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Food Business Ideas

You’ve always enjoyed creating delicious meals in your own kitchen, so why not consider how to start a food business?

Entrepreneurs like Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields’ Cookies), Anne Beiler (Auntie Anne’s Pretzels) and celebrity chef Paula Deen are just a few examples of people who have turned their love of cooking into highly profitable enterprises.

The beauty of food businesses is that they are very fluid – your products evolve over time quite easily. Tastes only change slightly from year to year. You’re left then with a blank culinary canvas on which to create your food products.

How To Start A Food Business From Home

When you’re starting your business, the easiest place to begin is at home. You can experiment with recipes until midnight if you like, or wake up with an idea at 5 a.m., run downstairs, and try it out.

Different towns, however, have regulations on whether or not you can sell food made in a home based food business. Some places require inspections to make sure your equipment is up to code, that you have a dedicated food preparation area, and that those areas are always kept clean.

If your location doesn’t let you sell from your home, use your own kitchen as a test lab and then use rented kitchen space during your production process.

Deciding On Your Type Of Food Business

As a specialty provider, what will you make? Mrs. Fields specialized in cookies, while Auntie Anne took on pretzels. Paula Deen decided on the broader area of Southern Cooking.

With the wide variety of national brands of foods, you need to find your own niche. Will you appeal to gourmets, or to the lunch crowd wanting a tasty bagged meal? What about a working parent wanting an easy but healthy meal for the family? Do you want to specialize in a particular food area like gourmet birthday and wedding cakes?

One rapidly growing area is the health food business. As baby boomers age and want to maintain their health and fitness, they are turning to more nutritious foods. Developing organic, low fat tasty meals could be quite lucrative for you.

Look at trends and forecast future needs so you can tailor your business to meet the upcoming demand.

Getting Kitchen Supplies And Equipment

Once you have determined what you’ll cook and where you’ll cook it, you will need to make sure you have all of your equipment. Do you have the industrial size mixers and food processors you need? If you’re cooking a multi-tiered wedding cake, is your oven big enough? You don’t want your business to be limited by the capacity of your appliances.

Consider leasing or renting what you can, and once the business takes off only then begin to purchase good quality, reliable supplies.

Selling Your Wares

Auntie Anne’s pretzels were first sold at a local Farmer’s Market. Paula Deen first sold and delivered bag lunches. There are a variety of places you can sell your products if you look hard enough.

It is hard to break into the grocery market, especially the chain stores, because there is so much competition for shelf space. Local stores may be more willing to give your products a try (especially after the manager has sampled it!).

You can try selling to the restaurant business too. Small restaurants can increase their offerings by adding your specialty to their menus. Larger restaurants can build goodwill from customers by supporting a local business

With a deliciously different product, planning, and plenty of determination, you can cook up your own recipe for success by knowing how to start a food business independently.

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