer food safety management certification training. The training is available online  in multiple languages, making it as accessible and as simple as 1,2,3.

 

Link to Riverside County’s information page on Food Safety Manager Certification

Link to Riverside County’s Food Handlers Online Course

 

CheckStep 5: Contact Riverside County and Submit Your Application

The hard part is almost over! You filled out all of the required forms, and you’re now ready to submit your application.  Call your local office to make an appointment to submit your documents at (888) 722-4234. Local offices are located in Blythe, Corona, Hemet, Indio, Murrieta, Palm Springs, and Riverside.

Wait! Before your submit, here’s your checklist of all of the documents you must include:

  • Riverside County Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation (MEHKO) – Standard Operating Procedures Form
  • Riverside County Health Permit Application
  • Completion Certificate for Food Safety Manager Course
  • Food Handlers Certification for all persons involved in the MEHKO other than the Manager

 

CheckStep 6: Prepare Your Home Kitchen for Onsite Inspection

Ready to get your home kitchen up and running? Before you can sell your first meal, you must pass the Environmental Health Specialist’s inspection first. Prepare your microenterprise home kitchen operation for inspection day by making sure that your kitchen is in top notch shape. The Environmental Health Specialist will also inspect consumer eating areas, restrooms, janitorial or cleaning facilities, refuse storage areas, and attached rooms within the home that are used for food, utensils, and equipment storage. Vehicles used for transporting food will also be reviewed. Sanitize all of these areas before your inspection and on a regular basis to ensure that you’re always serving delicious AND safe meals to your future customers.

 

CheckStep 7: Create your Menu on the Homemade App

Congratulations, you’re officially in business! Now you’re ready to build your very own foodie tribe on the Homemade App by creating a unique menu of home cooked meals that’ll keep nearby customers coming back for more. In addition to being a virtual storefront for your microenterprise home kitchen, the HomeMade app allows you to up your marketing game by providing you with tools to customize your unique menu (include link to other blog post here). Once you select your featured dishes, double check that all of your ingredients are MEHKO-approved, and snap some food selfies, you can use the Homemade App to tell the world about your tasty dishes on social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The Homemade App also brings local foodies to you, so there’s endless opportunities for you to build and grow your foodie tribe!

 

Simple and ConvenientYou’re officially all set to get rolling in the kitchen! As you take your home kitchen into full gear, always keep these MEHKO restrictions in mind:

  1. Only one MEHKO is permitted per site. The Operator (or manager) must be the resident of the private home and is responsible for the operation.
  2. All food must be prepared, cooked and served on the same day.
  3. all food created by the MEHKO cannot be sold to other food facilities for resale
  4. Delivery to the consumer must be done by an employee of the MEHKO, a family member, or household member of the Permit holder.
  5. No signage or other outdoor displays for advertising are allowed.
  6. A maximum of 30 meals per day and 60 meals per week can be served with an annual sales cap of $50,000
  7. MEHKOs may not produce, serve, or use raw milk, serve raw oysters, or any food that would require a HACCP Plan.

 

These simple steps are the only thing holding you back from turning your passion for cooking into your very own micro entreprise home kitchen! If you get stuck at any point along the way, the HomeMade support team is always here to help you succeed during any step of this process. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions about the application process, downloading the app, customizing your menu, or if you just want to find out more information on how to get started. Drop us a line by clicking here. Good luck and can’t wait to start cookin’ with you!