5 Steps to Setting-up a Commercial or Home Food Business

5 Steps to Setting-up a Commercial or HomeFood Business

If you are someone who loves cooking and baking, starting a food business can be a great way for you to combine a hobby with a career. Just like any other business, in order to start your very own food business, you are going to need permits, inspections, equipment, business acumen and of course a marketing strategy before you start selling.

Before you dive in the Food Industry, it is important to understand the fundamentals and getting a thorough understanding of the basics such as Food Preparation, Production, Handling, Safety and Storage. Whether you have experience as a Professional Chef in the Food Industry or not, if you are going to start a food business, it is obvious that you will be spending some time, if not most of the time in the kitchen. The consistent delivery of quality cooking is essential and doing so at a fast pace can be critical.

And, the best way to go about would be to take up a Professional Program in The Culinary Arts, Cookery or Patisserie (Pastry) depending on the niche and nature of your products. This would hone your food skills and give you a clear big picture of how the industry works. The time spent working for a restaurant or a hotel in any capacity; from order-taking to managing a franchise, can make up in experience what the formal education can never provide.

To start a food business at home is not an easy task but where there is a will, there is a way!

Check out a real story of an entrepreneur at ICCA Dubai, Bineesh. This is his journey from an aspiring entrepreneur to a successful business owner.

 

Looking to equip yourself with the right set of hands-on skills and knowledge to set-up your very own Food Business? 

Learn more about the Professional Programs offered at ICCA Dubai by clicking the button below.

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1. Starting a Food Business at Home 

  • Do a thorough Market Research

You might be saving the cost of renting an office but you certainly cannot avoid competition. In order to enter the market, do a thorough market research and analyze what the local Restaurants, Bakeries and Food Entrepreneurs are doing and how your business could be affected.

Consider attending business networking events to meet people and pick their brains for their experience and knowledge in the Food Industry.

You might be making the best cupcakes in the world, but if there is no market for your product, then you just would not be able to generate any revenue from it.

  • Choose Your Products Carefully

To know what the market gap is and who your customers are, it is crucial to know what you are selling. You should have the in-and-out understanding of your products, recipes & ingredients and constantly work on getting feedback from your friends and family on how to improve your products further.

  • Have a Sound Business Plan

Having a sound business plan really helps a long way and it is even better if you have everything in writing to protect you and your business in the future. From having proper provisions listed down from your logo designer to anyone that might be involved in the creation or preparation of the products. Get them to assign the relevant ownership rights to your company.

Just as how the mix of the perfect ingredients brings food to life, the individual components of your home food business such as the products you make, the pricing strategies, etc. make the mark between success and failure for your business.

Lastly, take every possibility and anomaly into account while creating your business plan and always have a Plan B in place.

  • Be Professional & Display Industry Standards

You might be bake your products wearing pajamas and might have children doing homework in the next room but when it comes to the image of your company, you must keep it professional. Your website, product brochures, your business cards, etc. should all reflect the look and feel of a real company.

It can be pivotal to adopt and display industry standards such as the quality of the packaging, the ingredients, food handling, etc. for your business to fail or succeed.

Store your bowls, mixers, measuring items, food ingredients and utensils separately from your personal items. And if you are selling your products through stores, purchase proper packaging materials to wrap your products.

Note that you might have to spend some extra cash, but it is well beyond worth it in the long run.

  • Get Permits, Licenses & Equipment

Check with your local zoning rules for clarity on the rules, regulations, permits and licenses that you may require in order to run a food business out of your home.

Furthermore, the cooking equipment and facilities you use need to pass ‘Food Cleanliness Requirements’. You are also going to require a Business License and a Resale License (if applicable in your country/city) that allows you to buy whole sale and tax free ingredients.

Although deciding and purchasing equipment depends on your niche of product and operations, for the large equipment such as stoves, ovens, etc. go for a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer.

Some other common small equipment may include serving bowls, baking dishes, mixers, spoons, serving trays (if you plan on catering public events) and measuring items.

 

While setting up a Food Business at Home might have its own challenges, setting up a Commercial Food Business is a completely different ball game and there is no doubt that it is one of the most challenging and high risk spaces to start a business.

However, being a Trillion-Dollar Industry, Food is something that will never go out of business. 

 

2. Starting a Commercial Food Business 

  • Stand-Out from The Competition

Perhaps one of the biggest risks in the Commercial Food Business would be the fierce competition in the market. It is crucial that you set your USPs (unique selling propositions) in order to differentiate yourself in the minds of your customers and the market as a whole.

Focus on your strengths & work on improving them even further, have a sound business strategy and have your target market clearly defined.

  • Start Small

In the start-up language this analogy is referred to as ‘lean manufacturing’. It is a very smart and yet aggressive method of picking a very small market gap and trying to fill it with a minimum viable product.

This allows validation of your business idea and proves if your product will actually sell in the market or is it just in your head.

Once you have a demand for one of your particular products, then you can start investing in scaling the production of that particular product. This is the best method to start your commercial food business as it will give you a very clear picture of what products will sell, which ones need improvement and which one is the bread and butter of your business.

The process of validating your product is invaluable and given the significant start-up costs, this is a necessary step for every entrepreneur.

  • Legal Requirements & Government Regulations

In addition to the basic legal requirements that apply to all Business to Consumer businesses, check for any specific industry regulations that may apply to your business in particular.

Check with your local zoning rules for clarity on the rules, regulations, permits and licenses that you may require in order to run a  commercial food business.

  • Create a realistic Cash-flow

When it comes to a commercial food business, you are going to incur expenses long before you start generating revenue. So, expect things get postponed or swing-in early.

Having a sound business plan to handle such anomalies, unexpected expenses, accommodating timely payments to your suppliers, etc. can be critical to the success of your food business.

  • Promote The Business

In this aspect, a food business works very much similar to any other business and word of mouth referral is the most powerful mode of marketing for your business. Spend time, money and efforts on creating ‘buzz’ and getting your products in front of as many people as possible.

If your customers like your products and services, chance are they are going to tell their friends about it and there is no better place than Social Media for it. It goes without say that you need to create and manage your Social Media presence on the popular social media channels amongst your target customers such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Furthermore, you can use Google AdWords and Facebook Ads to target a particular area and set a budget for the ads that is in line with your marketing budget.


As a centre of excellence for professional chef training and vocational education in the region, ICCA Dubai is positioned in the Food Industry as an industry expert and provides a world class culinary experience. 

Learn more about the Professional Programs offered at ICCA Dubai by clicking the button below.

 Learn More