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Ecwid Stores Examples For Food and Restaurant Businesses@2x-8

How To Start Selling Food from Home

13 min read

Starting a home food business can be a big decision for a young entrepreneur. Aside from the fact that the steps involved can be tricky to execute successfully, the food industry is also strict on what and who enters it. This is due to the high regard for safety since whatever food item you sell can affect the health of the people who eat it.

Despite the challenges in front of you, if you believe selling food from home is the right business idea for you, then we’re here to help! Let us help you get to know some of the basics on how to start selling food from home. This guide will discuss all the steps you need to take, from what to note in your business plan, to getting a business license, home/kitchen verification, and marketing even your food.

Let’s dive right in!

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Step 1: Have a Solid Business Plan

So, you’ve decided to start selling your food products from your home kitchen. Awesome! And getting started will be a piece of cake, right? Well, whether or not you are actually selling cake, there’s more to selling food than just deciding to follow your grandmother’s recipe and make millions on a beloved staple. While most home food selling businesses are the result of passion or hobby for cooking or baking, you still need to have a solid business plan to be successful at the actual selling part. Below are a few things to consider when making your business plan:

Know what you are selling

Finding your food niche is an important part of selling food from a home kitchen. Do you have a family recipe that you think can take the market by storm? If not, do you have a food product with the ability to have a profound effect on the market, or revolutionize a certain niche? For example, food such as a sugarless cake that tastes as good as any other? If you fall into the category of young entrepreneurs with a recipe that can take the market by storm, you can move to the next step. However, if you’re an entrepreneur with a passion for what you do, but no product idea, below are possible food trends you can use to jumpstart your creativity:

  • Gourmet dishes
  • Dietary restrictions e.g., allergen-free, gluten-free, nut-free.
  • Vegan, vegetarian
  • Candy, Packaged snacks
  • Baked good ingredient kits
  • Coffee and tea

After gaining some understanding of what you want to sell, you should focus on the specific food product you want to start making. This is because, in your food niche, you (and your coworkers if you have them) should be very familiar with your product and niche. And the best way to become an expert is to start small—with only one product to learn about. Being an expert will give you an edge in the market.

Market research

Now that you have that perfect food product in mind, you shouldn’t test its viability before rushing into the market at full force. To do this, you need to research your market to know how your product will fare in a real-life situation where it’s being sold. Possible questions you should look to answer include:

Is there a market for this product?

Having the right recipe is not enough. You have to know whether there are people out there that will buy your food.

The market might be saturated. How is your product different?

No matter how well-executed your dish is, the likelihood that someone already has such a brilliant idea like yours and is selling the exact food/food product is fairly high. Therefore, you should expect some level of market saturation. However, quality can give you an edge in any home food selling business. Therefore, you should consider the differences your product has from other products on the market, its potential, and how you might make it even more unique.

Is there an untapped niche?

If you think your niche is too saturated for your product idea to make a splash, you can either improve on your food product or find a different, untapped niche. Before you consider this option, you might want to note that different products perform better in front of different audiences and that expanding your marketplace, say, through using an ecommerce platform, can open you up to a wider range of potential customers.

Get to know your competitors

Another part of effective market research is getting to know your competitors. The level of engagement you will get for your store depends on the quality you offer, and the competition you have. While it’s true that the higher your quality with respect to price (aka the better value for money that your customers perceive), the better your engagement will likely be. However, the more competition you have, the fewer people will notice and ultimately choose your product. So, to be effective here, you must be able to answer the following questions:

  • Are there other people selling the food you sell from home or are there big enterprises selling the same food products in your area?
  • Will competition affect the demand for your specific food?
  • What will set your food item apart from other products in the market?

Knowing your competition will help you in your business plan. You can use their mistakes to build up your game and up your plan to be advantageous.

Step 2: Get the Necessary Permits

One of the popular questions young entrepreneurs ask is “can you sell food online without a license?” The answer depends on the country you live and want to sell in. However, in many major developed countries, you need to get a permit or two before you can start a home-based food-selling business. Therefore, after setting up the right business plan, the next thing to do is to understand the permits you’ll need to do business. For people living in the United States, you might need three: a business license, a food handling license, and a kitchen inspection.

Business license

A business license is the permit to get to first be able to sell food items to people in the United States. You can check more on getting a business license by checking the US Small Business Administration.

Food handling license and kitchen inspection

To approve your business, food inspectors must check three areas of your home business:

Hygienic food handling

They will check for safe food preparation, cooking, and storage. They will also try to find out whether you cool and/or reheat food items.

Home physical condition

They will check your home based on the following criteria: cleanliness, ventilation, and pest control measures.

Food safety management

They will check for evidence that you adhere to food safety precautions. For example, they will check if you have a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) system in place.

To make sure you do not encounter any issues, everybody working with you will require training to an appropriate level. However, if you feel unsure about anything, you should check out our article on getting a business license.

Labeling

Another important requirement for selling food from home involves the need for food labeling. Any pre-packaged food must be labeled. What is required to be on the food label depends on your state. However, the required information may include best-before dates, nutritional information, allergen warnings, and country of origin.

Knowing food hygiene, safety systems, allergens, and labeling can help you in being legally compliant. Consequently, you would not have any problem legally.

Step 4: Marketing Your Home

Marketing your home food delivery business is another important thing you should consider before getting off the ground. But have no fear! We’re here to help you get the basics down. One thing about selling food from home is you cannot rely on taste testing as a marketing tool. Therefore, you have to connect to your customers in another way. Below are two important ways to market your home food delivery business.

Offline marketing

Your home food business will possibly kick off through offline marketing. Although the success of offline marketing will depend highly on the quality of services you offer. You can also generate buzz locally by doing the following:

  • Participating in farmers markets
  • Partnering with restaurants to host a tasting event.
  • Hosting a private dinner/dessert for food influencers.

Social media

Social media is the easiest way to market your home-selling food business. You can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc., to get your brand out to your local environment.

The best thing about using social media is that it is free. Therefore, you can easily and creatively put your business out. However, to introduce your home business using social media, make sure the social media account has your business name and contact details.

Step 4: Making Sales

After spending so much time planning, the most important part is how to make sales from your newly founded food-selling business. There are two main ways to make sales with this type of business model. You can leverage your food quality and freshness and make sales locally. However, for the widest access to potential customers, ecommerce is your best bet for making your business really work for you. Below are a few important ways ecommerce will help you.

Gaining access to new customers

Using the tool of ecommerce can expose your business to multiple locations all over the world wide web. But you shouldn’t consider your business and “either or.” You can sell to customers both through a physical storefront and online.

Review system

According to statistics, before buying a product, 95% of people check out some product and store reviews. Therefore, by using ecommerce, you can enjoy the review features that it has. Consequently, you can easily get reviews from your existing customers to convince your potential customers that you can deliver quality services

Delivery

Another thing you have to consider with an ecommerce or physical ordering system is how to deliver your products. You can make use of delivery companies, courier services, etc. However, choose the delivery service that assures the fast delivery service needed in the food industry. You can also utilize the options such as pre-order, pickup from your location, local delivery to boost your sales.

Final Thoughts

The food industry is a challenging business idea due to its regulation of what and who enters it. Therefore, starting a home food business can be a little tricky for many people. To enter the business space, you need to consider a lot of things. Therefore, this article discussed every step you need to take to be successful as a home-based food selling business owner. Follow the steps above and you will be able to adapt seamlessly to the home-based food selling industry.

Do you want to learn more about selling food online?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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