The food business in the US is a multi-billion industry with an annual turnover of approximately US $18,374 million. The industry involves over 163.5m users most of them being small scale food handlers.

Small food businesses are easy to start and manage. They are primarily run by families as they don’t have the capacity to employ skilled management labor. Are you wondering how to start a small food business? Don’t worry as we share the do’s and don’ts of starting and running a small food business.

The Dos

The food industry is wide, ranging from the selling of food stocks to supermarkets and groceries to operating food joints. In whichever food business you engage, ensure you have your checklist ready of the things you should do. Here, we list the five most important points to consider when starting a food business.

1. Get a License and Certification

When it comes to handling food, both state and national governments are very keen on the quality of food consumed. It’s a matter of public health and safety which is quite sensitive. For you to operate, you will need licenses from the public health department and conform to the regulations set by the Food and Drugs Authority.

Your workers should also have the approval to handle human food. Ensure that you meet all the statutory requirements to enhance the success of your business. These include business permits and tax compliance.

2. Do Your Market Research on How to Start a Small Food Business

When you are about to open a small food business, you need to know how the industry is doing in order to get a niche for yourself. This can only be achieved through extensive market research to identify gaps that you can exploit. For example, there is no need for setting another Pizza joint where there are other five unless you are sure your offer will be special.

Also, know the demographics of an area to improve your chances of being relevant. You can’t sell pork in a community with majority Jews or Muslims, you will run out of business.

3. Look for Quality Supplies

Ensure you enlist a reliable and quality supplier of your food. Some businesses rely on organic farmers within the locality for supplies. But if you are dealing with high demand, then you need to look for a more conventional commercial producer to meet the numbers.

This, however, is purely determined by the niche market you choose. Check out the certification of your growers and ensure food produced is quality.

4. Have a Marketing Game Plan

Marketing is extremely important for the food industry. When you open one, devise ways into which you will get your customers and also how to make them keep on coming.

This has a combination of factors including quality food, good service, and discounts. Check on the information about quality before you order.

5. Hire a Star Chef/ Seller

Generally, human beings put a lot of importance on the person providing food as explained on why a mother’s food is always sweet. Ensure you get a chef who gets nearer to that trust of a mother in terms of quality of food. A star chef will draw people from far and wide to flock your food joint.

It doesn’t only apply for a chef but also that seller who builds confidence with buyers especially in both quality and quantity.

The Don’ts

There are some issues you should either avoid completely or reduce their use. Here, we give you a list of 5 things to avoid if you are wondering how to start a food business from home.

1. Spreading Yourself Wide

Well, your business plan says you need to serve a thousand people in a month. As much as you think this goal is achievable, don’t go out there in full force to ensure this goal is met.

Let your business take baby steps and mature in time. Don’t think of opening branches everywhere else before you satisfy the customers you have.

2. Avoid Buying in Bulk

There is always the benefit of buying in bulk as it ensures you get discounts. However, for some perishable food, you need to be slow especially when your business has just started. Because you are not certain the number of people who will come, you stand making huge losses when this food goes bad.

3. Manage Your Marketing Budget, You Are Not a Multinational

If you are just starting a burger shop in your city, you are competing against multinationals like Mc Donalds and Burger King. Ensure you have a decent marketing budget, but don’t compete with multinationals. They will beat you at your game.

Instead, develop a different marketing scheme that prevails to the locals to shop at your business. You still can get sales despite having a small budget.

4. Ignoring a Customer’s Complaint

When it’s a new business, you will get many people complimenting you for the type of food and service you are offering. They even give suggestions on how you can improve the joint. Some of these suggestions are complaints hidden in compliments. Be quick to pick on them and evaluate how you can rectify.

In the event someone is open and out-right critical of the service, don’t take offense but look at a way of making it right. A single dissatisfied customer can ruin your entire investment.

5. Don’t Ignore Safety Requirements

Safety requirements are critical for a food business. Ensure your workers are protected against fire and spillage both in the form of safety clothing as well as a quality insurance scheme. As a start-up, you don’t want to find yourself fighting compensation claims in a court of law.

Also, train your workers on how to minimize accidents and how to handle an emergency. There should be direct contacts with the fire department, ER and the police, just in case.

Starting a Small Food Business Is Easy, but Requires a Diligent Mind

There are many ideas on how to start a small food business. However, knowing why you choose this business and not another allows you to make clear investment choices. You won’t fail in getting quality suppliers, getting licenses and buying equipment. But you can fail if you take your mind off your business for a minute.

There are more tips you can get at Actwitty especially on managing small businesses and how you can transform a start-up to a profitable entity. You can also get personal tips on diet, fitness and overall wellness. These will give you a chance to explore ways of surviving in a competitive business environment.