Starting a food business can be a huge feat but it comes with a huge sense of accomplishment. There are many steps you have to take before you can open up and start serving delicious food to your community. To help you get started, here are some important first steps for starting your first food business.
Make a Business Plan
One of the first steps to make when you are starting your business is to develop a strong business plan. This will include doing lots of research so you know the ins and outs of the specific food industry you are entering. It’s also important to know what your target market is and to learn about your competitors. Your business plan should include what type of food business you will be, such as quick service versus fine dining. It should also address budget information and your marketing plans. While there are many other things to consider and plan out, these will get you off to a great start.
Find Suppliers and Purchase the Necessary Equipment
It’s also important to develop relationships with suppliers and start purchasing the necessary restaurant equipment you will need to run on a daily basis. Your suppliers are essential to your food business, so look for the best deals from trustworthy suppliers that will also give you the best quality. Appliances such as ovens, fryers, grills and stoves will be a big expense as you get started. You will also need to buy refrigerators and walk-in freezers, food prep items like cutting boards, pots and pans and many other items. Your point of sale, or POS, system is also very important for the smooth running of a food business. Research different options and decide what kind of features yours will need in addition to managing orders and taking payments.
Consider Your Financing Options
Starting a food business requires a lot of funding, and chances are you won’t be able to finance it all by yourself. Therefore, consider all of the financing options that are out there to find the funds you need to get started. Some financing options include finding investors or a business partner, getting a business loan, getting government aid or asking family and friends to help out.
Get All Required Licenses and Permits
Regulations are different depending on where your business is located and what type of business you have, so learn which licenses and permits your specific business needs and take the steps to get them. This process can take some time, so get started on this right away. Know your local health and safety codes and be strict about following them.
Advertising will be important for getting your new business noticed so you can start bringing in customers. Communities are often excited about a new place to eat, so before you open, start getting the word out. Create a beautiful website that shows all of your location and contact information, what times you’re open and your menu. Social media is also a very powerful advertising tool, so make sure your online presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter includes all the important information and that they are kept updated.
Hire Your Employees
When you hire your staff, think about how many employees you need and in what areas. In most types of food establishments, you will need managers and lots of servers, chefs, bartenders and cleaning staff. Food service can be fast paced, so interview candidates and look for experienced individuals who can multi-task and have great social skills for interacting with customers. Also, run background checks and contact the references of potential employees.
There is a lot that goes into starting a food business. Making a business plan, buying supplies and equipment, getting the funds, licenses and permits, hiring a great team and advertising your business are important first steps. Soon enough, you’ll be feeling the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with opening up your first food business.