Are you interested in the food industry? Want to start a food truck, use a commercial kitchen, or open up a restaurant? SBDC’s EATS program can take you closer to that goal! The program, which is offered at no cost to you, starts you off with developing your concept for the business all the way through establishing it.

Fresh Eyes Podcast

Episode 0: Fresh Eyes – A Teaser for Foodpreneurs

What do you get when an experienced, food industry consultant comes in to your restaurant or orders from your food truck or even listens to you pitch your ideas for a new packaged treat? A set of fresh eyes that know the industry, pitfalls, areas for cost savings, menus and packaging, growth opportunities, selling value and experience and most of all know, business.

Here, you’ll get that advice and more in light, entertaining episodes paired with a recipe and sprinkled with special guests ranging from food wholesalers, leasing experts, food bloggers, national restaurateurs and more!

Episode 1: Whatcha Got? Intro to Food Costing, Feasibility and Finding Your Market

The first Fresh Eyes episode launches with Greg scavenging in Rick’s fridge for “whatcha got.” Greg shows Rick how to whip up a delicious meal without leaving home (recipe included below) and talks food costs, feasibility and finding your market.

This whatcha got episode give you a sneak peek into not just a quick recipe for whatever you have in your fridge, it introduces you to whatcha need to be thinking about when starting a food-based business. Just like you’re scraping your fridge for any yummy additions to a meal at home, when you’re first starting out with your business, you don’t always have the luxury of knowing where to go to sell, how to start, what’s first or what to expect in terms of expenses or revenue. Greg lays it out, while Rick dishes some of these questions. Plus +  “the magic of rotisserie chicken” and second gen food.

Episode 2: Where Customer Service Begins

We’ve always heard the term “the customer is always right,” but how do you deal with a customer complaint before they get too upset? What separates the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Whether you’re a waiter, hostess, or owner, knowing how to reply to customer complaints is a skill that can’t be learned overnight.  In our second episode, Rick and Greg discuss tips on ensuring quality customer service and how to empower employees to go the extra mile for your guests. Rick plays a customer, and Greg pulls from his experience as a restauranteur in different scenarios to demonstrate how to appropriately respond to customers to keep them coming back for more.

SBDC EATS Presents "Cocineros"

The EATS program acts as a food incubator in where it cultivates the growth of entrepreneurship in the food industry via training and education across Orange County and the Inland Empire. The program provides support in business development as well as a team of specialists to aid entrepreneurs in launching their products in the marketplace. EATS’ central areas of focus that successfully foster clients into business operations include: workshops and seminars, business and technical assistance, access to a kitchen or food processing space, and access to the community food industry cluster. With this crash course, we will help you in developing your business idea to starting up your business in the food industry. EATS is a 4 class program and ends with a Graduation Fiesta Sale where you will be able to sell your products.

Offered in partnership between the 4th Street Market, the City of Santa Ana, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the OCIE SBDC Network. 

So What's on the Menu?

If you are looking to start a food truck, sell homemade cookies and pies or open a brick and mortar restaurant? Then this is the program for you! At no cost, this series will take you from creating your concept to starting your business and everything in between. Consider this a crash course on becoming a foodpreneur!

25 people will be selected based on an interview process.



Why Participate In EATS?

It’s Food Industry Focused

Unlike other startup educational programs, EATS is focused solely on the food-related businesses

Learn From Real Experts With Real Experience

All EATS program instructors have years of real world experience working in and operating successful food businesses

Know Your Costs Upfront – The Art Of Financial Forecasting

EATS will help you make a business plan that you can use to determine your monthly operating expenses before you open

Build Better Timelines To Help Manage Your Expectations

You’ll get a clear timeline of how long each phase of opening your business will actually take

Avoid Permit Issues Before They’re An Issue

EATS can help your city inspectors before you file for permits so you can correct any problems beforehand

Support From Soup To Nuts

EATS will give you support from the planning stages through the actual opening and ribbon-cutting of your food business

Program Main Courses

Program Curriculum

Class 1 – Cottage Food, Commercial Kitchen, Food Truck, Brick and Mortar, what is the right choice for me?

Class 2 – Building and planning for your Business

Class 3 – Creating, Costing and Pricing your Products

Class 4 – Sourcing and Selling your products

Graduation Fiesta Sale

Register for our Upcoming Programs



This is a hands-on program where participants learn to start their business and use a commercial kitchen space. At the end of the course certified and permitted participants will have the opportunity to sell their products in the courtyard Sunday, April 19th.



St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church
31641 La Novia Ave
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

March 25-April 25, 2020, every Wednesday

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

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