If you’re a professional cook, or just someone who enjoys cooking and has a real talent for it, starting a food business from home could be a great idea. Not only can you get your foot in the door without a huge investment, it’s also a great way to transform your hobby into a career. However, you have to understand the laws and regulations governing the industry and do the research necessary before you start your venture. Here are the steps you’ll have to take to get your home food business off the ground.
Before you start your home food business, there is a certain set of rules and legislation you’ll have to be aware of. There are safety measures you’ll have to abide by, as well as clear procedures you’ll have to follow, and they will vary depending on the nature of your operation.
The first thing that you should do is to register with your local jurisdiction’s environmental health department. You’ll need to register your premises a minimum of 28 days before you start your operation.
It’s essential that you know what type of product you can make from home and what you can’t. Your premises also have to be fit for production. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask environmental health department officers for help. They do a great job at inspecting premises and assessing whether they’re fit or not and can give you suggestions. During inspections, they will also try to assess your understanding of hygiene and safety procedures.
However, try to make sure to get it right the first time if you don’t want issues. Their initial assessment will determine how many times they will return in the future. So, if you don’t want to be constantly bothered by inspectors, make sure you do everything in your power to be compliant the first time.
Do Some Market Research
It’s also important that you conduct a thorough market research before you start your home-based food business since the market can be very competitive. Fortunately, there are tons of ways that you can get access to market research.
Market research doesn’t have to be formal either. You could start with your immediate family and neighbours and get their opinions. You could go around your neighbourhood and have your neighbours blind taste your products and give their opinion. In some cases, this could be all the information you need to gauge demand for your service or product.
There are also tons of workshops and free classes available for small business entrepreneurs. Contact your local Business Link for free workshops that touch every aspect of starting your business. There are tons of free opportunities for new entrepreneurs out there, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of them.
Get the Right Equipment
Now that you know what you’re going to make, you have to update your kitchen with the right equipment. If you’re going to do pastry, you should consider investing in a high capacity mixer, for instance. You could also consider renting at first and buy once you get some profits in. If you’re going to do some catering, you might have to consider investing in some professional BBK Direct worktops to make food preparation a lot easier. Another type of equipment you should consider getting is a restaurant management software, since, when done the right way, will help tremendously with a restaurant’s success.
But, in some cases, you might be able to get by with what you have already; it all depends on the size of your production and your product. For instance, a spice company may only need the basic tools needed to grind, roast, and blend ingredients and could easily get by with a smaller kitchen without any major investment. It’s always better to start small and use your profit to scale up than try to get everything perfect before even knowing if you’re going to turn a profit or not.
Consider Where You’ll be Sourcing Your Ingredients and Packaging
This part is crucial, and it is the reason why so many small food businesses end up failing. As a small buyer, you often don’t have the same access to low price ingredients since you can’t buy in volume like the big guys. While going to Tesco for eggs and flour may work when baking for you or your loved ones, you’re just not going to hit your bottom line sourcing your ingredients from there. If you want to get more margin, you should at least consider going to wholesalers to buy in bulk or a cash and carry. You could also look at overseas suppliers as well.
You also have to think about labelling and packaging as well. Standards are very strict on this and your product could be removed from the shelves for a simple labelling error. Make sure to keep the packaging simple at first and use stickers to cut costs. Stickers can be easily modified to fit standards and make adjustments.
Now’s the fun part. You get to actually sell your product. Now that you’ve tested your product with the locals, look at what others do in your sector. Are they giving away samples? Are they advertising at local food fairs? Or are they targeting the local farmer’s market? Depending on your product, the best method is usually to be as direct as possible to the customer and eliminate barriers. Anywhere where you can get your product in front a lot of people is usually the best.
And if you feel you have a knack for social media, you could always use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote your products. Let your closest friends know about your products and tell them to spread the word. If your product delivers, you should slowly but surely start to gain traction for your brand.
Starting your own food-based company from home can be an exhilarating experience and a very lucrative one too. Make sure that you follow the steps in this article if you want to increase your chances of making your home food business a huge success.