The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly transformed the way people order food, with many opting to order through food delivery apps even after everything is back to normal. So, if you’re opening a food business, there are many things you need to keep in mind to ensure you are at par with your competitors. While the food industry may be one of the most lucrative sectors today, getting started does not come easy. There are a lot of factors to consider before you can get on board. Here are some tips for starting your own food business.
- Choose the Location Carefully
Choosing the location of your business is one of the crucial factors to consider for profitability. Accessibility and parking can be as important as great food and service to your business’s success. The location influences various aspects of your operation, such as the menu and style of dining areas. If you already have a place in mind, do not get too attached until you are sure it has the requirements for a successful food business.
When deciding on the location, four essential factors will come into play – parking, accessibility, visibility, and population base. Ideally, the area should have a parking lot. But if that’s not an option, consider partnering with a nearby establishment willing to share its parking space. If you want to attract as many customers as possible, make your business easily accessible for them. Choose a location that’s easy to locate, such as in city centres or shopping malls.
Visibility is another factor to consider when looking for a location. People should know that your restaurant exists. Therefore, choose an area with high visibility to bring in plenty of walk-in customers. More importantly, several people should live or pass through it to keep your business busy. Therefore, determine an area’s population base when scouting for locations.
- Hire the Right People
The best way to start your business is to have the right people in your team. Once you onboard a new employee, they should help your business be productive. Hiring the wrong person could require plenty of your time for follow-ups, retraining, and even disciplinary action. Unlike the best employees, these poor performers will only use up your time, keeping you from performing the more essential tasks.
Having the right person right from the start ensures they grow with you and contribute to the overall success of your business, minimising the need to hire for every new leadership position you may need to open down the line.
Hiring well-skilled employees at the start of your business can save you significant hiring costs that could drain your funding. Add the time you need to train a new hire, and you’ll have quite an investment. If it doesn’t work out, the money and time you invested will only go to waste, and that’s one of the things you need to avoid when starting a business.
- Know your Food Hygiene
Knowing food hygiene is critical when starting a food business since they ensure the safety of the food you prepare and serve to customers. If you fail to maintain proper food safety and hygiene, your customers can get ill from food poisoning or other illnesses. So, consider taking up some great food safety courses online that can help you be in the know on the latest on food hygiene regulations.
A safe and sanitary workplace can help improve productivity. Therefore, establishing a food safety and hygiene policy can help ensure that all employees can contribute to proper work practices. Employees must also undergo training on how to handle food safely.
Businesses in the food industry must maintain cleanliness at all times, especially in the area where they prepare food. The kitchen should be clean and sanitary. Before, during, and after cooking, the workspace, utensils, and cooking equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Between handling foods, all cooking equipment and tools, including knives and chopping boards, should undergo a thorough cleaning.
- Provide Allergy Information
As per the law, food businesses must provide allergen information while adhering to some labelling rules on Food Safety Laws. All food business operations should indicate the allergen information on pre-packed and non-pre-packed food and drink. In addition, staff should effectively manage and handle food allergens during food preparation. Food business operators must also ensure that workers receive proper training on allergens.
Staff and managers should undergo food allergy training to be familiar with the 14 allergens. They must inform customers if the food they provide has any of these allergens as an ingredient. It is also the same for processing aids, additives, and other substances in the final food products.
There are various ways in which food businesses can provide allergen information to customers. They must choose the method best for their business and the kind of food they serve. Pre-packed foods are those that they place into packaging before putting them on sale. On the other hand, non-prepacked foods refer to unpackaged food items. Different labelling rules will apply depending on how they prepare or provide the food.
- Optimise Your Menu
Menu optimisation is one of the hallmarks of food businesses in this day and age. It focuses on how establishments mix, stretch, and get creative with ingredients to lower food production costs. Aside from saving money, menu optimisation will make your customers happy and satisfied and make your business stand out from competitors.
The first step to menu optimisation is to take stock of your menu and edit it accordingly. Find out which items bring in more orders and which don’t. Drop those low in demand and popularity since they will only bleed money.
Retain those items earning the minimum average profit margin of 3%. Some restaurants have menu items with a profit margin of up to 70%! If several food items are on your menu, your customers could get overwhelmed choosing what to order. Psychologists advise a limit of seven options for every food category to avoid confusing your customers.