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A Beginner’s Guide – How To Start a Food Business


If you have a passion for food, you may want to turn this into a small business. Having the idea to start a food business is good, but how do you progress your vision and move it along? If you’ve never run a business before, it can be difficult to get started. So, here’s a beginner’s guide to help you along the way, and help you get the answers you may need to get the best start possible.

Decide What Type of Food Business You Want to Start

You know you want to work within the food industry, but what specifically do you want to do? Are you interested in running a restaurant? Or do you think that you would be better suited to running a mobile food truck? Most food businesses will require you to work unsociable hours. Some such as a catering business will require extensive travel. 

So, what does your ideal food business look like, and what role will you play in the business? As soon as you have decided what type of business you want to run, you can then work on creating a business plan.

Create a Business Plan

Even if you’re just looking at setting up a one-person business, you’re going to benefit from having a business plan. A plan will outline what you want to do within your business, how much the setup costs will be, and who your competitors are. Within the business plan, you’ll conduct research about the need and demand for your new business, which will help you see how viable your idea is. You will also get to grip with the financials of your startup. Looking at how much you project you’ll make and spend in your first year is crucial. 

Utilizing external sources and even looking at how others write their business plan will help you produce a document that is valuable for a new business starting up and for its first twelve months in business.

Decide What You Will Offer

As you’re building your business plan, you’ll need to think carefully about what you’re going to offer. What is going to be the main selling point of your food business and what type of customers are you going to focus on reaching? Are you going to commit to offering fresh products only? Are you reaching out to vegetarian and vegan customers? Are you going to look at providing catering for small businesses, parties, and events? Or, are you going to kit out a food truck and travel the country, visiting a new state each weekend? 

Before investing any substantial money into your business, you’ll need to know what you’re going offer and why. This is when you will utilize your business plan, as it will outline where the market opportunities exist.

Create a USP or Niche

There will be lots of competitors around you (both direct and indirect). To stand out from these other food businesses, you’ll need to have a unique selling point (USP) or niche. This will be something different that you do or offer. 

So, what are you going to offer customers to keep them coming back? Are you going to ensure they have fresh ingredients in every meal or snack they eat? Are you going to commit only using locally produced ingredients? Or are you going to offer something more exotic? 

To create a USP or niche that works, you need to think about your customers first. What do they want to see from your food business and what are they expecting from you? It’s important that you are consistent with your USP or niche, as you will find it most likely forms part of your branding.

Get Funding and Finance in Place

To kickstart your new venture and get it off the ground, you’ll need to be prepared to make a financial investment. If you don’t have access to savings to get your venture going, you’re going to need to arrange finance. You may want to look at doing this by visiting main street banks or contacting brokers. 

When you’re looking at funding and financing your business, you must look closely at the terms and conditions. See how much you may be borrowing and always be sure to check out how much you will be paying back over the coming months or years. You don’t want to take on more financial strain than you need to. So, weigh up funding and finance carefully, and seek assistance/guidance when you need to.

Look at Suppliers and Wholesalers

The success of your new food business is going to be heavily based on the suppliers and wholesalers that you use. If you’re not being consistently provided with top-quality ingredients, it will have an impact on the success of your food business. 

When it comes to looking for suppliers and wholesalers, it’s important to use ones that are specialists. And of course, ones that can provide excellent service each and every time. For instance, you’ll find that Olam spices can deliver bulk dry spices to your food business quickly where some wholesalers and suppliers can’t commit to this. Or if they can do it once, they may not be able to commit to speedy delivery every time, which will have an impact on your business. You need to be sure that the suppliers and wholesalers you use are passionate about the products that they offer. If they’re not, equally, they won’t have any passion or interest in your food business.

Research Your Local Competitors

It’s essential that you get to know as much as you can about who your competitors are, where they are and what they do. Even though they may not have a direct impact on your business, they may have an influence. The more that you understand about your competitors, the better your food business will be. 

Through competitor research and knowledge, you’ll get to know what needs doing to make sure your business offering is better for customers and superior to the competition.



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