Frequently Asked Questions

A legal entity is required by New York State to identify all the businesses in its jurisdiction. Businesses that are caught operating illegally are fined and can have their businesses halted.

We suggest investigating either a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Corporation (Inc.). While there are other choices available, we recommend that food businesses look into these two because they provide legal protection for your personal assets. For further clarification on the differences between an LLC and Inc., feel free to search online, work with one of our business counselors for free, or seek an attorney/ accountant. The QEDC has a recorded webinar on the differences on their online video library, which can be accessed by clicking here: https://videos.queensny.org/videos/?mode=private
Publication of the LLC refers to the requirement of registering an LLC in NYS where you publish your LLC formation in two newspapers for six weeks. The reason for this is to provide formal notification that you have registered a business in this specific name. To complete this process, you can reach out to your county clerk’s office or search for registered agents online. Corporations have no publication requirement.
The Corporation is a legal entity that is recognized by NYS. It means that you are legally registered to do business here. An S-corp (short for S-corporation) is a special tax status that you can elect for your existing corporation. An S-corp status has its own unique tax benefits, but to elect your business as such, you need to register a business legally first. For more information, you can speak with an accountant.

You can register using any of the following methods:

  • QEDC business counselors – make an appointment with a business counselor who specializes in business registration through the website https://queensny.org/appointments/ sessions are FREE
  • Online registration services – hire an online service to register for you but read the fine print!
  • Attorney – hire a lawyer to file for you

If the Delaware entity is doing business in New York, it has to:

  • Register with the Corporations Division
  • Go through the publication process (corporations have no publication requirement)
  • Register with the NYS Dept of Taxation & Finance

Any foreign entity–LLC, corporation, partnership–that’s doing business in New York must do the same.

The Certificate of Authority gives you the right to collect tax on your taxable sales and to issue and accept most New York State sales tax exemption certificates. Generally, the seller collects the tax from the purchaser and remits it to New York State. You must register with the Tax Department at least 20 days before you begin business. New York State will then send you a Certificate of Authority which must be available at all times. You can check to see if your product is taxable by visiting the NYS Dept of Taxation and Finance website. There is no filing fee associated with this certificate. Even if your product is nontaxable, you must apply for this.

One of our Business Counselors who specializes in registering a business can help you. Use the link to book an appointment: https://queensny.org/appointments/ Assistance in registering is free. You can also apply for the certificate yourself by clicking here: https://www.tax.ny.gov/bus/st/register.htm

INSURANCE

A legal entity is required by New York State to identify all the businesses in its jurisdiction. Businesses that are caught operating illegally are fined and can have their businesses halted.

  • Business owners’ policy (BOP) which covers you and your business.
  • All manufactured products must have a Product Liability Policy which covers mishaps that occur during the manufacturing process.
  • Worker’s Compensation and Disability is a requirement for any business bringing in staff who is not an owner. This includes paid and unpaid staff (volunteers, interns, family, friends, etc).

For our kitchen application, you will apply for this insurance AFTER your application has been approved.

Below is a list of brokers we have worked with. These brokers are third party and have no financial affiliation with us. You can go to your own broker as well.


Susan Combs, Combs and Co. Scombs@CombsAndCo.com 646-736-3737
Bob Bleistein, SB insurance Group BobB@ClassicCoverage.com 631-422-8585
Fran or Denise Frayman, JFA Insurance Sales@JFAinsurance.com 718-767-4040
Jessica Doskocz Marshall Sterling JDoskocz@marshallsterling.com 518-587-1342 Ext. 1014

LICENSING

This depends on your product and how you sell it.

Please do not apply for any license until you have been approved to be a client of our kitchen, and we will complete this together.

 

  • You will fall under the NYC Department of Health if you sell direct-to-consumer for immediate consumption (caterer, restaurant, food markets, etc.).
  • You would fall under the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets if the greater portion of your revenue is from wholesale, internet-based, or shipped products.
  • All food businesses must be registered with the FDA after licensing.

This is not an actual license. The FDA requires you to register the products you are producing and your production site. You can register with the FDA by clicking here: https://www.fda.gov/food/guidance-regulation-food-and-dietary-supplements/registration-food-facilities-and-other-submissions

Yes, you can have more than one production facility, however, you would need to apply for a separate license for each facility.

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene mandates at least one person onsite at a food establishment to be certified as a Food Protection Manager. Food establishments must have at least one certified Food Protection Manager during production hours. All owners are encouraged to have all of their employees to educate themselves on best food handling practices to prevent food borne illnesses.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF KITCHENS

  • Any frozen dessert products
  • Any meat products NOT sold direct to the consumer for immediate consumption
  • Certified kosher products
  • Certified gluten free (with qualifications)
  • Certified organic (with qualifications)
  • Products containing CBD or THC
  • Products containing alcohol, where the alcohol weighs more than 0.5% of your product’s total volume (Question # 19)
  • One-time-use only, i.e., clients that need to use kitchen for a single occasion. Our contracts have a one-year term.
  • Ghost Kitchen model: we cannot accommodate clients requiring a ghost kitchen model

NYS Agriculture and Markets oversees the manufacture of all frozen desserts (ice cream, frozen juices, etc.). It must be done in a dairy-approved kitchen owned by the manufacturer.

Yes, but if the amount of alcohol exceeds more than 0.5% of your total product’s volume, the product cannot be made in our kitchen. Your product must be made in a distillery that has additional rules and regulations from the State Liquor Authority (SLA).

Not yet, legislation regarding licensing for CBD & THC is still being hashed out. This information is subject to change, please check back.

It is a facility inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. If you plan on selling meat; poultry; game wholesale (selling to a restaurant or third party) you must manufacture at a USDA facility.

MAKING A JARRED PRODUCT

With very few exceptions, if you are making a product that is packaged in a jar or container (i.e., sauces, marinades, juices, hummus), you will be required to have a process review. A scheduled process is your recipe and manufacturing procedure, which has been written by you and approved by a recognized process authority.

There are many places to get a scheduled process review. Here is one facility:
https://cornell.app.box.com/v/NECFEGuide/file/740908866440

If you are making a product that contains acid and/or is fermented, such as a hot sauce or vinegar, you need to take the acidified product course.

Courses are given around the country, with different dates and pricing; you can find a course that works for you by googling: “acidified product course” You can also use the following link:
https://estore.uga.edu/C27063_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=5999

MARKETING

Not yet. You are not legally required to have this panel on your label until you have more than $50,000 of annual food sales. For complete information, you can review the FDA ruling here:
https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/small-business-nutrition-labeling-exemption-guidance

We want to make sure that you are able to make money. We ask that you take a single recipe with all of the costs associated with the item including all of the ingredients, the label, cap, and bottle, multiply that by 3 for wholesale pricing and then double that price for retail pricing. Please use our counselor Charles Antonucci http://www.queensny.org/appointments

Find 5 products in your product category. The products do not have to be exactly like yours but one that someone might buy if they could not find your product. List where you found it, how it is packaged, the size/quantity in the package, department in the store, price, and what marketing terms are used to describe the product. This will help you determine what makes your product different and let you know what pricing is warranted for your category.

The first thing people do when they are interested in your product is to google your brand or product. Having a strong and coherent online presence gives you visibility, credibility and gives you the opportunity to tell your story to multiple people at once. This can be your website or social media.

Some packaging requires additional requirements by the licensing agencies. Some packaging would not be permitted. We want to understand your desired packaging so we can discuss it with the licensing agencies.

Yes, all packaged goods must contain certain information. The nutritional facts panel is not required in the beginning. Before printing anything. Please contact us (tours.EntrepreneurSpace@gmail.com) and we will send you a PDF outline of approved labeling requirements.

OPERATIONS

Many perks come with being a contracted business at the Incubator.

  • Registering to become a member of the MIQ (Made In Queens) program where there are special popups and retail opportunities
  • Receiving weekly eblasts with timely information on sales opportunities; grants; webinars of interest; important information on trends.
  • Being able to reach the Managing Consultant or Client Services Manager with specific questions to help you grow your business
  • Special grant programs to assist you in marketing your business
  • Additional social media postings-when you send us information about your news we will add that to our facebook or instagram account.

We base the deposit on your estimated monthly usage of the kitchen (production shifts + storage needs). The minimum deposit is $1,000.

You get your deposit back when you are ready to leave The Entrepreneur Space, assuming that you have fulfilled all the requirements of the contract and have no outstanding balance.

We ask you to dress appropriately for working in the kitchen- proper footwear (no open-toe shoes and/or sandals, no flip flops) – shoes that will protect you from something heavy falling on your foot, or a knife that slips out of your hand and hits your shoe (crocs and/or clogs are a good choice). Your hair must be covered at all times – either with a hat that allows you to tuck your hair completely underneath the cap, or a hairnet. We supply you with hairnets should you not have a suitable cap, or you just forget to bring a cap/hat. Men with beards will be asked to wear a hairnet stretched from ear-to-ear. Men who do not have hair are also required to put on a hairnet. Due to the pandemic, everyone must currently wear a mask.

Gloves, saran wrap, tin foil, containers, knives, ingredients, special equipment, small wares, rags, locked bins if you have product in shared spaces

Anyone over the age of 18 can work with you in the kitchen. Please remember anyone who works for you (paid or unpaid) needs to be under your workman’s compensation and disability policy.

Our Covid regulations allows for 6 people to be in the kitchen with you during your shift.

If they have a food handlers’ certificate that’s great, but we require the owner and whoever is the lead in the kitchen to have the certificate.

Our policy is never to be more than 75% occupied. This gives us the flexibility to accept new foodpreneurs and to accommodate your shift needs as they change.

Depending on what it is, the voltage, and the type of the equipment. This is at the discretion of our managing consultant. We will do our best to accommodate you.

Yes, we have a culinary assistant on duty at all times while you are in the kitchen. They will be available to teach you how to use our equipment, whether it is a mixer, an oven, or a grinder. You will never be alone in our kitchens while you work your shift.

Please go to our applications tab. All the details are there.

Once you become a client, you are given the link to our online read-only calendar. You will schedule this with the managing consultant.

We rent by the shift only. Kitchen shift time ranges between 6.5 hours to 8 hours. We do not do “half shifts” or split them with other clients. Please review the tab which says “About Us” to review the kitchen descriptions, shifts and rates.

We have space available in our storage areas, refrigerators, and freezers. Storage price is based on the amount of space available and will be determined at contract signing.

Yes. One parking spot is available to each client that works in their kitchen shift. For additional cars, limited street parking is available. Carpooling or public transportation is best.

Yes, there is a coat rack in our hallway just before you enter the kitchen. A health department rule does not allow purses, backpacks, shopping bags, umbrellas, etc. from being brought into your kitchen station. There are daily lockers available for your use. Bring your own locks.

You do not have to be present on the day that your supplies are delivered. Plan on having your supplies delivered the day before your shift. One of our culinary assistants will accept your supplies and store them in the proper locations – cold, frozen, or dry labelled with your name. There is a $5 charge for this service which includes 12 hours of storage. Your COMPANY name must be on the delivery bill of lading. Without your company name we will not know who it belongs to and will refuse it.

Please try and avoid this as more than likely; the next client will be patiently waiting to get into the kitchen to do their shift right after you leave. During your shift, the culinary assistants will be monitoring the activities of the clients to make sure that you will be able to finish your production on time. One hour before your shift is over, a culinary assistant will check in with you to make sure whatever needs to be done can be finished within the one-hour limit.

Health department regulations do not allow you to eat or drink at your station while you are working. You should consider taking a break at some point in your production to use our air-conditioned breakroom. Sitting down to eat and/or drink something will actually energize you as you go back to work at your station.

No, you may not hire the CA’s privately or for more than the 2 hours which is included in what you pay for a shift. During each shift you work you will receive assistance from our trained CA’s to help you use the machines properly, pack your products, chop vegetables even wash dishes. The CA’s have a great deal of experience and will be happy to share tips to facilitate your production. You determine the time you need them within the allowable hours. They will discuss this with you at the start of each shift.