Los Angeles is a hot spot for commercial kitchen spaces (like Kitchen United and Travis Kalanick’s cloud kitchen startup) which can help restaurants expand their virtual delivery operations. But a new facility is opening up in North Hollywood next week that forsakes the restaurant biz; instead, it provides a space for food entrepreneurs to expand their packaged goods businesses.
Fulton Kitchens is an 11,000 square foot building with 20 private kitchen spaces available for rent. “It’s essentially a blank canvas,” Yossi Reinstein, Partner at Fulton Kitchens LLC told me by phone. Each space comes with the necessary infrastructure (water, electricity, vent hoods), and is approved by the health inspector — but clients must bring all their own equipment.
These spartan offerings are a direct result of Reinstein’s experience at Fulton Kitchens’ first facility, which opened across town three years ago and is still operational. Originally, Fulton provided a variety of kitchen equipment there — but soon learned that their clientele often needed specialized machines for making artisanal pickles, sauerkraut or fresh-squeezed juice. In the end, it was just easier to have clients install their own machines.
There are also no real amenities offered by Fulton Kitchens. Unlike Kitchen United, Fulton has no support staff on hand to clean up or wash dishes for everyone; and it doesn’t provide guidance for food entrepreneurs to navigate permits, FDA approvals and such, as does Commonwealth Kitchen.
Reinstein said that his company is really looking for mid-level entrepreneurs: people who have moved beyond the step of making cottage food in their kitchen, but haven’t yet graduated to a full-on dedicated production facility. In other words: people who know what they’re doing and don’t need handholding. Many of Fulton’s clients already sell into Whole Foods and other locations across Southern California.
Though Fulton Kitchens’ N. Hollywood building won’t open until next week, Reinstein said that it’s already half rented out, and while he didn’t want to provide specifics, rents vary by size (250 sq. ft. on the small end to 550 sq. ft. for the largest), and require at least a year-long lease.
Fulton Kitchens is part of wave of new workspaces — including the aforementioned Commonwealth, PilotWorks and the soon-to-open Tinker Kitchen in SF — that are helping transform the food entrepreneur landscape and serving as a launch pad for them to build a business. The trick now will be to see how many of those food dreams turn into reality.