Opening a restaurant without a permit as a business strategy

“I decided to open it as a pop-up without the proper permitting, and it really took off,” he said. “And it became a question — do we want to stop for 4-6 months to get fully permitted, or see how far we can take it until we outgrow our space?”

This seems part and parcel in the age of do it yourself hustling. Technology is gradually replacing all the ancillary services once needed by entrepreneurs to support their businesses. Desktop publishing meant everyone could become their own graphic artist, or at least act like one. No need to hire somone to do your menu layout, flyers, or signage. Now, the internet has supplanted traditional media to get the word out about your pop-up, comedy show, improv troupe, dogwalking service, whatever. Also, the ‘uber-fication’ of ambition. Screw the rules, get your stuff out there. If you’re good enough (or powerful enough) the slap on the wrist you’ll get is just a cost of doing business.

Recently, it seems that all 50 states now have explicit rules to permit ‘cottage food businesses’, that is, folks that make food in their private home and sell it commercially, on a small-ish scale. I wonder if some of these issues could be avoided by going this route, and building a following that way, rather than this blatant flouting of guidelines, which isn’t a big deal in this instance, but bugs me in principle.

The main way June’s Pizza promoted itself was by opening next to Soba Ichi.

In California, what you can sell with a cottage food permit is limited to specific shelf-stable products, not really a pathway to a restaurant.

California’s home restaurant law makes more sense as a startup path, but it has only been implemented in two? counties to date, and is limited to 30 meals a day, 60 meals a week, and $50,000 a year total sales.