Salt Lake City is excited to announce that the Square Kitchen opened in May 2018!
This culinary incubator kitchen is designed to give small food businesses a competitive advantage when entering or continuing in the local marketplace by providing an affordable certified kitchen space for food prep.
- Help remove restrictive barriers of high cost capital investment associated with leasing or purchasing a kitchen and kitchen equipment;
- Allow specialty food businesses like processors, farmers, caterers, food cart vendors, and mobile food trucks the opportunity to start from nothing and grow;
- Reduce the risk of failure by removing additional start up barriers associated with no, or low skills in the areas of managing and maintaining a commercial kitchen;
- Provide resources related to distribution, branding, marketing, accounting, insurance, and financing new products.
What does an incubator kitchen look like in Salt Lake City?
From February–April 2013 the Food Policy Task Force, in partnership with the Salt Lake City Sustainability Division, worked with Carbaugh & Associates to conduct the Culinary Incubator Kitchen Feasibility Study (PDF). This study identified potential user groups, their current barriers to starting or growing their business, and a market analysis to examine areas such as job creation and economic impacts.
Through focus groups, surveys and one-on-one interviews, as well as evaluating successful culinary incubators in other states, the feasibility study was able to identify the key components to creating a successful culinary incubator kitchen for the SLC community.
Incubator Kitchen Feasibility Study Highlights (PDF)
With an investment of $375,000 from Salt Lake City (this includes a $250,000 Sustainability Department grant, $100,000 from the City Council, a $25,000 façade grant from Housing and Neighborhood Development, and $25,000 for a fire hydrant) as well as a $200,000 loan from the Sustainability Department, the culinary incubator kitchen dream became a reality!
In 2015, SLCgreen put out a Request for Proposals for operator-owners of the kitchen and ultimately selected Analia Valdemoros, MCMP and Tham Soekotjo.
Together they have over 16 years of diverse experience as urban planners, entrepreneurs and local food business owners. Square Kitchen, LLC was established in March 2015 with the mission of building a culinary kitchen incubator facility accessible to all community members.
They broke ground on the facility in spring 2016 and, after navigating a major reconstruction and upgrade project, officially opened for business in May 2018.
The Square Kitchen can currently accommodate 14 businesses at a time, and has the space to continue to grow.
Phase II and Phase III of the project include opening 100 square-foot “pop-up” retail shops, as well as developing a USDA-certified meat processing area.
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