Solano County legalized home food popups. But 6 months later, chefs still can’t sell

When Solano County approved a new California law that would legalize home-based kitchen operations in April, it seemed like Cheska Kistner’s plans to open a restaurant in her Benicia home would finally come to fruition. The measure, California’s AB 626, allows for what are known as microenterprise food businesses, which Alameda County also made inroads toward legalizing yesterday. But no Bay Area county has yet fully implemented the 2018 law, leaving entrepreneurs like Kistner in limbo.

Under AB 626, cooks can legally sell up to 30 meals a day or 60 per week from their homes when their counties opt in and they have received a permit; their annual gross sales are capped at $50,000. The law has only been implemented in one county so far, Riverside. In Alameda County, many home kitchen operations have proliferated during the pandemic without the option to get proper permitting, leading to the health department cracking down on some.

Solano County is one of the furthest along in the Bay Area, even though the coronavirus pandemic caused officials to delay in-home inspections and permitting until shelter-at-home orders are lifted. What many people thought would be a short delay has lasted six months – and counting.

For Kistner, a personal chef and caterer on and off for nearly 30 years, that means waiting to expand her business beyond the current small number of carry-out orders she makes for family, friends and clients. She would like to recreate the model of her Philippines restaurant, Bale Ku Café, which means “my house” in her local dialect and is operated out of a home. Her Asian fusion dishes — including japchae, with sweet potato noodles and ribeye steak, and ningnang manuk, a grilled chicken and rice dish — generally cost $25 and feed two to three people.

With so many suffering financially during the pandemic, proponents say there couldn’t be a better time to launch the program.

“There are people who need to work, who want to work,” says Matthew Butler, a Vallejo cook who wants to start a home restaurant business. “This would definitely be a viable option for a lot of people.”

Home kitchen entrepreneur Cheska Kistner makes food at her home in Benicia, Calif., on Monday, October 12, 2020. Kistner is among an estimated 100 entrepreneurs waiting for Solano County to finish implementing a law that would allow them to establish legal home kitchen businesses.

Butler has spent the last 10 or so years catering parties and corporate events after working at restaurants throughout Solano and Contra Costa counties. That all came to a halt once the pandemic hit. While he has found catering work with a chef friend still servicing clients, he envisions creating his own home-based restaurant called Vondi’s, in honor of his late mother, where he would sell his Mediterranean braised beef with garlic mashed potatoes and Korean-style pork chops with bok choy. The only other food options in his neighborhood are fast food and burrito trucks, and he thinks it could represent a new revenue stream, especially with his kids at home distance learning.

To Supervisor Monica Brown, it is this type of caregiver scenario that initially seemed like a perfect fit for AB 626.

“When a constituent came and brought this forward, my first

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‘Dark kitchen’ chain works with local restaurants to sell over food delivery apps

The coronavirus has left many restaurants struggling as the pandemic forced them to temporarily close their doors and still has many operating at a lower capacity than normal.

Owners are looking for ways to bring in more revenue. Fast-casual Asian chain Wow Bao has one idea: open their restaurant inside an existing restaurant as a delivery-only “dark kitchen” eatery.

Wow Bao, which serves up steamed bao, potstickers, dumplings, rice and noodle bowls, announced on Wednesday that it has added 100 locations in just six months by partnering with other restaurants. Its food is offered via third-party delivery services like UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar.

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Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of Wow Bao, said the company came up with the partnership plan last November.

“Although we didn’t envision this initiative as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to say our dark kitchen platform is assisting operators to help pay rent and employ staff in order to survive this difficult time,” Alexander said in a press release.


Wow Bao isn’t the only “virtual restaurant” to take advantage of the proliferation of meal delivery services during the pandemic. Chuck E. Cheese has been selling pizza under the name Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on Grubhub. An increasing number of eateries operate “ghost kitchens,” renting out kitchen space to other restaurants or adding other restaurant brands to its offerings for takeout and delivery only. And there are also “cloud kitchens,” which work exclusively with delivery brands.

These kinds of deals aren’t just good for restaurants seeing a slump in business. The brands they work with can use them to test out their products in new markets. The California-based Lemonade Restaurants recently opened its first ghost kitchen in Long Beach, allowing it to expand to the city “in record time and with a very low investment,” co-CEO Anthony Pigliacampo told QSR Magazine.

“In just three months, we moved from site identification to delivering food to guests,” Pigliacampo told QSR. “This would have been impossible with a brick and mortar site.”

Wow Bao said its partnership is different from ghost kitchens because it ships frozen items to its partner restaurants to be prepared by their kitchen staff.


Edmund Woo, the owner of the Saskatoon Lodge in Greenville, S.C., and a Wow Bao partner, said in a written statement that the process of integrating Wow Bao into his kitchen was “seamless.”

“I have trained existing employees to handle the production at virtually no incremental cost,” he said. “The ability to not only continue operating during such a vulnerable time, but to help increase margins, is instrumental to help maintain

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Royal Opera House to sell Hockney portrait in bid to survive pandemic

a person sitting in front of a building: MailOnline logo

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MailOnline logo

The Royal Opera House is to sell a David Hockney portrait of its former chief Sir David Webster in a desperate bid to raise funds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The painting will be auctioned at Christie’s this month and is expected to fetch between £11 million and £18 million, The Observer newspaper reports.

It depicts Sir David, who ran the opera house from 1945 to 1970, and was commissioned for the Covent Garden building in the 1970s.

a person sitting on a table: David Hockney's portrait of Sir David Webster it set to be auctioned at Christie's and should fetch between £11 million and £18 million in a bid to raise vital needed to survive the pandemic

© Provided by Daily Mail
David Hockney’s portrait of Sir David Webster it set to be auctioned at Christie’s and should fetch between £11 million and £18 million in a bid to raise vital needed to survive the pandemic

a couple of people that are standing in a wedding dress: Sir David Webster, who ran the Royal Opera House from 1945 to 1970, greets the Queen Mother as she arrives for a gala performance at the Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden, in 1963

© Provided by Daily Mail
Sir David Webster, who ran the Royal Opera House from 1945 to 1970, greets the Queen Mother as she arrives for a gala performance at the Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden, in 1963

‘This was a really tough call,’ Alex Beard, the ROH’s chief executive, told the Observer.

‘But we have to face the situation we are in and if we can remain viable and get through this, then we can get back to employing people in the future.

‘We are the biggest arts employer in the country and we knew we had to look at any assets we had.

‘And there is only really one of any note that stands out and that is this portrait.’

The sale is part of a four-pronged plan to protect the venue’s standing as the home of the Royal Ballet and of international opera in the face of the pandemic.

That strategy also includes staff redundancies and a major drive for donations, the paper said.

The Royal Opera House says the pandemic had an ‘immediate and serious financial impact’ and that they ‘lost £3 in every £5 of [their] income’ since lockdown forced them to close their doors.

Earlier this year, the Royal Opera House announced it had made an entire roster of casual staff redundant in an effort to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

a large building with Royal Opera House in the background: The Royal Opera House says the pandemic has cost them £3 of every £5 of their income

© Provided by Daily Mail
The Royal Opera House says the pandemic has cost them £3 of every £5 of their income

a man standing in front of a curtain: Sir David Webster, who served as General Administrator for 25 years, was instrumental in the establishment of the now world famous Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera companies

© Provided by Daily Mail
Sir David Webster, who served as General Administrator for 25 years, was instrumental in the establishment of the now world famous Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera companies

The ROH also confirmed chief executive, Alex Beard, had taken ‘a significant reduction in salary’ and the music director, Sir Antonio Pappano, had waived his salary since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The opera house is not the only arts institution facing financial uncertainty due to the pandemic.

Last month, Lucy Noble, artistic and commercial director of the Royal Albert Hall and chair of the National Arenas Association, told the committee that the Government’s £1.57billion rescue package did not turn out to be ‘what it was hailed to be’.

She told the 

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House near graveyard in UK won’t sell, so town adds in bonus burial plot

Well, at least the neighbors will be quiet.

Realtors are reportedly struggling to sell a reasonably priced lodge in the United Kingdom due to its proximity to the local cemetery. So now, town officials have thrown in an added bonus for potential home buyers: a free grave.

The house is located next to the local cemetery and local officials are reportedly hoping to use the profits from the sale to fund repairs to the graveyard.

The house is located next to the local cemetery and local officials are reportedly hoping to use the profits from the sale to fund repairs to the graveyard.

The three-bedroom lodge is owned by the local council in the town of Malton, The Sun reports. The house is located next to the cemetery, and local officials are reportedly hoping to use the profits from the sale to fund repairs to the graveyard.

In order to sweeten the deal for the house, local officials have decided to throw in a free plot at the cemetery to go along with the house, the news outlet reported.


Malton Mayor Paul Emberley explained: “An opportunity arose earlier this year to sell the property when our tenant decided to move to another part of the town. Members subsequently made a decision to sell the asset as part of a wider investment program.”


Aside from the free grave, the property also boasts a courtyard and an enclosed garden. It’s located on a gated avenue, too.

Money from the sale will reportedly be used to pay for improvements to the graveyard’s two chapels, along with the restoration of the cemetery gates and the widening of the access roads.


While bonus gravesite are important, there are several other things potential home buyers should also consider. Family Handyman previously reported that prospective buyers often forget to consider storage, cell phone signal and noise into their buying decisions.

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This woman entrepreneur is using Instagram to sell home decor and gifting products

Sisters-in-law Priyanka Sharma and Anjali Dawar started The Doodle Hut a year ago. Priyanka (29) says that she would spend her weekends collecting pieces of art and decorating the walls at home along with Anjali (34). After bouncing off some ideas over a cup of coffee one weekend, they decided to design their own wall art and decided to start up.

“This was an opportunity to be creative and entrepreneurial at the same time. The idea was to create customised products that spark the same joy of wall designing in others as well,” says Priyanka, who has a master’s degree in Mass Communication and journalism from Delhi University.

Based in Delhi, The Doodle Hut designs home décor essentials and gifting solutions like string nameplates, door hangings, personalised engraved boards, and DIY string arts, among others. The products are priced between Rs 299 and 3,500, and delivered in four to seven days across India.

The Doodle Hut team

(From L to R) Anjali Dawar and Priyanka Sharma, co-founders of The Doodle Hut, and Priyanka’s mother Meena Sharma

Thriving on social media

During the first few months of operations, they exhibited at well-known festivals and flea markets in Delhi, including Horn Ok Please. At the three-day long festival, all their products got sold out.

However, the co-founders are making the most of internet platforms. Priyanka and Anjali launched their business on Instagram in August 2019, which also provides a basic insight into customer interest and behaviour and helps nurture leads. They say the days of looking for shops and negotiating for rent and other benefits are long gone. Instagram, along with WhatsApp for Business and Amazon has lent itself very well to perform B2C operations.

Started with an initial investment of Rs 90,000, Priyanka says they are focussed on expanding their product offerings and not actively seeking funds. The entrepreneur claims that each post on Instagram gets sold within two hours, and the company has registered profits twice its initial investment so far.

While arts and crafts is not a novel idea on the internet, they believe that understanding customer’s needs and offering customised gifting products sets them apart from others in the space.

Additionally, “The online gifting industry is one of the contributors to the growth of the Indian ecommerce space. The way I see it, having more players in the design and gifting space only helps boost creativity,” she adds.

The Doodle Hut

The Doodle Hut exhibiting at Horn Ok Please festival in Delhi in 2019.

Hiring and challenges

While they take care of the designing and the craft work, Priyanka’s mother has also joined the business. Her skills in crocheting has helped introduce new products like crochet and macrame wall hangings and plant holders.

A team of eight women, Priyanka shares that while hiring and expanding the team, the candidates do not require prior skills and are trained for 15 days. 

On her nieces’ birthday, Priyanka donated a part of The Doodle Hut’s revenue to an NGO for old people in Delhi. She says she saw

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The White House Begs Governors to Help Sell a COVID-19 Vaccine

Over the last several weeks, President Donald Trump has approached the White House press podium with one resounding message: The coronavirus vaccine is just around the corner and it will soon make its way to Americans across the country.


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But behind closed doors Trump’s closest advisers, including those officials working on the White House coronavirus task force, are increasingly concerned about public confidence in the vaccine process. Now, White House officials are leaning on the nation’s governors to help promote the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

On a private call with governors Monday, Vice President Mike Pence and other top coronavirus task force officials—including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield—aired their fears about the declining public support for taking a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. And they explicitly asked governors to ignore the politics of the impending election when discussing COVID-19 vaccines, even as Trump himself does not.

“Look, I know we’re in an election season. But what I want to do is challenge you governors,” Pence said. “We are working around the clock to get a safe and effective vaccine available but we need… you to do your part to build public confidence that it will be a safe and effective vaccine. What we don’t want is people undermining confidence in the process.”

Redfield noted that while he is confident the American people will be able to access a vaccine by next spring, he is worried about the government’s ability to convince the public that that vaccine will be safe.

“We have vaccine hesitancy in this country that allows some schools to have only 30 or 40 percent of their children vaccinated against measles because they are so convinced the vaccine is harmful,” Redfield said. “So, our biggest challenge… is to build that culture of confidence. Once fear sets in, once doubt sets in, it is going to be very hard for us to reverse that.”

The worries stated on the call echo a deeper fear among scientists and other top officials working with the task force that the American public has lost trust in the nation’s top health agencies.

Part of that lack of confidence seems to stem from the president himself, who has in recent weeks promised the quick delivery of a vaccine. Trump more recently conceded that the American public can expect to access a vaccine by April next year, but he has also stated that the clinical trial data indicates that the U.S. will soon have a viable vaccine.

“He has all of his eggs in the vaccine basket,” said Elizabeth Neumann, a former top Department of Homeland Security official who worked on the office’s coronavirus response before she left the administration earlier this year. “He’s not interested in masks, or social distancing. He likes the quick easy fix. And anybody that looks at what it takes to deploy a vaccine and deliver a vaccine… it is not quick and easy by any stretch

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How to Sell Your House Fast in New York

New York is a unique state because of its diverse locations and population disbursement. You might find an average house price around $300,000 in the state of New York, but median prices in New York City remain around $2 million. Regardless of your NY location, there are certain tricks to sell a home in record time. Follow these steps toward a lucrative sale that doesn’t take years at a time.

Homes in New York will typically stay on the market for about 80 to 120 days. This average is based on the 2016 to 2017 market environment. In fact, sales are moving very quickly now that the presidential election is over. Many consumers waited until the election was decided to bid on homes. There was a tidal wave of buyers and sellers at the beginning of 2017.

With talk of interest rates rising in the near future, the buying pace has remained steady. New York’s inventory grows low, which forces buyers to wait out the time until another property goes up for sale. These conditions make prices rise as multiple bids remain common.

Although the marketplace is primed for quick sales, that fact doesn’t guarantee a perfect scenario for every seller. You may want to “sell my house fast,” but it must get noticed first. Your real-estate agent should have the property on the MLS listings and the agency’s website. Social media also plays a role as you and the agent post information about the listing. Blogs, email blasts and other Internet-based correspondence also make a difference.

During the advertising, organize the home’s interior. Remove the clutter, and clean every visible surface. Photos, videos and open houses show off the property for all of its beauty. Basic dusting, fresh paint and polished fixtures give buyers an excuse to bid on the property.

In most cases, you’ll have several bids to look over. Their amounts are certainly important, but also look at the candidates. A person who can put more down on the home or pay for it outright doesn’t have to worry about financing. The escrow process will move along at record speed. In contrast, people who must finance most of the home may not be approved for the loan. Don’t forget that negotiations are still possible. If you don’t want to haul away your laundry system, for example, offer it to a bidder so that their price can be adjusted upward. Home sales are truly unique, depending on your needs and negotiation talents.

“How to sell my house fast?” is a common question in today’s real-estate market. Work with your agent in order to create a buzz around your property. There will be a buyer at some point. Effort and attention to detail will get you where you want to go.…

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How to Sell A House Without a Realtor: FSBO

Not everybody has the luxury of placing their residence on the open market and patiently waiting months to execute the deal. The common process when posting your property on the open market will be:

  • Question/Interview many real estate professionals
  • Authorize a listing contract with a person to list your home for an exact time frame (usually a 6 month listing)
  • Handle a variety of open houses
  • Hold out for offers and then bargain with prospective buyers
  • Set up home inspections, reports and also other disclosures to be filled out
  • Sign contracts for close of escrow.

For anyone who is lucky, the process can take about six to eight weeks. If an offer falls through or maybe your home is just not getting many offers, you could end up waiting six months or even more. Alternatively, instead of all that inconvenience, having to pay five percent or more on commission fees and settlement costs, let us take a review of how to sell a house without a realtor.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

A basic strategy to market your property without a real estate professional is “For Sale by Owner” or FSBO for short. The common way individuals attempt to market their property in this manner is to set up a few signs in the lawn or perhaps your neighborhood newspapers and then wait around for individuals to trickle in. Instead of this unaggressive, and frequently unsuccessful strategy, let’s take a quick look at various other methods to market your house to have it sold quickly. Everything starts off with better promoting. Instead of doing the minimum amount, you should do a great deal to get the house to stand apart within a crowded real estate market. A few things we’d recommend are:

  • Tell all your nearby neighbors that you are selling your home and inquire if they know of anybody looking. (Extra: You can easily offer referral fees to compel your neighbors)
  • 1st opinion can be everything, so fix up the front side of your property. It is commonly referred to as “curb appeal”. If it doesn’t look good when prospective buyers are driving around it, it’s likely they probably will not want to enter into the home.
  • Getting premium quality photos obtained can make a whole world of difference; hire or simply just take them by yourself, but be sure your property is staged beautifully. Meaning absolutely no wide open toilet seats, no trash, beds made, chairs pushed-in, etc.
  • Get out sandwich board signs along with balloons or some other eye-catchers advertising your property on active intersections in your community.

After a little bit of preparation, a few dollars plus some advertising your FSBO house has a significantly better chance of selling.


Craigslist happens to be a completely crucial resource for everyone who is going to be selling their house not using a realtor. Ensure that you use descriptions of your residence which makes it sound as nice as possible. Discuss the area – are there any parks, …

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How To Sell Your House on The Internet

Did you know that over 88% of all house buyers search for their house by looking on the internet? The internet has become the primary medium for potential buyers to search for a house. Using the internet to market your house is a comprehensive mass marketing approach to selling a house. And when selling your house on your own you need to take an all out approach so you can distribute the message that your house is for sale to the masses. You also need the message to be loud, clear and appealing. There are many websites that can assist you in selling your house, though some are more effective than others, and these websites will get you as much exposure as any real estate agent will get you. Regardless of what website you do choose to use, make sure you have great pictures and a great virtual tour to upload to the website. Great photos and virtual tours sell houses.

Since 88% or more of potential buyers will use the internet to search for their next house, it is clear you need to focus your attention to internet marketing and make sure you are marketing in all the right places. So where do you market on the internet? Don’t waste your time marketing in places where your house listing will get mediocre or zero exposure. Based on years of experience we recommend you only market on effective internet websites that have been proven to get mass exposure and successfully sell houses. We have many websites to recommend, but there are a few that stand out. Most of which are FREE.

The first place to market your house is Craigslist, which has become an excellent online classified resource used to sell real estate. Make sure your headlines and ads sparkle and the content of the classified is clear and detailed. Make sure you respond quickly to inquiries since internet prospects will continue to look for houses to see what else is around the bend.

The second website is Facebook, which now has over 140 million unique visitors in the U.S. and can give you incredible trustworthy exposure. You can share your listing with your friends or create a separate new page specifically for your house.

The third effective internet resource to market your house is Postlets, which is a website service that automatically posts your house listing on many other online websites. It’s easy to use and gives you great exposure to the masses.

The fourth are for sale by owner websites, also known as “FSBO” websites. FSBO Websites are the Do-It-Yourself option that allows you to market your house listing through the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”) system, which was once a place exclusive to real estate agents alone. Marketing through a FSBO website will give you the same exposure 99% of real estate agents have. And if you combine that exposure with the other places we’ve touched upon, you will outshine most real estate agents’ marketing efforts.

Now of …

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How to Sell Your House Fast

Are you trying to sell your home fast? This is the situation for a lot of sellers who are in special circumstances. Maybe you’ve just inherited the house from a parent or a sibling and you can’t manage the property from out of town. Or maybe you’re falling behind on your house payments and need a quick solution before the lender files foreclosure. You’re not alone.

We are experts is dealing with sellers who need to sell their house quickly. This could mean different things to different people. For instance, right now the typical “traditional” sale takes between 6 to 9 months. That may be too long for you to wait. A better definition of a quick sale to you may be ninety days. It could even be a lightning fast sale of 30 days or less (also known as a fire sale). Either way, if you’re not prepared to let your property sit on the market got six to nine months and need to sell your house fast, then follow these simple tips:

  • Pricing: The single most important factor in getting your house sold quickly is pricing. Your potential buyers are out there comparing apples to apples. They’re pretty savvy on what your competition is asking for their properties. When they look at a house that is prices below all of the competition, they’re compelled to make an offer on it, as to not lose out on the opportunity.
  • Condition: Another thing to consider is the condition of your property. If you discover that your neighbor is asking $150,000 for his property, don’t automatically assume that you should also ask the same for yours. There are factors that determine the value of a house. He may have a larger house, or a house that is in better condition. You need to adjust the asking price for ANY repairs, no matter how small or large, to compensate for the money that the buyer will have to spend to get it looking fantastic.
  • Marketing: You have to get buyers into the house before you can sell it. How do you do that, you might ask? Marketing!! To a lot of sellers, this is an area that you might be totally unfamiliar with. An easy way to look at it is to get the word out to as many people as possible that you have a house for sale, and that you’re looking to sell your house quickly. Be sure to have a sign in your front yard that is clear and legible. Please don’t put up a tiny little For Sale By Owner sign that’s written in ball point pen. No one will see that. Use a giant black marker, and write some attention grabbing words on the sign. Try “Motivated Seller”, or “Must Sell”. This will draw some interest to your property, and generate some calls. Then it’s up to you to be available to show the house and wheel and deal with your potential buyers.

Selling a house …

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