The food industry is known to be one of the most lucrative industries. With the concept of eating out and outsourcing food services becoming more popular and evolved, the chances of profitable venturing are high. Due to the pandemic, we have seen new kinds of food business ideas taking shape in the industry and new revenue streams being formed.
To be successful in the food industry you have to be very driven, focused and relentless. Having an entrepreneurial spirit and mind-set where you are ready to face challenges and learn from your mistakes is important.
You have to be able to handle complex operations and sometimes manage everything on your own. You would also need to have extensive knowledge about food, marketing, business operations, financial planning combined with hospitality skills.
Why to start a food business?
Start a food business because there is a lot of potential for growth in the Industry. Lots of people have started eating out in India as a norm and food is not just a necessity anymore, it’s a part of every celebration.
According to a recent statistic by www.ibef.org, The Indian gourmet food market is currently valued at US$ 1.3 billion and is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20 percent. India’s organic food market will increase by four times by 2022
The online food ordering business in India has seen tremendous growth over the years. There was a huge surge in the number of online orders during the pandemic as reported by food delivery apps. With online food delivery players like Zomato, UberEats and Swiggy building scale through partnerships, the organised food business has a huge potential and a promising future.
Selection of type of food business
The food industry includes practices like farming and agriculture, food manufacturing, packaging, distribution, catering, retail services, and export options. Nowadays, online delivery of frozen foods, ready-to-eat food products, and grocery items are also becoming popular.
The types of restaurants that you can choose to set up could vary from Casual or fine-dining restaurants, Cloud kitchen to Food trucks and Cafes. (Read more)
There are a variety of options to explore when it comes to starting a business in the food industry. Make sure your idea is unique and at the same time, sustainable. While deciding, ask yourself what type of business would turn out to be profitable for you? You can check and discuss your food business ideas with friends and family and know their views. Your choice of food business would impact every other decision and process involved in the setting up of your business and preparing a business plan.
Creating a business plan
Having a business plan in place is necessary to know if your idea would be profitable or not. You can do this by yourself or you can hire a food consultant to help you guide. You need to figure out how much would be your investment and operational expenditure which will help you decide your food cost and menu pricing. Keep a profit margin that allows you to break-even within 2 years and gives you a suitable return on investment (ROI). Proper financial planning will help you forecast your future sales. While writing your business plan, make sure it is concise and easy to understand.
Deciding the USP
What is that one thing unique about your restaurant that will attract people to your restaurant? Your Unique selling proposition or USP is that one thing about your business that sets you apart from other food businesses. This would keep your target clientele coming back to your restaurant for your services time and again. It could either be something about your food products, or ambiance, or even your offers and promotions.
Selecting equipment for your food business
The equipment you would need for your food business would range from kitchen appliances, utensils, Electronics, etc. You will need to decide how many ovens, kitchen stoves, grills, walk-in refrigerators, etc you need for your business. For this, it is best to involve your chef. He will be able to guide you and prepare the list of necessary equipment based on their features and functions.
While choosing the equipment for your restaurant, some of the things that you can keep in mind are the cost of each unit, how energy-efficient they are, the type of restaurant you have, and space you are utilizing. Some equipment will go with your restaurant layout while others won’t. All these factors can affect the choice of your equipment.
Deciding your food menu
This step is crucial for the success of your food business. Having fail-proof recipes doesn’t come easily, a lot and a lot of food trials have to be done to prepare the final food menu. Decide your menu according to local produce and prepare fresh foods. This is because it’ll give you a better taste and is cheaper than the frozen food items you need to finalize ingredients and their quantities and also choose relevant vendors.
You’ll want to do market research to determine what kind of menu and pricing works well for your area. Carefully work with your chef to create simple yet appealing menus. You’ll also need to research food sources and suppliers for the best quality products at reasonable prices.
Always have takeaway options in your menu as well. This would mean your customers get to choose between takeout and dine-in options.
Selecting vendors for your food business
Purchasing and suppliers form an integral part of any business. They are crucial for delivering high-quality products to your customers. Your vendors directly play a role in influencing the brand voice and customer experience of your business. If you are setting up a business, you need to know who would be the best suppliers for your business. To know this, do proper research, read reviews about the vendors, and talk to their existing clients in the market. While choosing a vendor, you would need to keep in mind their consistency, timings, quality, and prices that they deliver at.
To remain cost-effective, try to be close with your local vendors to make sure that you’re ordering the right quantity of food to avoid unnecessary wastage. Nowadays, there are many Eco-friendly options for packaging as well that a business can explore.
Staffing for your food business
As a restaurant or a food business owner, it is important that you have a team with you that will help you achieve goals for your restaurant. This would include hiring
- a restaurant or outlet manager to manage,
- kitchen staff to prepare delicious food for your customers,
- pot-washers and Dishwashers for maintenance,
- waiters and servers for serving at your restaurant.
Initially, you do not want to go overboard with hiring because your restaurant would not be making enough profit to pay them. Training your staff according to your requirements and SOPs is also a requirement. You need to let them know what the restaurant stands for and what is expected out of them. A happy staff would make for happy customers so make sure to have scheduled offs. rewards and incentives for your restaurant staff. Scheduling is done in restaurants by making Duty Rotas. This is usually done by the Manager itself.
Use of technology
As a restaurant owner whose priority is to control food cost, you should use technological solutions in your restaurant. You’ll benefit greatly from capable POS systems and inventory control systems. While you can still track inventory as well as sales using spreadsheets and handwritten notes, you don’t have to do that anymore. You’ll have more accurate results and usable reports by updating to a modern food-tracking system.
Technologies that will help you include food-tracking software, nutritional analysis software, inventory control software, handheld inventory trackers, food monitors, digital menu displays, tableside ordering.
Licensing your food business
To run a restaurant in India, you have to have proper licenses and permits. You would have to register it with the government and buy an FSSAI, along with some other licenses for it as per your establishment.
You will need a Liquor license if you want to sell alcohol in your restaurant. Trade license, Establishment, and Fire Safety Licenses are amongst other licenses that you would need for your setup. State government bodies or their respective sites issue these licenses.
Marketing your food business
As a food business owner, you can leverage the power of Social media to create memorable experiences for your restaurant. Social media interactions are two-way, driven by both businesses and consumers. Today, businesses have a much bigger ability and responsibility to inspire and connect with consumers.
Trusted brands are more likely to attract business, and social media is a powerful tool to create engagement, gain feedback, and build that trust with your audience.
Get your restaurant listed on various sites such as zomato, swiggy, dineout, and tripadvisor. Engage with your customers and invite them to leave good reviews for you.
Have an online website in place for your brand. This will build credibility and increase the visibility of your food business.
Make use of email marketing for your brand. Sending mails to your customers about new offers and launches will attract them to your restaurant.
Starting your own food business would be a journey where every step is like a milestone in itself. Each aspect of your business would require you to be on your toes and make sound decisions. For this, having knowledge about hiring the right staff, getting the correct equipment, buying from the best vendors, and having a marketing strategy is important.
Once you have all the knowledge and access to the resources, you will be in a place to lead a successful venture and start your journey.