Turning A Hobby Into A Business: Setting Up Your Own Food Business

dreamstime_xs_22002580 (2)There are now many food blogs and budding food writers on the internet. Many of these often go on to publish their own cookbooks and recipe collections. However, there are also some who break into the food business and set up their very own food business. Whether it is a restaurant or catering business, both options are very lucrative in today’s market. Do you think you are ready to make this leap from amateur foodie to full-time cook? It’s certainly an exciting transition to make, but not a decision that should be made lightly. If this is the next career step for you, here are some handy tips to get you started.

Money And Finance

Setting up your very own business can be a big expense. One of the best ways to afford it is to save up enough money while you are still in your full-time job. However, if you don’t have much chance to save your wages, there are other ways to fund your new food venture. Some councils offer grants to new companies. This is to encourage new business development in their local area. The government also has some funding available to new companies around the country. One of the best things about applying for grants like these is that you will not be required to pay them back. If your application is unsuccessful, you could speak to your bank manager about a loan. Just be aware that you will need to pay this back, and the interest rates could be very high.

Training And Certificates

When you work full-time with food, you will be required to get certain certificates and have training in food hygiene. This is to make sure you know how to handle all food correctly so that you do not put any of your customers’ health at risk. If you do not have the correct certificates or yours are out of date, then you will be running an illegal business and could be forced to close down. One of the most important certificates for any food business is the food hygiene certificate. All of your employees will need to have this unless they work in an admin role and never come into contact with food. You should check with your local council to see where your nearest training course is located.

Restaurant Or Catering?

Now you need to decide whether you want to start a restaurant or catering company. Restaurants can be expensive to start as you will need to find a permanent fixed address. Whereas you can start off with running a catering company from home. You will also need staff for your restaurant from day one. Depending on the size of your catering company, you could get away with working on your own for the first few months. There is one idea that is a happy medium between a restaurant and a catering company: a street-food stall. Street food is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and there are now more and more food markets popping up around the country. One great advantage of owning a street-food stall is that you can travel around the country if you wish. Many people use markets as a way to test out their ideas before they commit to opening a restaurant. If your stall is popular, then you know there is a good chance a restaurant will also be a hit. You could also use the money you make at markets to fund your restaurant opening.

Equipment

Once you have decided the type of business you want to open, you will need to start thinking about equipment. Culinary equipment can be very expensive, so you should set a good part of your budget to one side to afford it all. As this is a professional venture, there is no point saving money and buying cheap brands and appliances. Investing a bit more of your money into your equipment means you will buy high-quality products that last a long time and produce good food. You also need to think about the finishing touches that will shape customers’ perceptions of your business. Things like decorative features, as well as practical elements such as cutlery and tableware. Catering table cloths from Richard Haworth are high-end products that are also extremely practical. Practical because they help cut down on mess. You should aim for this level of quality and practicality when buying your products and equipment. Then your business will definitely look the part.

At some point or another, you will need to hire staff. If you open a restaurant, you will need a team in the kitchen as well as a front of house team. Culinary businesses don’t require quite as much staff. If you do all the cooking yourself, you may only need a couple of people sorting out admin and front of house during events. Whenever you are looking to employ people within the catering industry, it is always a good idea to hire people who have previous experience. Front of house staff should already have experience in customer-facing roles and be skilled in customer service. This way, they will be able to deal swiftly with any complaints from customers on the rare occasions they occur. Kitchen staff will need to know everything about health and safety and a food hygiene certificate is an absolute must!

Marketing

Just before you launch your business, you need to start some marketing so that there is a good buzz around your big opening. One of the easiest ways to market these days is on social media. Sign up to Facebook and Twitter so that you can spread the word about your new business. If you promote your posts, more people in your local area will find out about your new restaurant or catering company. Don’t forget about traditional marketing methods, though. Printing out flyers can be very useful. Take them to a food market and hand them out to let people know that you will soon be on the local food scene!

Good luck in your new venture!

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