Today's L.A.Times today wrote up another kind of recession business: Where culinary dreams take shape, The business in question here is a commercial kitchen for rent, mainly to start-ups who can't fund their own facility. In L.A. only food prepared in a certified kitchen is legal for sale, so such a place is all the more desireable:
There are dozens of stories behind the bowls and stoves and recipes at Chef's Kitchens, an incubator for food businesses. Stories of people shedding careers or adjusting to new and unexpected challenges. People with a dream and a cleverly decorated cookie or a family tamale recipe or the goal of owning a restaurant.In these bad times, the Chef's Kitchen owners are able to make money from people who are looking for a way to make money -- aspiring caterers, wannabe restaurant owners, would-be farmers' market sellers, hopeful suppliers to Whole Foods, etc. The optimistic kitchen renters probably manage to pay the rent as they go along, so the profits of the incubator don't require that the budding chefs' endeavors succeed.
Seems as if supporting peoples' hopes for success -- realistic or not -- leads to one of the only growth industries as people lose jobs, investments and real estate go bad, and so on. I admire the entrepreneurs who founded this business, as it's really completely honest, unlike many businesses that in fact prey on the newly desperate, or offer them unrealistic advice and unfounded optimism.
As the owner says: "You really need to not just be a good cook, but a good businessperson. ... People who think they are going to jump in and cook a few chocolate chip cookies and make a living at it are probably setting themselves up for failure."