Starting a food business has to be one of the most challenging businesses to get into. The harsh reality is that most fail within the first year. The restaurant business is notoriously tough, but where there is a will there is often a way! While vision and ambitions are important, turning that ambition into success requires research, planning, capital, business acumen, and perseverance, more research and more planning. Here are some tips that can help entrepreneurs start, operate, and grow their fast food business successfully and within the law.
- Do Your Research
The food industry in general is very competitive so it is imperative that you do your research before getting started. Business networking events (such as those operated by Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, and local Chambers of Commerce) offer a great venue for picking the brains of fellow business people. Try to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what they would do differently. If you are aware of restaurants that have failed, try to identify why. Online community forums
are a great way of gauging market need and customer opinion about local food service businesses. Doing your research will help you to define your target market, niche opportunity, and identify your greatest risk factors, so that you can build a strong business case and move forward. Whether it’s specializing in food truck, local restaurants, or cupcakes – focus on providing a unique and quality product – don’t try to be all things to all people. Be specific!
Understand Your Market Choose Your Business Location & Equipment
- Consider Starting Small
You should consider testing your idea before you go all out with a pop up
location. It will give you an opportunity to run through your idea without
all the risk. Many food businesses start as a hobby at home and once
they outgrew the space they moved on to something bigger. Going
straight from a business plan to the opening a storefront is a big step;
the idea is that you have an opportunity to get the kinks out. You can
rent a food truck for a month or try a local market just to see how things
go. When you do finally make the move to permanent location you can scale up. Alternatively, fast-food franchises might be an option worth considering
for entrepreneurs who are not quite ready to make the leap into full
About Food Franchises
- Build a Business Plan
A business plan doesn’t have to be an overly formalized document, but
going through the process of building and constantly tweaking your plan
will help you match the strengths of your business to the opportunities the market presents. It can also help you better deal with threats as they emerge.
A business plan is also essential when it comes to communicating with
others – such as customers, partners, and investors – if you want any of
these to believe in you, you must be able to convince them that you know
what you are talking about when it comes to your business.
Write Your Business Plan
- Get Financing
Not all businesses need investors to get started, particularly if you start
small. However, there are ranges of options from very small microloans
that can help smaller fast food outlets get started.
If you are seeking investment, plan it out. Use your business plan and the
knowledge you’ve gained from your pop up test as the basis for a loan
proposal or investment plan. Investors and lenders will want to know
everything about your business idea or venture. Also, be realistic about
how much money you need. You can save lots of capital just by buying
local produce and purchasing surplus equipment.
- Start Your Business the Right Way
Whatever your business type, you must have plans in taking care of the fundamental
regulatory and legal steps involved in starting a business. From business registration, tax ID
numbers to licensing make sure everything is in order as your business keeps soaring.
- Know Your Food Laws and Regulations
This should be part of your research to begin with, but it’s worth making
it a one off tip. Know what the laws and regulations are in your state!
From labor laws to food safety laws understanding and achieving
compliance with legal and regulatory requirements can have a big effect
on the success of a food operation big or small.
Food & Beverage Laws and Regulations
- Find a Business Mentor
Mentors are relevant in starting any business. They can give you unrivalled, objective, and FREE advice
about the local market, the challenges and best practices to aid your business.
You may also like to read: How To Serve Instagram Worthy Food and Attract Millennials To Your Food and Restaurant
Written & Published by: Zedomi Jacob