NORWICH, Kan. (KSNW) – Licensed restaurant owners striving to stay in business have had get creative, offering curbside services, delivery, and some turning their homes into their work kitchens.
Selling food from a residence or home as a business requires more than scrubbing counters, prepping recipes, and firing up the oven. It also requires the right paperwork.
Judie Balzer owns and operates Cheaper by the Dozen in Norwich. She and husband Buck began by making baked goods around 2016 as a cheerleading fundraiser one of their 12 children which soon blossomed into a full-time business.
After overwhelming demands and requests for meal items from customers, the Balzer’s wanted to be sure the business was operating within the law. Judie took steps forward and submitted her application along with a check for business licensing. That same day the business just happened to receive a visit from a health inspector.
“She’s like ‘oh you’re gonna have to shut down’ and you know it’s a little intimidating,” said Balzer. “I was like, I just actually took the paperwork to the mail. I can go get it. I’ll bring it to you!
Though the inspector could not take Balzers payment, she did help the family make strides in the right direction to get their business matters in order.
“She was super helpful. She’s like, ‘here’s what you need to do’ and told us all about configuring the kitchen and all the different requirements that we needed,’ said Judie. “So it actually kind of helped us that we were tuned in for not having a license.”
Heather Landsdowne, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, says the situation isn’t uncommon and that health inspectors are there to inform and educate more than reprimand and fine.
“Our goal is always to do everything that we can so that anyone who’s serving food to consumers is minimizing any risk to those consumers for foodborne illness,” Landsdowne told KSN. “I think there are a lot of people who aren’t intending to break the rules, aren’t intending to bypass the law. They’re intending to just be helpful for their community and their friends.”