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SAN FRANCISCO’S FIRST INCUBATOR KITCHEN. Our Mission. La Cocina is a non-profit incubator kitchen that provides affordable commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs who are starting, launching or growing a food business. The History of La Cocina.

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Presentation Transcript
our mission
Our Mission

La Cocina is a non-profit incubator kitchen that provides affordable commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs who are starting, launching or growing a food business.

the history of la cocina
The History of La Cocina

1999 Feasability Study

2001 Break Ground

2005 Doors Open to First Businesses

2007 First 2 Businesses Graduate

  • First Food Business Incubator Conference
the businesses of la cocina
The Businesses of La Cocina
  • Over 30 businesses share kitchen space at La Cocina, of which 22 have been accepted into La Cocina’s incubator program.
  • Program Participants must submit a finished business plan, personal and business financial information and sit with an advisory committee for an interview before being accepted to the program.
  • Three years into the program we have had 2 graduates businesses, and we expect 2—4 graduates per year going forward.
micro enterprise
  • In the United States, a microenterprise is usually defined as a business with five or fewer employees, small enough to require initial capital of $35,000 or less. 
  • AEO estimates there are more than 24 million microenterprises in the U.S., representing 18% of all private employment and 87% of all businesses.
  • Historically, microenterprises have been considered the  backbone of the U.S. economy. Most microenterprises are sole proprietorships, which create employment for the owner and, often, other family members; they are commonly called "mom and pop" businesses.
case study 1 peas of mind
Case Study 1: Peas of Mind
  • Peas of Mind began at La Cocina in January of 2005.
  • Began with a recipe, a business plan and zero customers.
  • Initially, focused entirely on scaling recipe, packaging and initial focus groups.
case study 1 peas of cake
Case Study 1: Peas of Cake!
  • Sales within 5 months
  • Rapid growth company
  • Technical assistance in scaling, distribution and co-packing.
  • Found co-packer, graduated, went national
  • Recently featured in Specialty Food Magazine Press Release
  • Poised for continued growth in expanding industry.

Case Study 2: El Huarache Loco

  • Veronica Salazar began her business cooking authentic food from Mexico City out of her home in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.
  • At her home restaurant, she would sell about $200-$300 every day on the weekends.
  • Through a partnership with a business planning organization in SF, Veronica wrote a business plan and applied to La Cocina in late 2005.

Veronica began with catering and as she moved through the program began looking for low-capital launching pads for her food.

  • La Cocina created relationships with local farmers markets, and El Huarache Loco was the first La Cocina business to launch in this manner.
  • 2 years later, Veronica is averaging a little over $3,500/week in sales and employees 4 full-time staff.

Just look at the picture above to see Vero and her staff!


La Cocina Core Values

  • We support high-quality artisan food products. We prioritize and search for regionally authentic products and ‘hidden entrepreneurs’.
  • We embrace community outreach and participation
  • We cultivate and encourage good business practices (green business, local buying, organic, sustainable, fair trade, etc.).
  • We strive for economic self-sufficiency and empowerment through small business.

Money, Money, Money!

  • La Cocina’s annual budget is between $600 and $700,000 for the facility, all programs and all staff. We currently have 3 full-time staff and 2 part-time staff.
  • Of that money, roughly 60% comes from grants and foundations, 10% from city funds and individual donors and about 30% from internal program revenues.
  • Program participants pay an average of $13/hour to use the kitchen space and commercial users pay a minimum of $40/hour.
  • We expect to see our revenues rise over the next 2-5 years, though we are not aiming for self-sufficiency through kitchen revenue.

The Power of the Press

  • Build awareness not only of your organization but also of the businesses that you support.
  • Connect your businesses to the press and media opportunities that they will need to grow.
  • Work with your businesses to make sure that they tie back in to you. They are our greatest asset.