How to start a food delivery business from home
Whilst hotels, restaurants, bars, and pubs have temporarily had to shut down in the second quarter of 2020. Many have adapted for delivery & takeaway during the pandemic. This has also led to a spur of start-up delivery and take away businesses. But not everyone has the opportunity to do so. Or do they?
It is in fact possible to set up a small food delivery business with a minimal amount of capital from your own home - provided you are willing to put in the work in as with any business.
It is important to note; that even though you may be starting a food business from home, every opportunity has its costs and risks. This might not be a ticket to financial freedom or to replace your usual salary. It could even just be a side hustle for extra income. But if you take it seriously enough, it may very well be a massive step into building your first food business into something much bigger in the near future. It's really up to you and what you want to achieve.
So where should you start? Below, are 9 simplified steps to get you on your way to running your first food delivery business from home. I have included reliable links to speed up the process, all you have to do is do it!
Step 1) Register your kitchen with your local council and do your due diligence
Your first step will be to make sure you are legally compliant, this means doing your research and due diligence and making sure that you can meet the minimum requirements to set up a food business from home. Put simply, if you aren't willing to do this step, you aren't fit to serve food to the public.
You can find out your local council by searching your postcode on GOV UK or by clicking here
Obtain a level 2 food hygiene certificate
Sign up to NCASS for resources and guidance
Step 2) Figure out what you want to make & sell
I would simply break this into 3 categories:
A - If you are passionate about a particular skill or product that you think you could sell, just start practicing and testing it out on your friends & family i.e Bread, Jam, Cakes, Hot food, Meal Prep.
B - Research into your local market, find out what people are craving, what sort of food they would want to order, and give it to them.
C - If you’ve got something that ticks A & B, then you may be on to a real winner
A few things to add to this: You should also consider the setup of your kitchen and the equipment you currently have to use as this will limit you to what you can and can't do. Of course, you can also invest in equipment if you absolutely think you need it to produce the goods but If its something that can already be made from your kitchen as it is, this is ideal as a starting point.
Step 3) Figure out your estimated costs & sale prices
£, ££, £££, ££££ - Is what you are selling very affordable? or are you selling something much more premium?
One way you can determine your selling price is by looking at what is already available locally and researching the businesses that have a similar offering to you. These would be your competitors. Generally speaking; the more affordable you are, the more potential customers you will be able to reach. On the other hand, the more premium you are, the more narrow your customer base will be.
I’m not going into detail about things like gross profit margins in this article as I personally don't think it is as important as sales in the early stages especially if we’re talking about a small home business. I find that a lot of chefs are obsessed with GP margins (which is indeed important in the long run of any food business), but if you don't know how to make sales then your gross profit margin is irrelevant. Being able to sell your product is the most important.
Step 4) Name your brand
I am certainly no brand expert but there are a few questions you should ask yourself when deciding on your brand's name or identity:
What does my brand represent?
What is my brand or business' purpose?
Who is my target audience?
Does my brand reflect the products that I want to sell?
How do I want my brand to make my audience feel?
What does my brand mean?
Being able to answer these questions can help to define what your brand should start to look, feel, and sound like.
Step 5) Design your Logo
If you have decided on a brand name that you feel answers the questions in the previous step, now its time to get creative and come up with ideas to design your brand logo. Unless you really think you can do it yourself, I would highly recommend leaving it to an expert and hiring a Graphic Designer to do the job for you. If you have a graphic designer friend who you think can help you out then go for it, if not, look someone up and take a chance on them.
Step 6) Start marketing BEFORE you launch. (Set up social media)
So many people think they shouldn't start marketing until they are really ready, but pre-marketing not only builds attention to your brand before you’ve even launched, it also adds pressure and pushes you to hit your launch deadline. It also can do the following:
Build hype around your brand
Allows you to engage and understand your potential customers
Ask them what they want and give it to them
Can set you up for Pre-revenue or sales before you have even launched
Do not wait. Set up your website and social media profiles as soon as possible and get your brand awareness going amongst your friends and family.
Step 7) Set yourself up to take payments.
Businesses need money to run so you better make sure you have a system ready to take payments and make it as easy and simple as possible for both your business and your customer. If you are selling your products online you need to make sure you know how to set up and use a website with E-commerce features that can be found on website platforms such as WIX or Square Space. If you are unsure about how to get this set up then try to ask a techy friend to help you out.
If you want to keep things simple then you can charge your customers via the following methods:
Cash on Delivery
Or consider purchasing a mobile EPOS (electronic point of sale) System - It is worth the investment if you want to keep track of your stock and sales and I highly recommend looking into services such as iZettle, Squareup, Sumup
Step 8) Set your kitchen up for daily operation (get organized)
For this step I would stress that you should accept that you will most likely be using a home kitchen, therefore, it is for both domestic and business purposes. In other words, your workflow isn't always going to be smooth sailing. However, there are things you can do to maximize your space and work efficiently:
Make a list of all the items you need from;
Sauce pots and lids
Napkins and cutlery
List of equipment for preparation and cooking
Clean & organize your kitchen. Try your best to put things in place so it is easier for you to work and you know where everything is when you need it.
Separate your kitchen into “key areas” and I’m not saying we all have massive kitchens for each area, but try your best to categorize the space in your kitchen for workflow purposes.
Raw Food Preparation
Finishing or packing
Step 9) Make it happen. SELL!
Ultimately, a business is about providing a solution to a problem and giving your customers what they want. If you have something to offer that your customers will benefit from then you can sell confidently and grow your business from scratch.
Market yourself on social media platforms i,e Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook
Get your friends & family to order from you
Get your customers to leave you reviews and recommend you to others
Set yourself revenue targets
Make your product and service the best it can be for your customer
And there you have it, 9 Steps to start your own food business from home! So what are you waiting for! Let me know if this guide helped you to get started. If you have any questions, do drop them in the comments below and I’d be happy to help!
As a chef, I provide consultancy services for SME’s in the food industry, if you are looking for someone to provide in-depth guidance you can find out more about my consultancy services here or drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now go and start your food business from home!