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Incubator Kitchen and Program Manager

Location: Grand Rapids Downtown Market


Thank you for submitting your application for employment with the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. This is a full-time, exempt position.

Submission Guidelines

Applications, resumes and letters of recommendation will only be accepted online through completion of this application. We will not consider any candidates or review any materials that are submitted via walk-in, phone, fax or email.


The Downtown Market Incubator Kitchen is a shared use commercial kitchen designed to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale their food businesses. The Incubator Kitchen and Program Manager manages the overall operations and programs of the Incubator Kitchen.



  • Oversight of kitchen including equipment, security and access.
  • Ensure compliance with all federal, state, and local codes specific to facility and tenant licensing.
  • Maintain scheduling, reservation, storage rental, records and payment systems.
  • Identify and implement operational and process improvements.
  • Manage budget and ensure monthly budget projections are met or exceeded.
  • Identify programmatic and capital funding opportunities and develop funding proposals.
  • Manage tenant application process, tours and onboarding.
  • Clean and deep clean kitchen equipment and kitchen facility as needed.
  • Ensure equipment is properly working and schedule equipment repair and maintenance.
  • Ensure tenant understanding of kitchen operations, safety and maintenance.
  • Enforce tenant sanitary food handling methods, tenant cleaning, and kitchen use policies and procedures.


  • Mentor incubator businesses through industry experience and connections.
  • Provide tenants access to business support services and technical assistance through partner connections.
  • Cultivate and execute robust and innovative service offerings, including educational curriculum, programs, and events.
  • Ensure effective programming designed to have an economic impact on the local food economy.
  • Track and report program data.
  • Work in conjunction with Marketing Department to develop and implement a marketing and public relations plan to promote kitchen tenancy and programs and events.


  • Facilitate and participate in outreach efforts designed to strategically target new tenancy.
  • Maintain, nurture, and develop industry and key partner relationships
  • Leverage entrepreneurial and business community to create new opportunities and support channels.
  • Participate in Michigan Incubator Kitchen Network.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, those listed above. As with every other job at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, every person in the organization will assist in any way necessary to respond to new demands and to assure a cooperative work environment.

Success will be measured in part by the following:

  • Ability to provide access to business support services.
  • Achieve utilization rates of 50% in year 2, 60% in year 3, 70% in year 4 and 80% in year 5.
  • Continue to seek funding to support 100% of programmatic costs.

Year One Goals

  • Create formalized incubator program designed to assist start-up and early stage food businesses with the goal of improving their chances to grow into healthy, sustainable businesses. The incubator program model will include an application and enrollment process, participant acceptance through vetting of qualified applicants, a pre-incubation period with technical assistance offerings in areas that include product marketing, operations and finance, an incubation period that offers affordable opportunities for food business to grow, a graduation process that includes incubation benchmarks, and an alumni program that includes continued use of kitchen facilities.
  • Launch, manage and execute the programs of Culinary Conversations, a food entrepreneur meet-up program, in coordination with our key partners.

Education, Skills and Abilities

  • Bachelor's degree in relevant field
  • Highly organized with excellent time and space management skills
  • At least 2 years of professional kitchen experience and/or culinary training
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills, including presentation and public speaking skills
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and work in a fast-paced environment
  • Flexibility, creativity and capacity to work both independently and collaboratively
  • Excellent computer skills, including MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and database management
  • A passion for great food and a willingness to taste anything
  • Capacity to be a “tough-minded optimist,” always acting to solve problems with energy and a positive attitude
  • Strong commitment to the mission of the Downtown Market

Industry Knowledge and Experience

Must have a working knowledge of the following areas:

  • Business Startup Needs
  • Michigan Food Code and Michigan Food Law
  • SOP’s, HACCP Plans, and Recall Planning
  • Food Licensing, Safety Training, Packaging, Pricing, Labeling and Shelf Life
  • Certification Processes (Organic, Fair Trade, Non-GMO)
  • Wholesale and Retail Markets, Brokers and Distribution Channels
  • Growth Opportunities, Strategies, and Scaling
  • Business and Marketing plans



  • This full-time exempt position includes:
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Short Term Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Paid Time Off
  • 401(k)
  • Paid Employee Parking

What else do you get? Well, this is how much we value this position…

  • Team-building activities year-round.
  • Free culinary and beverage classes.
  • Individual professional development and growth plan.
  • Participation in employer supported healthy living challenges
  • Mad Cap Coffee on demand!
  • Super fun place to work everyday....lots and lots of delicious food options!

Work Environment

The Downtown Market is a professional office. While the atmosphere is to reflect the spirit of fun and excitement, professional conduct, communication and responsibility to job functions is maintained at all times. All employees are subject to background check and drug screening.