How To Start A Food Business

Everything you need to know about food businesses!

Research & Refine your Business Idea

Starting a business isn’t simple by any means, so it’s important to put together a detailed plan that will help to guide you in the process. When it comes to a food business, there are also so many options to consider with regard to the kind of business, the cuisine and the atmosphere.

It’s also worth keeping in mind the kind of testing that food businesses can go through. Of course, the food needs to be safe and clean to consume, which requires a high level of effort and care. Let’s take a look into some of the aspects worth thinking about as you get started!

Choosing Your Niche

Is there a specific kind of food business you’ve dreamed of starting? Perhaps a restaurant, coffee shop, deli, or a simple little diner? There are so many options out there to consider when it comes to food! You’ll want to start by thinking about the type of food business you want to open and what kind of food you want to serve.

When you’re thinking about the menu, it really is best to start simple and get a handle on the most important items before you start adding more. Otherwise, it can become overwhelming and really bring down the quality of the food that is being served.

Getting Licensing In Order

There are certifications and licensing that need to be obtained for handling food. Anyone who is going to be working with food needs to have a food handler’s certification. In addition, if the business is going to be serving alcohol, there are liquor licenses to consider.

The laws for these things are going to vary from place to place, so it’s up to you to make sure you know what is expected of you. Making sure your business is in line with these laws can ensure that there aren’t any legal issues that may result in a poor reputation or the business having to close down.

Selecting A Location

It’s typically a good idea to make sure your food business is placed in a central location that it’s easy for people to get to. After all, they are going to be less likely to visit and enjoy your business if it’s a hassle for them to reach. Because of this, you’ll need to be careful about where you decide to start your business.

What can make this difficult is that buildings in a great location can tend to be more expensive than those who aren’t in areas very heavily populated. This is something you’ll want to take into consideration as you’re planning for your start-up costs.

Creating your Business Website

While you may or may not be selling anything online as a food business, a company website is still very important. People often look towards the internet first when it comes to looking for information about hours, reservations, menus and anything else your business may offer.

Consequently, having your own website can really help to put you on the map. It’s also very easy to make your own website, thanks to the tools that are provided by sites including Wix and Squarespace. Both of which offer easy ways to build websites that look great and are easy to navigate.

Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website as they have a easy one-click WordPress installation tool, you can get 60% Off hosting and a free domain name here.

Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.

Marketing Your Business

Marketing gets eyes on your business and lets people know what you’re offering to the community. It’s an extremely important way to bring in new business, giving them a chance to fall in love with it and continue to patronize your establishment.

Making use of the marketing options at your disposal can really help your business to succeed. It also provides the business a way to communicate with customers and potential customers and let them know about special offers or any new additions to the food business that might interest them.

Yelp And Social Media

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to get the word out there about your business is to make use of social media. Social media profiles are typically free, and you can welcome customers to like and follow the page and information that it shares, making it an easy way to keep them up to date.

In addition, Yelp is a website that many people visit when they are deciding which food businesses to try out. Because of that, it can be a great way to show potential customers that your business is the real deal. It’s also a well-known place for customers to leave their reviews.

Print Advertisements

While most people are likely to run into advertisements like yours through some kind of digital means, using some print advertisements is also a good idea. Things like newspaper ads, coupons, brochures, billboards and more can allow people to find the concept of your business when they may not be looking for it.

Think about a family driving through your town during a road trip. They can choose something familiar, though potentially not the healthiest, or they may come across an advertisement for your establishment and stop in. If they enjoy it, it’s likely they will come back or at least recommend it to others traveling through the area.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is likely to be the most useful form of marketing you can make use of. There are also so many ways you can engage in it, from television and radio advertisements to placing ads on popular websites. Because of that, you’re likely to be able to find options for nearly any budget.

Furthermore, you can also opt to use things like pay-per-click ads, and ad programs on social media sites. These options often allow you to set a budget, and the advertisement will only remain until it has been clicked on a certain number of times, or has otherwise met the limit you set.

Setting Goals and KPI’s

Goals are important regardless of the kind of business you’re running. However, the goals you might set for a food business may differ from those found in other businesses. Things like profits and sales are likely to be tracked in any business, but there are some special costs for food worth thinking about.

This might include things like safety classes for the handling of knives, to keep the number of accidents low. In addition, you may want to track the cost of food as well as the amount of it that is being wasted. This can really effect the expenses for a food business, and no one wants to waste!

Plan your Finances

Typically, starting up a food business isn’t a cheap venture, though the price can differ a bit depending on the exact kind of business you plan to start. Consequently, it’s going to be important to make sure that you have or can get enough funds to cover the start up cost.

There are several ways you can do this, such as seeking out the help of a bank or investor, talking to family and friends, or using a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter or GoFundMe.

Having a bank account specifically for handling business funds is also a great idea. This allows you to keep that money separate from your regular funds, and keep better track of your business expenses and income.

Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset

To build a successful business, you have to be prepared to continually learn, solve problems and remain as flexible as possible. Remember that the customer base is always changing, gaining new interests and asking for new things. Sometimes this may include getting rid of something you’ve relied on for a long time, while in other cases it means adding new things.

It’s normal to have some bumps in the road on the way to success. Just hang in there, learn how to handle those bumps and you’re sure to be successful.

Other things to consider when starting your food business

Legal Requirements: 

Not all the decisions that need to be made about your business are the most fun, but they are very important. These include things like finding the perfect name, deciding on the type of business you’re running and learning how to best handle the taxes for the business.

Making sure that your name isn’t already taken is a great first step. That way, you won’t have to worry about issues with copyright or anything similar.

Furthermore, staying on top of licenses and permits is very important. As mentioned earlier, there are special permits required for those who are going to be handling food. That way, you can ensure that the food is high quality and safe for customers to enjoy.

Accounting & Bookkeeping: 

Bookkeeping isn’t fun for most people, but it doesn’t have to be incredibly painful either. There are plenty of software options designed to make the process easier, including things like Xero and Quickbooks. Using these tools, you can keep track of everything needed for keeping your business funds flowing smoothly.

You also have the option of hiring someone to handle the task for you. This can be a good idea when you have your hands full and want to ensure the numbers will be correct.

Some choose to hire regular employees who they can train and work with on a daily basis, while others opt to make use of a freelancer who may have more experience. Both have their own benefits, so it’s worth comparing the two.

Hiring Employees:

Most are familiar with the practices for hiring. Once you’ve decided to hire employees, you can put out advertisements for the open jobs through sites like LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. Then the interviewing process can get started!

If you’re looking for a freelancer, they are easily found through pages like Upwork, which make it easy for employers to connect with the right freelancers for just about any task.

No matter which way you’re going, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re familiar with hiring practices, laws and guidelines for handling employees. Naturally, you want to provide a healthy, safe atmosphere for them, which ensures that all their needs are met. Make sure to check your local hiring laws to stay up to date on what’s required.

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