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!
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!
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:
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:
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.
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
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.
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!
You’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:
- 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.
- All food must be prepared, cooked and served on the same day.
- all food created by the MEHKO cannot be sold to other food facilities for resale
- Delivery to the consumer must be done by an employee of the MEHKO, a family member, or household member of the Permit holder.
- No signage or other outdoor displays for advertising are allowed.
- A maximum of 30 meals per day and 60 meals per week can be served with an annual sales cap of $50,000
- 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!