Food Business Incubator Program

Food Business Incubator

The Food Business Incubator Program offers technical assistance and other resources to food businesses in Cambridge, with a focus on women- and minority-owned businesses as well as first-time food entrepreneurs. The program helps Cambridge food entrepreneurs strengthen and grow their business through low-, or no-cost opportunities.

The Food Business Incubator Program currently includes the following opportunities:

The Cambridge Food Truck Program allows first-time food entrepreneurs to test branding, menu ideas, and business concepts before making larger-scale investments by providing low-cost public space for food truck vending. For vending and application information, visit cambridgema.gov/FoodTruckProgram

The Food Business Workshop Series offers professional training tailored to the needs of new or early stage food business owners and offers expertise on timely topics in the modern food business landscape.

2019/2020 Food Business Workshop Series

Food business owners and entrepreneurs are encouraged to enroll in as many workshops as are relevant for their business needs. Registration is required for workshop participation, and class size is limited. Priority will be given to Cambridge residents and businesses, participants in the Cambridge Food Truck Program, and women and minority-owned food businesses. All workshops are free to participants.

The following workshops will be offered fall 2019 through spring 2020:

ServSafe Certification Training

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Location: Cambridge Public Library Main Branch, 449 Broadway
Community Room (Level L2)
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
note: this course includes a training and testing session and some students may require less time for the testing portion.

ServSafe Certification training is a common and important requirement for food service employees. Food businesses ranging from brick-and-mortar operations to food truck operators and specialty caterers are all required to produce proof of ServSafe Certification for many activities in Cambridge. This two-part workshop offers attendees the opportunity to take an in-person ServSafe training module and then a ServSafe test administered by paper and led by an experienced ServSafe trainer. This training is ideal for first-time food businesses looking to do catering or pop-up markets in Cambridge. Translation services can be made available upon request.

To register for ServSafe Certification Training now, fill out our online form.

Food Business Financials

Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Location: City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 4th Floor Conference Room
Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Attendees will learn all elements of a Profit and Loss Statement, how to analyze financial information and how to make business decisions to improve financial performance.  Attendees will be given tools and approaches to help review company-specific financial history and performance.  Attendees will learn industry standards (Expense Ratios, Cost Accounting Best Practices) and associated best practices for basic and exceptional financial performance for a restaurant. This training will be led by ReThink Restaurants, a leader in financial literacy and leadership development who has worked with such restaurants as Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Juliet, and Bar Mezzana. This workshop is ideal for early stage business owners or established businesses interested is staff development. Spanish-speaking presenter will be available to co-host.

To register for Food Business Financials now, fill out our online form.

Beyond Brick-and-Mortar

Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Location: City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Many food businesses increase their resilience and odds of success by incorporating other sales channels to supplement revenue and make the most out of space. This workshop will provide an overview of these alternatives, including benefits and pitfalls to look out for, and will offer take-home templates for how to evaluate an opportunity. Time will be spent discussing items including but not limited to: pop-up locations, partnerships with non-food companies, delivery services and 3rd party caterers, and e-commerce. This workshop will be led by Commonwealth Kitchen, Greater Boston’s leading commercial kitchen incubator and accelerator, which supports food businesses through their membership commercial kitchen space and expert trainings.

Hiring for Food Businesses

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Location: City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 4th Floor Conference Room
Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Offers attendees insights into good hiring practices that can best position their business for growth. Attendees will learn and discuss how to create healthy cultures that attract great people, how to define their vision as it relates to the character and competitiveness of your team, how to screen and interview potential employees, and how to manage onboarding and team development.


Note: Please check this webpage for last-minute scheduling changes, as workshops may be cancelled or postponed due to inclement weather of lack of participants. If you have questions about workshop status, call CDD's Economic Development Division at 617/349-4601.

For additional business workshops offered through CDD’s Economic Development Division visit cambridgema.gov/SmallBizWorkshops

For More Information

For more information about the Food Business Incubator Program and starting a food business in Cambridge, contact Christina DiLisio, Associate Economic Development Specialist, at cdilisio@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4601.