Opening a food business, you have long dreamed of can be very exciting. You envision a beautifully laid out eatery filled with endless customers enjoying your tasty creations. But in order to experience the wildly successful business enterprise you want to grow, there are a number of very important things you must have. These things will help to ensure your food business does not become one of the thousands that are forced to close prematurely each year. Having these elements will help to increase the chances your business will be a rousing success for many years to come.
1. A Business Plan
In order to turn your dream of a popular, successful, profitable, business into a reality, you need a good, feasible, business plan. Your business plan should contain several crucial elements. First, you must come up with a business concept. You must decide if your food business is a food truck, a quick-service restaurant, a catering business or a full-service restaurant. Next, you have to decide if you will register it as a sole proprietorship, a general partnership or Limited Liability Corporation.
Other Essential Elements
Your business plan should also list your target market, where the business will be located, the price range of your products, your featured dishes and the food and beverages you will offer. Your company name, logo, budget, equipment, inventory and marketing and branding strategy should also be included in your business plan. It should also list what you anticipate your fixed and variable expenses like rent and utilities will be. You will also need to list how many employees you need to get started and the role each of them will play. The members of your management team must also be included.
As you begin to flesh out your business plan, one of the most important elements you must put in place is a financial plan. Getting a food business off the ground and keeping it running until it becomes profitable enough to sustain itself requires solid financial resources. You have to know how much money you will need to secure your ideal location and purchase the equipment and supplies that’s required to set up your food business. You must also decide where you will get the money you need. Will you use your savings, get money from investors, apply for a business loan or use a combination of the three?
3. Getting The Right Equipment
To do well in the food business, you need the right equipment. This enables you to prepare and serve your food properly. You have to get quality stoves, ovens, microwaves, steam tables, grills, fryers, refrigerators, freezers and ice machines. You also need good work surfaces, sauce pots, baking and frying pans, plates, glassware and flatware. Macy Hooper from VegaDirect.ca says that silverware should have handles that are comfortable in the hand. For many people, knives, forks and spoons with well-shaped, substantial, handles enhance the dining experience by adding style and class. Food businesses must also have attractive tables, chairs, tablecloths, placemats and napkins. The right furnishings are needed to create a décor, environment and ambiance that customers will love. Getting all these things takes vision, research and lots of money.
4. Licenses and Permits
To operate a food business, you need several different types of licenses and permits that have stringent requirements. In addition to the Employer Identification Number issued by the federal government, you also need a business license, a food service license, a Certificate of Occupancy, a liquor license and a tavern license if you want to sell beer, wine, and hard liquor. If you plan to have a space where your customers can dance, you also need a cabaret license. You must also make sure your establishment meets all health and safety codes. Food business regulations are very strict because the customers eat and drink the products.
The food business is labor intensive. It requires talented workers with very specific skill sets that can work well together. That includes the management team, menu developers, chefs, kitchen staff, wait staff, busboys and the cleaning crew. The back-of-house staff and the members of the front-of-house team that you hire must understand your vision and be on the same page. You need the right size staff to create a foundation you can build on and a few stars that can attract attention and customers. You also need an innovative marketing team and competent, experienced people to handle the finances.
6. Effective Marketing Activities
Marketing your food business effectively is just as important as creating nutritious, delicious, attractive dishes with a mouthwatering aroma. Good marketing gets people interested in your food, your chef and the ambiance in your food business. But you have to make as many people as possible aware of your company’s existence. That means flooding social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, placing ads on local television and radio stations and in local newspapers, handing out flyers, putting up banners and hosting attention-grabbing marketing events. Lots of companies with great products fail because their marketing activities were ineffective.
7. A Good Point of Sale System
A good point of sale system can provide a wide array of benefits. Modern POS systems can manage reservations, customize table layouts, print kitchen orders, accurately split customer bills, run open customer tabs and improve communication between front-of-house staff and back-office management. A good POS system can help with business activity reporting, providing insightful analytics, help management identify trends quickly, help implement inventory and staffing changes and offer countless other features and functionalities to make running a food business smoother, easier and more profitable.
Building a successful food business takes vision, planning, creativity, and hard work. Great food, friendly, competent, staff, and a wonderful, welcoming, atmosphere are necessary, but not sufficient. An effective marketing strategy is also essential. It can create excitement about your business and draw countless new customers to it. Providing excellent customer service, paying attention to customer comments, listening to and following sage advice and quickly making necessary changes also helps. These are all the things you need when opening a small food business.