Take The Advice Of These Seasoned Professionals To Start Your Own Food Business And Find Success
Living your dream as a foodie entrepreneur is possible with the help of Cooking Up a Business.
In these sections you’ll discover strategies, tips, and real-life stories of those who have made it in the food industry.
From understanding official regulations to giving out freebies, this book provides all that you need to know on how to start your own successful business in the food industry.
Plus, it emphasizes on why meeting customer needs is the key to success!
Whether you simply love cooking for others or have long desired to own your own business in the culinary world, Cooking Up a Business will show you just how simple (or complex) your journey will be – arming you with the information and experience needed to make it big.
Dreams Aren’T Bound By Finances – Put Your Resourcefulness To The Test
Lack of funding doesn’t have to be a limitation when starting a business, especially one in the food industry.
Take Maddy D’Amato and Alex Hasulak, founders of Love Grown Foods, for example.
They had limited financing when they began making granola based on Maddy’s family recipes while still at college.
But rather than give up their dream they used their resourcefulness and worked hard by day while cooking and hand-packing batches of granola at night in a catering kitchen.
This showed that with hard work and creative problem-solving you can start your food business with very little money.
As well as this, you should also feel comfortable with selling your product even before you have made it, which may sound risky but will help save unnecessary costs.
By taking risks like these, D’Amato and Hasulak went on to close big deals such as firstly with some local coffee shops then the Aspen City Market and finally King Soopers which stocked their product in 40 stores!
All within 18 months!
It demonstrates how setting ambitious goals along with dedication and resourcefulness can help launch a successful food business out of virtually nothing!
Successful Food Businesses Don’T Always Start With A Clear Product Idea – Live In Trial And Error
When starting a food business, it’s not necessary to have a clear product idea from the start – often the best ideas evolve through trial and error.
However, one thing that should remain constant throughout is your brand story.
Take, for example, Zak Zaidman’s experience with Kopali Organics.
His intention was to support organic farmers in Costa Rica, but he struggled to figure out what product was going to be successful.
Eventually he settled on banana vinegar as well as importing chocolate, dried fruits and other products – but it was his chocolate that ended up being popular!
That success can be attributed to Zaidman having a genuine brand story – organic, fair-trade produce – that resonated with customers no matter what product they were buying or eating.
Similarly Shannan Swanson and Liane Weintraub started off wanting to provide children with organic baby food, but their brilliant idea of marketing their snacks towards kids made them realise there was more potential here than just baby food.
Yet they still remained true to their core attributes: genuine, all-organic and fun – making them successful regardless of whatever product they produced.
Scaling A Food Business: Learning When To Stay Involved And When To Take A Step Back
When it comes to scaling a small business, the challenge is real.
Many successful food entrepreneurs start out with a recipe cooked in their home kitchen and moving up to multi-state business is no easy feat.
Mary Waldner proved this when she started her gluten-free product brand Mary Gone Crackers.
They were an instant hit with friends but with growing popularity, her team decided to open a co-packing operation.
However, this presented other problems for Waldner as she had less control over the end product and the quality of the crackers was not up to her standards.
Determined to take the next step in scaling, Waldner secured venture capital and opened her own factory.
With complete control over the production process, Waldner was able to raise the quality of her crackers and allow her brand and company grow at a slower but more steady pace.
On the other hand, Phil Anson faced a different problem while trying to sell fresh burritos as a wholesale product – tough food regulations which he could not satisfy even after moving production from his cabin to a commercial kitchen requiring USDA approved facilities.
This prompted him to switch from fresh food products that were hard to scale for the wholesale market, to frozen ones instead which are far simpler to scale.
And indeed it worked – Anson’s Evol brand of frozen burritos is now stocked in 7000 stores compared to 400 when he was selling fresh food products!
This goes on to show that entrepreneurs need to be conscious of management challenges associated with scaling and be willing to stay in control of production or change direction if needed so as not compromise on quality or have their product become inaccessible due such regulations!
How To Make Your Food Business Thrive Without Ample Funds
If you’re looking to start a food business but don’t have enough funding, there are a few strategies you can consider to help make up for the shortfall.
One way is to look into short-term credit or equity partners who can provide extra capital when you need it most.
Take Cameron Hughes Wines, who found success by purchasing bulk wine from producers and then selling it under their own brand name.
The costs of doing this meant that they needed financing in order to buy large amounts of stock, so they took advantage of credit given by bulk retailers which allowed them to purchase what was needed and then pay back the money later.
This type of strategy helps new businesses gain momentum without having much initial capital investment.
Another example comes from Justin Gold’s Nut Butters company, where he teamed up with Lance Gentry to take his business to the next level.
Instead of paying Gentry an expensive salary, he offered him shares in the company as compensation – taking care to keep majority ownership himself.
By including an experienced businessperson and creating a network of investors, Justin Gold was able to get access to more capital than he originally had available.
Identifying Needs: The Cornerstone Of Any Successful Food-Related Business
The key to a successful product is recognizing the needs of a certain market and filling it.
Whether it’s simple or luxurious, it has to meet demands.
Kara Goldin saw that her family wanted to consume less sugary drinks and created an alternative solution: Hint, a subtly flavored drink with no added sugars.
It was something that exactly fulfilled their need and ended up being successful despite its simplicity.
On the other hand, Katrina Markoff identified chocolate manufactured in the United States was too sweet for those with refined palates.
Knowing this, she created luxury chocolates that satisfied their need by introducing exotic flavors inspired on her travels in India, creating a brand- Vosges Haut-Chocolat – which successfully appealed to their luxurious taste as well.
Both products show that to be successful, you have to understand what kind of product people are looking for; whether simple or sumptuous.
Find out what people want and then provide them with it.
How Directed Campaigns And Sample Promotions Can Help Your Food Product Take Off
If you want to get people talking about your food product and the story behind it, a great way to do that is by offering free samples to potential customers.
Sample promotions can be an effective way to engage people with your product and make them aware of its benefits.
The folks behind Love Grown Foods traveled around Colorado offering granola samples in stores – a tactic which drew attention and got the word out.
Alternatively, you could also opt for a directed campaign that presents samples in locations frequented by your target audience.
One example of this is Keith Belling’s Popchips business launch on the West Coast, where his nutritious snack fit perfectly with the health-conscious lifestyle of Los Angeles locals.
In New York however, he had to adopt a different approach – handing out Popchip sample bags at not just grocery stores, but also at high-profile events such as Fashion Week.
He even sent personal handwritten notes with sample packages to influential celebrities, in order to further promote his product and build buzz around it!
This strategy proved successful; within one year, Popchips were stocked in 2,000 stores across Manhattan – showing how cleverly planned promotional tactics can bring attention and success to your fledgling business!
If you’re looking to turn your passion for locally-grown food, healthy eating or fair trade into a successful business, then the advice from the Cooking Up a Business book is simple: just do it!
Operating a food business might not be easy, as there are plenty of challenges that you might have to face.
However, with clear guidance and advice from the book, along with being resourceful, creative and adhering firmly to your brand’s values, you’ll soon be rewarded when the world begins to savor your innovative products.
All in all, Cooking Up a Business is an excellent resource for aspiring food entrepreneurs who are ready to take their idea and make it into reality.