If you’ve received many compliments on your cooking, but you’re not too keen on opening a restaurant (long hours, evenings and weekends, and a competitive market), there are other ways you can turn your food passion into a food business.
Some Food Business Ideas to Consider
1) Meal Delivery Business
In a time-poor society, families have less time to cook, but they’re still after nutritious home-cooked meals. If you’re skilled at making wholesome dinners, consider starting a meal delivery business — it’s like catering for everyday life.
While you still need a food-grade kitchen, meal delivery businesses are relatively cheaper to start (and run) because you don’t need to worry about all the extra expenses a dine-in venue usually needs to attend to (e.g., decor, furniture, waitstaff). You provide your customers — who are subscribed to your service — with a menu (normally on a weekly basis), which you cook and deliver to their door.
But while meal delivery services usually mean the meals are cooked by the chef, it can also refer to meal kits, where the chef prepares recipes and pre-measured ingredients, but the customers cook the meals themselves. Regardless, in both circumstances, having a great chef and a tasty menu are essential to success.
As a caterer, you’ll be feeding people on the most important days of their lives, making food for milestones like weddings and graduation parties.
Much like meal delivery services, catering removes the need for a storefront, but the expenses will depend on what type of catering business you choose to run. Some caterers only do delivery, while others cater onsite. Even within these catering types there are many variations; some onsite caterers may prefer to use a venue’s kitchen, while others may cook using a catering truck.
Unlike meal delivery services (sometimes also called home-catering), caterers usually cook on a case-by-case basis. Caterers still have a menu customers can choose from, but cooking for events requires different types of food (like finger food) so while there’s plenty of variety, this also means you don’t need to come up with a different menu every week!
3) Food Truck
While some catering companies may use a truck as their kitchen, a food truck entrepreneur uses the truck as a storefront as well.
Unlike running a meal delivery service or a catering business, if you are running a food truck, you’re less likely to need to cook in bulk. In fact, cooking and serving food on an order-to-order basis makes food trucks similar to dine-in venues — but again — without the extra expenses of a brick-and-mortar restaurant with staff, tables, decor, and maintenance.
Running a food truck business means you probably don’t want to settle too long in one location: you want the opportunity to travel to share your delicious food with new people. As we’ve covered before, Canadian Food Truck Festivals have 14 events across five locations throughout Ontario, which provides your business with a consistent cooking schedule ahead.
Get Started on Your New Food Business
If you’re still not sure how much to invest in your new food business, consider using a commercial kitchen to start your new home delivery or catering company. OAFVC’s food grade facility can save you money on space, training and storage — and you can access business networks to learn from. You can also consult our specialists on which rules and regulations apply to your business.
You can get started on creating a business strategy with this FREE business planning checklist. Download it for practical suggestions on using equipment, getting business advice, and networking within the industry.