Renting your kitchen is a great way to raise funds and engage your community. Here are our tips to making it a success.
If you have a church kitchen, renting out the space can be an excellent way to raise funds for your church, interact with your community and provide a service for your congregation. Yet if you are going to rent out your kitchen, you will need to take a critical look at what’s available, what condition it’s in and whether it’s appropriate for external use – or needs a bit of a design shake-up before you can open your doors to renters.
Here, we look at what you need to do to explore renting your kitchen to– from who might be interested in the space, to making sure it’s a clean, safe environment to use.
WHO COULD YOU RENT YOUR KITCHEN TO?
Before you make any changes to your kitchen to make it renter-friendly, think about who might want to use the space and what they will need from it. A good place to start is, as usual, your congregation: make some informal enquiries, pin a notice on the noticeboard, send an email or share a survey. The next step is to advertise in the local community: Facebook is always a good way to share the message, or you could consider investing an ad in the local paper. Depending on the size of your space and the condition it’s in, you could also reach out to local wedding planners, business communities and small food businesses in the area.
Some of the churches we have installed semi-commercial kitchens in have seen an eclectic list of uses, from baking classes to dining clubs, Girl Guides to fledgling food businesses producing speciality goods. If you have a decent-sized communal space attached to the kitchen, you could look at hosting catered events, like parties, corporate meetings, weddings, and more. If you do go down this route, don’t forget that safety is key – if the kitchen is going to be open and running when small children are running around, for instance, you need to make sure safety measures are in place.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO RENT OUT YOUR KITCHEN?
A clean, safe kitchen is a must if you’re going to rent it out to third parties. If people are a) paying to use it and b) preparing food commercially in it, ensuring that it’s in top condition is crucial. Well, a clean, safe kitchen in your church is always advisable, but it’s especially important in these circumstances. Word-of-mouth will be one of your biggest avenues to entice new users to your kitchen: if it’s tatty, unclean or dangerous to use, people won’t be recommending it to their friends. You also don’t want to be held responsible if there is a preventable accident in your space, like someone tripping on old, loose floor tiles.
No one wants to prepare so much as a cup of tea in a dirty kitchen. Unfortunately, MDF and timber-framed kitchens degrade quickly, and many churches are finding that kitchens they have installed in the last ten years are already becoming difficult to clean and maintain, thanks to cracks and moisture absorption. If you’re looking to rent your kitchen, a semi-commercial, powder-coated steel model is a long-lasting alternative to MDF and timber units that simply aren’t up to the job. It’s non-porous (so stays easy to clean even under heavy use), doesn’t suffer from mite infestations (such as MDF or chipboard units and doors) and remains impervious to water, oils and greases commonly used in kitchen environments. However, it’s less expensive and less imposing than a commercial steel kitchen that you’d find in a restaurant. Ultimately, it gives great value for money in terms of life span. As an added bonus, powder-coated steel doors can be customised in a wide range of colours, making them a better fit for your church and more inviting to renters.
There are a few ways to make sure that your kitchen is as safe as possible. Firstly, invest in a COSHH cupboard to lock away hazardous materials like cleaning fluid – this is especially important if the space will be used by children or vulnerable adults. Secondly, take a look at your walls and floors and check for loose tiles, panels or peeling paper. Thirdly, check for fire hazards and make sure you’re covered with extinguishers and a clearly labelled fire exit.
What appliances you need depends on who will be using the space. If you don’t know who that is yet, this can feel like a catch-22, but our advice is to err towards easy-to-use equipment with small commercial capacity if you’re planning to rent. Think water boilers, not kettles, and large but simple ovens and hobs, not fully professional catering gear. One investment that is worth it if you have the space is a decent-sized ‘wet area’ with a double-sink and draining board – the sink is one of the most heavily used areas, and this will give you some flexibility over how it’s used. As for dishwashers, a commercial dishwasher will enable you to wash dishes in minutes, not hours, but may not be needed if you’re only hosting small-scale cookery clubs or Brownie bake lessons.
If you’re thinking of renting out your kitchen, and want advice on how to bring yours up to scratch, contact our Church Kitchens team. We’ve installed kitchens in churches across the length and breadth of the UK and understand what you need to create a safe, happy and accessible environment in your church.