The food industry has never been bigger. As a nation, we’re becoming more and more obsessed with what we’re putting in our mouths. And as a result, business is booming.
Niche businesses are proliferating in every direction imaginable. Businesses are catering for the health food market. They are cashing in on the body building movement. And they are looking to capitalise on foodies in more gentrified areas. As a result, there has never been a better time to start a food business.
But the industry has some rather unique challenges, from regulations to competition. So here is some advice for the food startup.
Make Delicious Food
Finding out whether you’re making delicious food is not as easy as you might think. It’s not just a case of trying and refining recipes to your taste. You have to cater for the wider public.
If you’ve been living as a gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free vegan for the last ten years, raw cabbage might taste quite good. Your taste buds have had time to adjust and now pretty much any calories evoke the same reaction as a chocolate sundae.
However, it’s likely that your patrons will feel different. Their taste buds are, unfortunately, attuned to the Western diet. They want food that’s high in fat, sugar and salt otherwise, they’ll feel as if they’ve been robbed.
If you are going down the health food route, make health food appealing by including natural sweeteners, like whole dates. And fatty foods, like nuts and nut butter, will increase the richness of the food to acceptable levels, without compromising taste.
Finally, don’t just ask family and friends whether your recipes are any good. Go out and ask people at random whether a recipe works or not. You’re far more likely to get honest feedback when the people you ask don’t know you.
Get Your Certificates
Food hygiene is a significant regulatory issue in the food industry. Governments all over the world breathe down the necks of catering companies. They will threaten legal action on the discovery of the slightest misdemeanour.
That’s why it’s important to get hygiene certification. In some areas, it may be worth consulting with pest control professionals too. Having a pest problem is an automatic way to have your emerging food business shut down.
Appeal to the Local Community
Although you may have lofty ambitions for becoming an international chain, it’s in the local area that you’ll make money first.
The best local food businesses develop a sort of cult following. Excellent restaurants become famous within a town, and people visiting from outside hear about them via word of mouth.
They also develop links with other businesses in the area and try to sell their products through farmer’s markets. Some even get their product placed in local, independent shops.
Customer service is where you can compete with the bigger chains. Although they try their hardest to provide excellent customer services, they often fail.
If you can successfully resolve a problem for a client, you’ll get their repeat business. And more importantly, they’ll be more likely to recommend you to others in the local area.