Georgia Law

Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
Author
papadawg
Junior Burger
  • Total Posts : 11
  • Joined: 2008/09/09 16:29:00
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Status: offline
2008/09/26 11:45:30 (permalink)

Georgia Law

Noob here with a question...

First off I've been hanging around for a few weeks and I've found the wealth of information in RF to be invaluable and encouraging. So thank you for that :)

I'm starting a small catering business in Atlanta, Georgia (Home of the Varsity!!) and I've hit an unexpected road block. Shocking, right!?? Luckily I haven't invested a dime yet... still planning, planning, planning...

This is the deal... as with HD carts, I need a commercial kitchen to call "home" in order to get my business license. I assumed throughout my planning that I would use a shared-use kitchen or essentially rent space in a licensed commercial kitchen (e.g. hourly). Easy enough.

Nope! In the Peach State, under a new law, a commercial kitchen can only be granted ONE license. No shared kitchens allowed. Two licenses cannot be issued for a single kitchen. Period.

So every small food business is either operating illegally or they've given up?? Gimme a break! There has got to be a way around this. Has ANYONE come across this type of regulation? Any suggestions on how to work around this legally?

PD
#1

52 Replies Related Threads

    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/26 12:51:56 (permalink)
    I feel your pain.

    Sorry to hear this. Many caterers start and build their business through shared space, until they can afford their own commercial kitchen. Usually bakeries that close early in the day, or larger commercial kitchens that will lease a small space for you to work.

    I created a way to make it work in this area, operate legally (which is very important in my book) and actually make operating much easier, with less headaches for transporting prepared foods.

    I have off-premesis catering "employees" (sub-contractors) who operate legally in Health Dept. approved mobile units to satisfy the loophole of not having their own commercial kitchen. It was a battle, because some jurisdictions tried to note that mobile units were not allowed to "set up shop" in the area. We presented it to the zoning board that the "mobile" part was simply for transporting the prepared food to the party site. As long as the kitchen part of the commercial units satisfied all of the commercial kitchen requirements, we should be granted a commercial kitchen license.

    I am the owner of the commercial license. All contracts and jobs go through my incorporated business license. I have many different "employees" (catering reps.) who "handle" and "work" different parties, but through my business and my license. I take 30% of the profit (to satisfy my expenses) and the employees who handle and work events get the rest.

    This may or may not help you. I just wanted to share my experience so that you know with enough time and thought you can operate legally.

    #2
    spud
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 273
    • Joined: 2004/02/08 16:52:00
    • Location: sebring, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/26 22:34:56 (permalink)
    See if they will let you use a church kitchen. The church should only need it sundays and on special occasions. This is acceptable in a lot of florida counties.

    They cant honestly expect you to build a kitchen or lease out a closed restaurant for a commissary.

    #3
    papadawg
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 11
    • Joined: 2008/09/09 16:29:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/27 11:12:22 (permalink)
    The church option seems like a good one... one of the health inspectors I talked to recommended that as well. He also said some people build commissary's as a add-on to their house. Not sure how to find something like that except to look on Craig's List.
    #4
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/27 11:27:30 (permalink)
    The residential commissary sounds very odd.

    It is not only a HD issue, but a zoning (safety) issue, as well. It can quickly become a safety/quality of life issue in a residential zone. At that point it is a zoning issue which will override any blessing and approval from the HD.

    Someone can invest is building a commissary, or add-on a place to operate from a private home, and with enough complaints (neighbors will complain all the time. Even the nice neighbors, when you operate a food-related business near their home), the zoning board will override any blessing from the HD, in any given residential zone.

    I would check with the local zoning dept. before exploring any ideas regarding a residential commissary.

    It is also an insurance issue. Homeowner claims are usually disquailified when this kind of business operates within a private dwelling. Business claims are usually disqualified, when the business location is also a private dwelling. The result is ending up in insurance no mans land.
    #5
    papadawg
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 11
    • Joined: 2008/09/09 16:29:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/27 16:52:22 (permalink)
    Thanks for the info. That does sound odd.

    #6
    bassrocker4u2
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 534
    • Joined: 2003/11/12 07:59:00
    • Location: new holland, PA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/27 17:59:43 (permalink)
    sounds wrong. i think you may want to talk to someone else, in the department of health/hotels and restaurants division. as there is a requirement for some restaurants to carry two different types of licenses for a single operation. example: a restaurant that produces goods that are canned or bottled, or otherwise packaged for distribution must have a separate license for that, even though its from the same kitchen as their retail foods. also, if the business is housing fresh live seafood,(oysters, lobster, e.t.c.) they need a separate license for that( sometimes). so.... they are contradicting their own law. so i think its a farse. you need to talk to a competing vendor, who will share their info with you.
    peace!
    #7
    kensandyeggo
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 567
    • Joined: 2007/06/03 16:46:00
    • Location: Charlotte, NC
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/27 20:04:46 (permalink)
    Bassrocker, yes, but it's the same owner, not different owners using the same place. It's the same owner/user with differing permits. Seems like Georgia is saying that 2 "different" businesses cannot use the same commissary/kitchen. Whatever, that sucks.
    #8
    papadawg
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 11
    • Joined: 2008/09/09 16:29:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/27 23:36:08 (permalink)
    yeah that's right... one operator per kitchen. i wasn't aware of the fact that one owner can have multiple licenses but i guess that makes sense if you're packing, shipping etc.
    #9
    Thecarnivore
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 23
    • Joined: 2008/09/17 17:20:00
    • Location: sebring, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/27 23:46:02 (permalink)
    The residential commissary thing would be crazy expensive. You actually would have to build a complete NSF commercial kitchen and also install a seperate septic tank or sewer connection with grease traps to handle the waste water. You would also be on the hook for regular health inspections, fire inspections etc.

    Even if you lived in the country, somebody is gonna complain.
    #10
    CHEFTRACY40
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 6
    • Joined: 2008/04/25 21:52:00
    • Location: Dallas, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/28 10:24:52 (permalink)
    I was thinking about finding 5 other people who need kitchen space and share the expense here in Paulding County, Ga. I think its really ridiculous how we can't find a commercial kitchen for rent! Sooooo many people are looking!
    #11
    papadawg
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 11
    • Joined: 2008/09/09 16:29:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/28 12:43:14 (permalink)
    CHEFTRACY40 the problem is this: It's illegal for businesses to share a commercial kitchen in Georgia. I found a kitchen that I could use after hours but I can't get a business license. The law says no two businesses can have a license for the same kitchen. Somehow I have to find a kitchen that would pass the inspection AND IS NOT currently licensed for use by anyone! Ridiculous, right?

    Finding a church is an option.... churches are not required to hold a license to feed their congregations. So the idea is that a business could use the kitchen and the church could still feed their folks without any problems.

    I haven't tried to contact any churches yet but the entrepreneurs that came before me might have already snatched up all of their kitchens. And, how many churches have NSF approved kitchens?

    #12
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/09/29 22:51:56 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by papadawg

    CHEFTRACY40 the problem is this: It's illegal for businesses to share a commercial kitchen in Georgia. I found a kitchen that I could use after hours but I can't get a business license. The law says no two businesses can have a license for the same kitchen. Somehow I have to find a kitchen that would pass the inspection AND IS NOT currently licensed for use by anyone! Ridiculous, right?

    Finding a church is an option.... churches are not required to hold a license to feed their congregations. So the idea is that a business could use the kitchen and the church could still feed their folks without any problems.

    I haven't tried to contact any churches yet but the entrepreneurs that came before me might have already snatched up all of their kitchens. And, how many churches have NSF approved kitchens?




    Are churchs the only exception? What about local Elks, Knights of Columbus, etc.? If so, I bet they have tons of interested caterers, wanting to lease their kitchen.

    Once a church leases a space to one caterer, does that cap the rental exception? Meaning, does that particular caterer then become the single license for that particular church kitchen, or can a church lease space to multiple business parties?
    #13
    papadawg
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 11
    • Joined: 2008/09/09 16:29:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/10/01 21:41:26 (permalink)
    A kitchen can only have one business license associated with it... if a church is leasing their kitchen to a licensed caterer then the HD won't allow another business to get licensed out of that kitchen. One kitchen = One license.

    I don't understand the logic behind this law. Why is this a bad thing? If one caterer is using a kitchen say Monday - Thursday, what is wrong with another business using it on the weekends? Or a hot dog vendor popping in for a couple of hours each day? They would rather a kitchen sit idle? This law forces people to operate illegally in my view. Illegal kitchens decrease tax revenues and increase the risk to consumers. Makes no sense.

    The same law applies if I were to license a hot dog cart... a cart would be required to have a commercial kitchen it calls home... and in Georgia that kitchen can only be licensed to ONE person.
    #14
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/10/01 23:22:18 (permalink)
    SOMETHING serious might have happened (in a shared space), to cause such a drastic law. Either a lawsuit involving multiple parties, or someone sued the State/City of Atlanta along with a food-related business owner. Maybe just as simple as CYA for the State or City, in case a future lawsuit arises. Covering all of the bases, can really make business difficult to operate, in such a lawsuit happy culture.



    #15
    bassrocker4u2
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 534
    • Joined: 2003/11/12 07:59:00
    • Location: new holland, PA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/10/02 00:13:50 (permalink)
    most likely, someone was elected into an office, who either is, has, is paid by, or has a relative in the business of building commercial kitchens.
    peace!
    #16
    Nightshift
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 224
    • Joined: 2006/06/01 14:18:00
    • Location: Old Hickory, TN
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/10/02 03:30:38 (permalink)
    I know the whole time I have been from "Chattanooga" but some of that time I lived across the border, (God help me) in north ga they don't have anything better to do then to chase bad checks. I feel for you when I can have a can of castleberrys chili; how hazardous can that be, or unless there is company problems (lol) God Bless the Small Business man
    #17
    caclark55
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 1
    • Joined: 2008/10/25 08:18:00
    • Location: Athens, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/10/25 08:49:51 (permalink)
    I am exploring setting up a shared commercial kitchen in Athens, GA area and have found the regulations to be very confusing. From what I understand from the Dept of Agriculture, the facility would hold the license and users (renters) would be under the umbrella of the facility. I gather, there cannot be any sharing of direct kitchen space. If you want to have 2 or more businesses in the facility at the same time, there have to be separate kitchens that are separated by walls and doors - no open spaces.

    I started considering this when I began searching for commercial space for my cookie business and could not find any given the GA regulations on kitchens. Right now, I'm trying to determine whether or not there is enough interest in such a project to warrant the expense and financial risk. Thoughts?
    #18
    exclick
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 5
    • Joined: 2008/11/12 23:12:00
    • Location: Wodstock, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/11/13 19:27:43 (permalink)
    I am interested in sharing kitchen space... Cherokee county is where I am looking to start... I am searching for a hot dog stand also...

    Cherokee County health dept. requires an "enclosed unit" like this one on the willydog site:
    http://www.willydogs.com/hot-dog-carts/indexfd8e.html?CID=10

    I am searching for one... perhaps used?

    The health dept. requires I have a "home base" approved by them for cleaning the unit when not in use, dumping waste water, refilling fresh water etc. and for staorage when not in use.... That's the kitchen-part... I guess..

    If you are still pursuing the shared kitchen idea... please reply ...
    #19
    exclick
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 5
    • Joined: 2008/11/12 23:12:00
    • Location: Wodstock, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/11/13 21:57:22 (permalink)
    Just a thought:

    In Georgia - We should establish a central hub where various venders in various counties across Georgia can store, clean, and refresh their mobile units as well as storing their perishable products... If we had enough participants, the cost could be affordable and worth the travel time..

    I don't know if this would work for food preparations, unless we all worked under the same license... but that too is possible.

    It would be cool though - if someone was making cookies there, and another person was on a route; selling hot dogs and snacks - what's wrong with those to collaborating and the vender selling hot dogs and snacks also carries freshly pre-packaged cookies? Both party's would profit from that arrangement.

    #20
    wilsondavila
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 6
    • Joined: 2008/03/21 16:24:00
    • Location: Humboldt, MN
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2008/11/14 04:28:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by exclick

    I am interested in sharing kitchen space... Cherokee county is where I am looking to start... I am searching for a hot dog stand also...

    Cherokee County health dept. requires an "enclosed unit" like this one on the willydog site:
    http://www.willydogs.com/hot-dog-carts/indexfd8e.html?CID=10

    I am searching for one... perhaps used?

    The health dept. requires I have a "home base" approved by them for cleaning the unit when not in use, dumping waste water, refilling fresh water etc. and for staorage when not in use.... That's the kitchen-part... I guess..

    If you are still pursuing the shared kitchen idea... please reply ...

    #21
    abigailsdaddy
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 46
    • Joined: 2009/08/31 15:32:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2010/01/09 12:09:53 (permalink)
    I have done my research and Georgia has some of the most strict laws and regulations regarding commissary space.  This is certainly a roadblock for those of us in Georgia; but instead of wishing things were different, we have to take action and make things different.  I have just sent an email to my state representative where I outlined the commissary laws and regulations that stand in my way (i.e. the fact that no two businesses can occupy the same kitchen) and asked that he review the state laws and take action to loosen the restrictions.  I encourage you to take similar action and write to your state representative.  If we all write in with the same concern, hopefully something will be done.
    #22
    georgiadogs
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 362
    • Joined: 2009/01/06 22:32:00
    • Location: Athens,Ga
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2010/01/09 12:44:24 (permalink)
    papadawg

    CHEFTRACY40 the problem is this: It's illegal for businesses to share a commercial kitchen in Georgia. I found a kitchen that I could use after hours but I can't get a business license. The law says no two businesses can have a license for the same kitchen. Somehow I have to find a kitchen that would pass the inspection AND IS NOT currently licensed for use by anyone! Ridiculous, right?

    Finding a church is an option.... churches are not required to hold a license to feed their congregations. So the idea is that a business could use the kitchen and the church could still feed their folks without any problems.

    I haven't tried to contact any churches yet but the entrepreneurs that came before me might have already snatched up all of their kitchens. And, how many churches have NSF approved kitchens?

    If you offer to do some upgrading of thier kitchen it would be a good selling point.

    #23
    UncleBudsBBQ
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 24
    • Joined: 2010/01/09 19:51:00
    • Location: Marietta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2010/01/09 20:09:18 (permalink)
    I too am stymied by Georgia law so I am going the mobile kitchen route.  My "base of operations" will be warehouse space.

    I do like exclick's idea of us banding together.  Could work.

    Uncle Bud
    #24
    abigailsdaddy
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 46
    • Joined: 2009/08/31 15:32:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2010/01/10 09:05:23 (permalink)
    UncleBudsBBQ

    I too am stymied by Georgia law so I am going the mobile kitchen route.  My "base of operations" will be warehouse space.

    I do like exclick's idea of us banding together.  Could work.

    Uncle Bud



    Uncle Bud

    I would be interested in knowing how you were planning on operating a mobile kitchen with warehouse space being your base of operations.  Is this a way around the strict Georgia commissary laws?  I too am wanting to go the mobile kitchen route by using either a concession trailer or purchasing a food truck.

    Thanks

    Brad
    #25
    UncleBudsBBQ
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 24
    • Joined: 2010/01/09 19:51:00
    • Location: Marietta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2010/01/10 09:45:05 (permalink)
     


    Uncle Bud

    I would be interested in knowing how you were planning on operating a mobile kitchen with warehouse space being your base of operations.  Is this a way around the strict Georgia commissary laws?  I too am wanting to go the mobile kitchen route by using either a concession trailer or purchasing a food truck.

    Thanks

    Brad


    Brad - I just sent you a pm with my phone number.
    #26
    georgiadogs
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 362
    • Joined: 2009/01/06 22:32:00
    • Location: Athens,Ga
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2010/01/10 10:54:28 (permalink)
    caclark55

    I am exploring setting up a shared commercial kitchen in Athens, GA area and have found the regulations to be very confusing. From what I understand from the Dept of Agriculture, the facility would hold the license and users (renters) would be under the umbrella of the facility. I gather, there cannot be any sharing of direct kitchen space. If you want to have 2 or more businesses in the facility at the same time, there have to be separate kitchens that are separated by walls and doors - no open spaces.

    I started considering this when I began searching for commercial space for my cookie business and could not find any given the GA regulations on kitchens. Right now, I'm trying to determine whether or not there is enough interest in such a project to warrant the expense and financial risk. Thoughts?

    I had heard that UGA was trying to establish a shared kitchen for small businesses. Also you might want to talk to Emory Parker at the East Athens Development Corp. for help getting a business started in the Athens area. They have been very helpfull to me. They also help with some financing for your equipment.
    #27
    vonthurber
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 2
    • Joined: 2010/01/11 15:13:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Georgia Law 2010/01/11 16:02:36 (permalink)
    Tracy, Are you having any luck, I am looking a place to store flour, restock and clean a mobile trailer with 0 positive ideas.
    Vonthurber
    #28
    vonthurber
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 2
    • Joined: 2010/01/11 15:13:00
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Georgia Law 2010/01/11 16:05:18 (permalink)
    Shared kitchen requirement is a problem, I am looking for a place to store flour, stock and clean a trailer near Midtown Atl, are you having any success?
    Vonthurber
    #29
    lornaschinske
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1610
    • Joined: 2009/03/04 22:28:00
    • Location: Roswell, NM until we leave for another place
    • Status: offline
    Re:Georgia Law 2010/01/11 16:30:01 (permalink)
    Are any of you on good terms with you local HD? Perhaps someone can ask them just what they would approve.
    #30
    Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1