Resources

Useful Links & Forms to Become a Part of the Cooking Station Indy Family

Before diving into the world of entrepreneurship, it's crucial to choose and register your business name and entity. Ensure your desired business name isn't already taken by conducting a thorough search on the INBiz website. Additionally, check the availability of your desired social media handle and website domain name. Namechk is a useful tool for this task. When it comes to selecting a business entity, consider options like sole proprietorships, LLCs, and co-ops, depending on your circumstances. Consulting with a business attorney can help you make the right decision. Register your business entity online through the INBiz website.

Starting a food business requires more than just passion and good food. It involves careful planning and taking the proper legal steps to ensure long-term success. Begin with a well-thought-out business plan, which can serve as a roadmap for your business and a valuable tool for securing funding. Your plan should include details about your business entity type, concept, budget, marketing strategy, target market, location, menu, pricing, and staffing plans. Utilize online business plan templates tailored to the food industry to get started.

Separating your personal finances from your business finances is essential for managing your taxes and expenses efficiently. Open a separate checking account and, if necessary, a separate credit card strictly for business purposes. This separation can help you build your business credit, which may be beneficial for securing business loans in the future. Lastly, utilize available resources to help you start and grow your business. INBiz, the Indiana Small Business Development Center, SCORE Indianapolis, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce are valuable resources offering free business counseling, training, and more.

Insurance is another critical aspect of starting a food business. Consider obtaining general liability insurance, auto insurance for business vehicles, workers' compensation insurance, and mobile food vendor insurance, depending on your business's needs. For The Cooking Station Indy, providing a Certificate of Insurance for $1 million in general liability, including product liability, is required. The Cooking Station Indy recommends working with local insurance advisors, such as Adam Murray with Capital Insurance or Shirley Rivera with www.hittleinsurance.com, to secure the necessary coverage.

Registering for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is recommended, as it can facilitate various aspects of your business, including opening a business bank account and managing taxes. You can easily obtain an EIN online through the IRS website. Next, ensure you have the necessary licenses and certifications to legally operate your food business. Key requirements include a Food Protection Manager Certification, a food license to make and sell food, and a resale license to purchase ingredients at wholesale prices. Contact the Marion County Health Department for specific licensing and certification details.

Vendor must submit the following, along with a signed application, before selling at the market:

  1. Permit to operate your food truck in Marion County (through Marion County Public Health Department) Visit marionhealth.org/programs/environmental-health/food-and-consumer-safety-2/ for more information. Food Trucks Only
  2. Temporary Retail Food Establishment Permit (submit application to Indiana State Department of Health) - Food Vendors selling Potentially Hazardous and/or Non Pre-Packaged Foods, Non Home-Based Vendors, and Vendors who will be offering samples at the Statehouse Market.
  3. Certificate of Insurance for your business
  4. Certificate of Insurance for your vehicle
  5. Registered Retail Merchant Certificate (through the Indiana Department of Revenue) if selling taxable items. Visit in.gov/dor/business-tax/sales-tax/ for more information.
  6. All applicable fees.

You can learn more about ServSafe certifications here.

Once completed, email the application to [email protected].

ALL KITCHEN TOUR REQUESTS MUST BE DONE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

The Cooking Station Indy Application 2024
The Cooking Station Indy Spanish Application 2024 (2)

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