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This guidebook will provide information about the technical aspects of creating a commercial shared-use kitchen in Bates Mill #5. Specifically, this report will address multiple levels of licensing, regulation, and certification requirements, the potential for providing for specific dietary restrictions, equipment required for general and specialized activities, and potential pricing structures, rental logistics, and operating models. This brief introduction will summarize our findings and recommendations.

For State licensing, the kitchen as well as each tenant producing food will need a license through either the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Department of Health and Human Services handles food made for on-site consumption, such as restaurants and cafeterias and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry handles food processing, wholesaling and selling of packaged foods. The kitchen will only need one of these licenses even if there is packaging and on-site consumption. The Health inspector will determine which license to acquire based on the kitchen’s predominance of business.

The Maine Food Code should be the primary regulation handbook referenced because it includes all necessary requirements under both state and federal laws. The Code of Federal Regulations, Good Manufacturing Practices, and other government handbooks do not need to be used.

ServSafe is the most common American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Food Protection Manager Certification that we recommend. One of the kitchen staff is required by law to be a certified Food Protection Manager after 90 days of receiving a license, but many restaurants require ServSafe for all of their kitchen staff, which is what we recommend. A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan is a system for minimizing the risk of certain kitchen products and only needs to be considered for specialized activities that may be more hazardous.

We considered different requirements for the kitchen to provide nut-free, halal, kosher, and gluten-free products and determined that due to the scale of restrictions and the variety of different processes that will be taking place in the kitchen, we do not recommend that the kitchen produce kosher, nut-free, and gluten-free products at this time. However, the production of halal certified food is less restrictive and should be considered.

The equipment, pricing structure, rental logistics, and operating model of the kitchen ultimately depend on market demands and costs that are not known at this point in the development. Therefore, we decided that rather than making recommendations without adequate knowledge, we would provide information about equipment required for different processes, various options for necessary equipment, pricing structures, rental logistics, and operating models. We also provide a suggested step-by step guide for the kitchen logistics planning process with necessary “questions-to-ask” for each step. It is our hope that this information will serve as a valuable resource to assist Grow L+A in making appropriate and knowledgeable decisions for the kitchen as it moves through stages of development.