For years, I’ve thought that it would be such a novel concept for people to run businesses out of their homes, but the idea seemed too outlandish to be possible. Well, maybe not. In Riverside, California, a new bill has been passed that allows people to conduct business out of their homes, including restaurants. To me, this is a very interesting proposal that would open a lot of doors to people who might not otherwise have the means to lease a space in a pricy commercial business district.
We already know that home cooks and amateur chefs have been participating in under-the-radar home pop-ups throughout the country for years. These pop-ups have become very popular because 1) it’s something different 2) the costs can be more affordable 3) the diversity of food is appreciated 4) the home experience is considered more intimate.
The passage of this bill does not mean that it’s a free-for-all for home cooks and entrepreneurs to run amok. There are a number of rules and regulations that must be followed, many of which are broken down in this article.
In Buffalo, there are a number of ‘food deserts’ that are very worrisome, especially on the East Side. This home-oriented business concept would allow more people to readily access home-cooked meals in their immediate neighborhoods, while providing a base income for struggling households. Plus, with COVID-19 on the scene, the restaurant industry is already in a state of flux, which means that it’s a good time to reevaluate what the future of “dining out” beholds.
If you’re not sure about this new concept, then you’re not alone. It’s certainly controversial. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be considered, evaluated, and vetted. Stranger things have happened, although NY State would be a tough nut to crack.
At the same time, we’ve been conditioned to think that this is a crazy idea. Why? Because no one’s able to do it, so it can’t be done? ‘Concerts on porches’ wasn’t a thing until recently, and now Porchfests abound in Buffalo. Airbnb… Uber. People probably thought that the farm-to-table movement was not possible. Now it’s a way of life for Buffalonians.
It’s the forward thinking cities and states that embrace the ‘revolutionary’ concepts that will win in the end.
Just because we’ve been told ‘no’ over and over, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be asking questions and seeking answers. I would imagine that the answer from NY State would automatically be – it will be a can of worms, or a rabbit hole. That’s the easiest way out – don’t ruffle any feathers. Let’s get beyond the automatic responses and drill down on the possibilities and the opportunities.
NY State is going to need some inventive ways to recover from the pandemic, and this idea could be a great way to get Buffalo’s beloved culinary landscape back on track.
Lead image: Photo by Spencer Davis