New year, new services!
Bronx CookSpace, WHEDco’s commercial kitchen incubator, has announced that, beginning in 2018, it will expand its services to streamline the kitchen experience for its tenants as part of a new program model. Bronx CookSpace is also developing a plan to make capital improvements and phase in new equipment, prioritizing projects based on health/safety concerns and energy savings.
The announcement comes after a careful assessment and planning process that began in the spring of 2017, when Bronx CookSpace participated in the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, an 8-week engagement that paired us with a team of financial services professionals to answer a strategic question. The Morgan Stanley team’s goal was to recommend how Bronx CookSpace could price our rental fees and technical assistance to better serve entrepreneurs while improving financial sustainability. As part of the collaborative project, Bronx CookSpace also surveyed kitchen tenants to learn more about the additional services they’d like to receive, and how we could better support the growth of their businesses.
The new services developed by Bronx CookSpace staff, combined with the variable pricing model recommended by Morgan Stanley, will allow Bronx CookSpace to realize its goals of more effectively developing the skills of low- and middle-income entrepreneurs, fostering small business development and job creation in the South Bronx, and transforming Bronx CookSpace into a fully sustainable, market-based social venture.
New services will include:
- More individualized attention and services. We’ve hired a new part-time Administrative Assistant, who will take over much of the day-to-day administration of the kitchen. This will allow our Kitchen Manager more time to spend with tenants, identifying new resources for all of our clients. Clients will also receive a regular newsletter with business resources, events, and opportunities.
- More control over booking and billing. We’ve created a new website that will allow clients to create an account, book kitchen time themselves, and pay online. We’ll post resources and upcoming events in the members-only section. Members will even be able to see profiles of other members and ask questions or share tips on our members-only message board!
- More opportunities to learn and network. One of the things we’ve heard consistently from clients is the desire to get to know other entrepreneurs working at Bronx CookSpace. While they’ll be able to contact each other online through the new member portal, we’re also going to plan more mixers, workshops and networking events. We’re also aiming to connect our clients to successful business owners, lenders, buyers and advisors.
- A new membership structure. Our new membership packages are based on the number of hours each tenant plans to rent each month: the more hours they book, the more they save per hour. The new membership packages are:
- Prep: for clients booking 5-19 hours per month, at $28/hour
- Line Cook: for clients booking 20-39 hours per month, at $26.50/hour – a 5% savings!
- Sous Chef: for clients booking 40-59 hours per month, at $25/hour – a 10% savings!
- Executive Chef: for clients booking 60 or more hours per month, at $24/hour – a 15% savings!
- New equipment. Bronx CookSpace is developing a plan to make capital improvements and phase in new equipment. We have prioritized projects based on health/safety concerns and energy savings, and will announce each phase in the future. We will also benefit from upgrades coming to the entire building, including new WiFi and HVAC.
Stay tuned for more details in the new year!
About Bronx CookSpace
Bronx CookSpace first opened in 2000 as the Urban Horizons Kitchen, a workforce training program and catering company. After years of working in the neighborhood and conducting community surveys, WHEDco saw that many community members supported their families by selling food products that they made at home, due to a lack of accessible, affordable commercial kitchen space. In 2010, it began operating as a fully-equipped commercial kitchen incubator, offering affordable kitchen space to new and existing small food businesses. Today, Bronx CookSpace serves food entrepreneurs from all over the City and the Tri-State Area – but we’re proud to say that 43% of our kitchen tenants are from the Bronx.