When it comes to starting a business, taking that initial step and getting started is typically the most difficult aspect. But once you do, it’s magical: you can literally send customers joy in a wholesale disposable food container.
It also doesn’t hurt to be able to make money doing what you enjoy: cooking and serving wonderful cuisine to your community. A solid foundation is essential when you first begin. Use these suggestions to get your food business off to the best possible start:
Table of Contents
1. Pick A Product
Choosing what food to serve your customers is arguably the most essential stage in beginning a food business. Choose something you enjoy making so that your customers can taste your love for food and deliver delectable culinary experiences.
The following are some of the most common foods served by home-based food vendors:
- Baked goods: bread, pastries, low-acid fruit pies, cakes, cookies
- Condiments: honey, syrups, mustards, vinegar
- Snacks: granolas, pretzels, popcorn, nuts
- Candy: hard candies, chocolate, caramels
- Preserved goods: jams, jellies, pickles
2. Get Registered
You may be asked to register your cottage food business when you talk with your regional cottage food authorities. This is a necessity for all businesses, not just your cottage restaurant. Some states, for example, require cooks to attend a food safety course.
Once a cook has been registered, many local health departments will issue them a certificate or a license number. A business license also enables your local government to collect taxes on the money generated by your home-based food business.
3. Check Cottage Food Laws
The FDA is in charge of guaranteeing that almost all food offered for sale in the United States is safe and sanitary to consume. Cottage food or home-based food companies are an exception to this restriction.
Each state — and, to a lesser extent, each county or municipality — has its own set of rules for home-based food businesses. You’ll most likely find your local cottage food laws stated on the website of your local health department, but you may need to call to confirm that you’re in compliance.
They may request a kitchen inspection, although the health department will normally only inspect a cottage cook’s kitchen if a complaint has been submitted. Cottage food rules govern what you can sell, where you can sell it, how you label it, and even how much money one can earn.
4. Build Your Brand
It’s not too early to begin developing your personal brand. Whether you plan to sell wholesale ladies jacket, delicious homemade food, or DIY jewelry, building your brand is important.
What comes to mind when you consider the food businesses you admire? Hopefully, their delicious cuisine will do the trick, but how about their packaging, logos, and e-commerce experience? All of these elements work together to create your overall brand.
It doesn’t have to take a long time or spend a lot of money to establish your brand. Work with a freelancer to produce a quick logo if you don’t have any design expertise. There are numerous low-cost and quick solutions, such as 99Designs or Upwork, if you don’t have someone who can design a logo for you.
5. Find The Right Sales Channel
Cooks frequently start their companies online. We recommend that you grow your presence on social media alongside your business, relying on the power of social media before creating a website.
In reality, online sales products can assist you with this. Farmers’ markets and in-person, direct-to-consumer pop-ups, in addition to social media, maybe efficient sales channels for your company. Try using a few different channels to determine which one works best for you and your business.
Home cooks may now easily post and advertise their products on social media, and buyers can easily share your items. Understand that many states ban selling across state boundaries, so you won’t be able to sell cookies to your mother’s neighbor. Even if they are fresh for a long, all sealed and secure with the help of security packing tape.
6. Make Your Customers Your Marketers
Since that is where your customers are, your company must be active on social media. Around 74% of consumers consider word of mouth to be a major factor in their shopping decisions, and social media can play a role in this. One customer’s Instagram Story post praising your baked sourdough bread might lead to increased sales and even more devoted consumers! Yes, you read that right. That is the power of social media.
Do you want even more advice on starting and expanding a food business? Study someone who has done it before you, as experience is more valuable than just verbal instructions.