The amount required to start a soup kitchen in the United States is not uniform. As a matter of fact, a social entrepreneur may start a soup kitchen with no money and still grow the organization to become successful.
Also, you can choose to invest over $150,000 to set up a soup kitchen. The bottom line is that you can work with whatever budget you have and still establish your soup kitchen.
However, it is important to note that there are certain important factors that can determine the amount it will cost you to successfully start a soup kitchen, and that is what we will discuss in this article.
Factors That Determine the Cost of Opening a Soup Kitchen
The Type of Soup Kitchen
One of the major factors that can determine the amount it will cost you to start a soup kitchen is the type of soup kitchen you want to start. You can decide to start a soup kitchen from your home, from a bar, a restaurant, or a shop facility.
The truth is that it is far cheaper to start a soup kitchen from your home than from a bar, a restaurant, or a commercial kitchen facility.
As a matter of fact, the cost of renting and equipping either a bar, a restaurant, or a commercial kitchen facility will be what will consume the bulk of your budget.
The Location You Want to Start the Soup Kitchen
There are cities that are pretty expensive to start and run a business, while there are also cities that are way cheaper to start a business.
For example, it will cost you more to start a soup kitchen in New York City, New York when compared to Silver City, New Mexico.
Factors such as the amount required to rent or lease a facility, the cost of labor, and of course other utility costs are different and significant.
The Cost of Equipping Your Soup Kitchen
If you have plans to start a standard soup kitchen, it means that you are required to rent and equip either a bar, a restaurant, or a commercial kitchen facility.
Aside from getting comfortable furniture such as stools, couches, sofas, tables, and shelves et al, you will also need electronics such as flat-screen televisions, sound systems, and perhaps a public address system.
When it comes to your working equipment, you will need to purchase grills and griddles, deep fryers, food preparation stations, refrigeration and freezers, bun toasters, holding cabinets, food processors and blenders,
Utensils and cookware (spatulas, tongs, knives, cutting boards, pans, pots, baking sheets, and other items necessary for cooking, serving, and food preparation), and dishwashing stations et al.
Trust me, all these items especially as it relates to the type, quantity, and brand you settle for will greatly influence the overall cost of starting your soup kitchen.
The Number of Staff or Volunteers You Want to Recruit
If you choose to start a standard soup kitchen, then you must make plans to recruit and train key employees and volunteers who will occupy different roles in your organization.
Basically, you should make plans to recruit a manager, an accountant or cashier, cooks or chefs, servers, fundraiser and grant officers, and kitchen staff.
As expected, the budget for recruiting and training your employees and volunteers is going to be a significant portion of your budget.
The Cost of Obtaining the Needed Licenses and Permits
The cost of obtaining the needed licenses and permits is yet another major factor that can determine how much it will cost you to start your soup kitchen.
The fact that different states require different types of licenses and permits means that your budget will be determined by the state you want to start your soup kitchen.
You should budget for Nonprofit Status (a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity), a Food Service Permit, Health and Safety, Permit, Liquor license, Zonal Permits,
Signage Permit, Operational State Facility Inspections, and a live entertainment license if you want to provide live musicians or offer dancing or karaoke, etc.
Your Ongoing Expenses
The fact that starting and running any business including a soup kitchen requires ongoing expenses means that it is a cost that should be budgeted for right from the onset.
To start a soup kitchen, you should have a budget for regular maintenance and repair of equipment; packaging, and supplies such as bowls, cups, lids, utensils, napkins, cleaning supplies, and condiments; food ingredients, and for utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and internet services.
Just like your ongoing expenditure, the amount you are expected to spend on your miscellaneous expenses is unique to you and your business.
Although there is no one mold fits all when it comes to miscellaneous expenses for a soup kitchen, an entrepreneur may decide to include the cost of hiring and paying a grant writer, fundraiser, and attorney, the cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the soup kitchen,
The cost for logistics and outreach costs, the cost of the purchase and customizing of uniforms for employees and volunteers, and the cost for the grand opening of the soup kitchen as part of your miscellaneous expenses.