How Can I Start A Gourmet Food Business?

Food is big business. People spend more on food annually than any other expenses. This includes shopping at the grocery store to eating out. Let’s face it. People love to eat and they love to eat good food. If you have ever considered yourself an exceptional chef, capable of whipping up specialty items, you might consider going into the gourmet food business. But you may not have ever tried to start your own business. You might find yourself in unfamiliar territory and end up wondering how can I start a gourmet food business?

The gourmet food industry is very competitive. Whether you want to open a restaurant or want to package your own product to put on store shelves, you are going to have to work hard to succeed. The plus side is that a successful gourmet business can be very profitable. Eating out has become the number one past-time in the United States. Also, with more media coverage of the food industry (think Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, Emeril, Iron Chef), more and more people want to eat gourmet. If you want to learn how can I start a gourmet food business, then try the steps below.

Decide on What Type Of Gourmet Food

This is the big decision, especially if you like to cook a lot of different things. You need to decide what your product is going to be because that will determine how you go about setting it up. For instance, if you want to open a restaurant, you are going to need to rent a place, hire some help, figure out a menu, and a thousand other decisions. If you want to make a gourmet product to sell at supermarkets or restaurants, then you are going to need a marketing plan, packaging, shipping details, and a lot more. So the type of gourmet business will define how you get your business started.

There are many gourmet food businesses you can try out. You can open a restaurant, own a catering service, offer bartending services, become a wine maker or start a brewery, become a food sculptor, start your own line of specialty sauces, open up a gourmet bakery or deli, start an organic garden, become a personal chef, and create gourmet candies.

Deciding A Gourmet Food Busines Location

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Once you have decided on the right gourmet food business for you, the next step is choosing the right location for the gourmet food business. The location is going to be defined by the type of business. In some cases, you can do everything right in your own home. Breweries, wineries, catering services, home bakery, organic gardens; all of these can probably be operated from you house and you can even get a tax break for it. Other types of gourmet businesses will need a separate location. Restaurants, of course, will need the proper space for both customers and kitchen. The same goes for if you want to open a bakery or deli. Space for these businesses can be smaller than a restaurant but you’ll still have to find the right spot.

Gourmet Food Business Equipment

Once you have decided where you are going to conduct your gourmet business, you are next going to need to purchase the right gourmet food business equipment. You may need to get some additional cooking ware, utensils, ingredients, and the like. If your business is catering, you are going to need containers to transport the food in plus a means of transportation. When you are just starting out, you can probably use your own vehicle but as your business grows, you may need a van. Restaurants, delis, and bakeries will need the proper kitchen equipment. Luckily, you can rent most commercial kitchen equipment which is much cheaper than buying it. If your gourmet business is selling packaged goods such as sauces, then you will need packaging containers, labels, boxes for shipping, and maybe even a storage area.

Make Sure You Have The Right Licenses

The food industry is heavily regulated by the U.S. government. Not just anyone can operate a food business. The government wants to make sure that your operation meets with federal health standards. You don’t want people getting sick because your business conditions are dirty and unsanitary. So you have to apply for the right licenses and permits before you can start selling your wares. Go to your local health department and find out what specific health codes you will have to follow for your business.

Get The Word Out

Now that you have everything set up for your new gourmet food business, you need to let people know about it. The way to do this is advertising. Start advertising before you actually open the doors to your business, that way people will be aware of it beforehand and ready to try it out when you open. Try advertising in local newspapers, radio ads, fliers, and even word of mouth. Give out discount coupons for the first 100 customers or include one free product with all orders. Remember, the competition in the industry is fierce so when starting out, you need to do everything possible to get people to try your product. If it is a quality product, then you will already have an edge over the competition.