By Jake Nieto, Analyst
Following the acquisition of a two-story commercial building, the City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) retained RSG to conduct market research, evaluate financial feasibility, and make recommendations on the conversion of the property into a culinary arts and kitchen incubator in the neighborhood of Pacoima in Los Angeles. The culinary arts and kitchen incubator was intended to assist local culinary entrepreneurs and support residents by providing access to a commercial kitchen space and business services to kitchen users at variable rates, with some kitchen users qualifying for reduced rates if they meet certain eligibility criteria. Food incubators and shared kitchens are more prominent near downtown, where 17 such kitchens were in operation at the time of our study, but none were in the Valley.
RSG evaluated national studies, analyzed industry trends, and conducted interviews with food incubators and shared kitchen operators to determine best practices, develop a financial feasibility model, and provide operational recommendations that considered the market and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommended actions included how to 1) recruit and vet kitchen users, 2) incorporate the guidance of local public officials and public agencies, 3) select a kitchen incubator operator, and 4) provide oversight and evaluation of the Project and operator. Our findings were presented to EWDD staff in January 2021, who are expected to proceed with an RFP for selection of an operating partner on this project.