1. START SMALL AND DO YOUR RESEARCH
It might be tempting to go all out on your new endeavor at the beginning. Start out small and go with the basics. Do some research and see what you are competing within your area. Focus on small things you can do to make big progress, for example, the type of food items you would like to sell and create a small menu from there, such as appetizer choices, entree choices, and dessert choices.
After that is figured out, put together a focus group including your family and friends to see if they would be interested in trying out your menu. Any feedback from them (good or bad) will be helpful and can push your business forward.
Based on their feedback, you’ll have a pretty good idea of whether your menu is just right, or perhaps you need to make some changes. You want your dishes to be unique and stand out from your competition.
2. BUILD YOUR BRAND
Once you’ve perfected your menu based on the feedback you received from your family/friends, it’s time to build your brand. You could start out with the following:
- Figure out your business name: A catchy or creative name will stand out from the competition. Have fun with it and brainstorm some different ideas.
- Develop messaging that resonates with customers: You could share the story of how your business got started, what you are passionate about, and a little background about your food.
- Choose design elements: Branding is your business’s personality. Choose who your business is going to be and move forward from there! If you need some help with design, there are platforms, such as Canva that offer pre-made templates and plenty of free designs to choose from.
3. CONNECT WITH A COMMERCIAL KITCHEN
Using a commercial kitchen has a lot of benefits. You get to work with commercial grade appliances, have a workspace to prep your meals, and a place to store your items (just to name a few).
Depending on how many orders you get, a commercial kitchen could be very useful for you and can help you fill those orders. Some kitchens offer hourly reservations and others allow you to reserve a space on a weekly or monthly basis.
Check out The Kitchen Door to see the types of commercial kitchens available in your area.
4. TEST THE MARKET
Testing the market can be intimidating, overwhelming, and a little exciting all at the same time! It’s important to put your business out there and see what other people think of it.
You could start out by posting on Facebook! Many towns and counties have Facebook pages. It’s a great way for citizens to connect and get to know each other. All types of business owners will use this platform to advertise their service and sometimes they offer a promotion to get the ball rolling!
Another way to put your business out there is by going directly to customers and participating in an event, such as a farmers market! You could get a little station set up and start making orders. To get customers interested in your food, you can offer samples and see which ones are a hit! This avenue gives you a chance to connect with customers and pass out business cards for future orders.
5. GET CULINARY INSURANCE
The food industry can be a fun one to be in. But it’s not always fun. We wish it was! There are things you need to look out for, such as the potential for a lawsuit against your business.
Customers may experience an allergic reaction from your food or even contract salmonella. It’s a frightening thing to deal with and can be expensive. With culinary insurance, you can protect what you’ve built and have a safety net to fall back on.
Even the most experienced chefs can deal with a mishap because there are many variables to think about and one mistake could lead to disaster.