Starting a food business isn’t easy. According to research, most new food businesses fail within the first year. However, you shouldn’t let this scary fact stop you from entering the food industry. If you’ve always received compliments on your cookies or hamburgers, you might just be able to succeed in this field. And to make sure your business survives those first twelve months, you need to get everything right from day one. That being said, we came up with nine essential tips for starting a food business.
Do your homework
There’s no need to say that the food industry is quite competitive. There are fast food restaurants and cookie shops being opened everywhere around the world. So, in order to enter the industry knowing, you’re going to succeed, you first need to do your homework. This includes everything from researching your competition to doing surveys. You can also take a closer look at food businesses in your area that has failed and try to figure out what they did wrong. Do enough research and you should be able to identify your target audience, niche opportunity and more.
Understand your customers
If you know what kind of food you’ll prepare in your business, you also know who your target audience is going to be. And if you want your business to succeed, you need to know what they want. People of different age groups or different background have their preferences when it comes to food, and you need to be aware of them. Only that way will you be able to design your menu and give your customers exactly what they want. As mentioned above, you can do surveys and create your menu according to the data you collect.
Think about your menu
Being aware of what kind of food your business is going to sell is a must. Without a list of meals you want to prepare, you won’t be able to buy all the necessary equipment for preparing and serving meals. Therefore, another thing you need to do before you start is creating your menu. Ideally, you’ll be able to come up with a signature dish for your food business. In order to keep things interesting, you can also consider offering daily specialties. This is a great way to turn one-time customers into loyal followers of your brand.
Find the right location
One thing’s for sure – location is critical when it comes to food businesses. Fail to find a good location for your new food business and you’ll see potential customers turning to your competitors just because they’re in a more convenient location. To get started, you should create a list of every potential location and start scouting. Bear in mind that foot traffic will play a huge role in how successful your food business is going to be. It’s also absolutely necessary that you identify competitors close to your new location and make sure you can beat them.
Purchase the right equipment
One of the key aspects of every food business is equipment. Without the right equipment, preparing all those meals that’ll make your food business stand out won’t be possible. This is exactly why you need to create a list of everything you need to get before you put up that “open for business” sign. If you’ll be starting a restaurant, you need to get ovens, freezers, cookware, and some special equipment depending on the type of food you offer. In case you plan to create food products, you’ll need to find a good heat exchanger manufacturer as having this piece of equipment is an absolute must.
Have a patio
No matter what kind of food you want to sell, having a patio can be a huge plus for your business. It’s just that people prefer enjoying their meals out in the fresh air. Just don’t forget that including a patio means you’ll need to obtain a license. Turn to your local authorities to learn how to do this. In order for your patio to attract customers, you need to put a lot of time and effort into designing it. This means you should find nice-looking outdoor furniture and invest in a retractable roof for those boiling hot days.
Embrace social media
Every business nowadays needs to be on social media and this applies to your new business as well. By creating a Facebook or Instagram page for your food business, you’ll get a place where you can update your customers on any changes in your menu or announce future events you’ll host. Another awesome thing about social media is that you can use it to share photos of your food business and use them to attract new customers. We recommend hiring a photographer who’ll help you create plenty of visuals you can share on social media.
Develop a strong brand
While offering tasty dishes is the key to succeeding in the food industry, it’s also down to brand power. If you know how to develop a strong brand, you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd – simple as that. So, instead of buying a cheap logo on the web, you should consider hiring a graphic design company to create a logo for your business. Once you have a logo, you should put it everywhere from your social media pages to your employees’ uniforms. If you plan to offer takeout delivery service, putting your logo on plastic containers can do wonders for your brand.
Invest in marketing
No matter how delicious your dishes are, your phone won’t just magically ring with orders. Instead, you need to invest in marketing and reach as many people as possible. If you offer delivery service, you can transform your vehicles into mobile billboards. And since you’ll be targeting local customers, you can always make radio commercials and print flyers. Influencers are the next big thing in the marketing world and you can try to identify local influencers who might want to promote your food business in exchange for a free meal.
Turning your food business idea into reality requires a lot of research, planning, and perseverance. Take your time and only start once you’re absolutely sure your food business has everything it takes to succeed.