Easy Way To Start Your Food Business

During these hard days, everyone is searching high and low for ways to earn and make both ends meet. Employment is one of the options. Unfortunately, not everyone can avail of this opportunity, either due to the limited availability of jobs or due to lack of qualifications for the jobs available.

Another means to earn is to go into business which I believe is a better and a more promising option. Here are some simple and practical steps that may guide you in putting up a food business the easy way:

1. Start! As in any endeavours in life, getting started is the most difficult part. Procrastination is the first hurdle we must overcome. We may have the best idea but it remains just that, an idea, until we do something tangible about it. How?

a. Set your goal. If you have a passion for cooking, decide what aspect of your culinary expertise you want to utilize for your business (do you plan to put up a small restaurant? do you prefer to go into catering? will opening an outlet for special delicacy fits you best? etc.) Directly targeting a particular aspect of the business makes it more achievable. Avoid being overwhelmed at the start by targeting several possible aspects of the business at the same time.

b. Learn all you can about the food business and add details to your idea to make it more concrete. Read, surf the net, browse over articles in magazines, attend seminars and exhibitions, consult with friends or associates who are or had been in the business. You can learn from their experiences, be they good or bad.

c. Once you have decided which aspect of the food business you think will fit your dream, think of how you will finance it. This may seem to be a major problem but it need not be.

2. Plan how you will finance your dream business. Depending on what you plan to put up, decide how much you are willing or is capable of investing. For a first-timer it is good to plan for a modest, single propriety business. This is a more prudent step to take to minimize possible losses in case things do not go as expected at the start. Also, this will avoid first-timers’ over concern on failing and affect momentum in your plans. To help you finance your dream, you may want to consider these financing sources:

a. Your personal saving

b. Applying for loans with your bank, credit groups, friends, relatives, or NGO organizations. It is advisable not to exhaust your credit limit from any one possible source. Also, approaching as few as sources as possible (preferably only one of them) allows you more fall back assistance in case you grow bigger and require additional financing.

c. Get a business partner who shares the same passion as yours.

3. Now, you are ready to start your business. Consider these important aspects of a business.

a. Location: This may not be a priority if you plan to go into catering but just the same, your cooking facility should be within the area of those you plan to serve. Delivery should not take so much time so fresh food reach your clients faster. This will also save you transport expenses.

However, if you are opening a food outlet like a restaurant, a small stall, or a food cart, consider a place where traffic of potential clients is from moderate to heavy. A stall in food court in malls is a good consideration plus it may cost less than renting a separate space in a shopping complex (but preferably near the food centre as well).

b. Personnel: At the start, hire a minimum number of people. For a small outlet, a cashier (which may be you), two servers, two cooks, and a busboy will suffice. Using disposables will eliminate the need for a dishwasher. But if it is a stall in a fast-food or food court, you dispense with a dishwasher even if reusable utensils since food court managements provide this. Also, there will be no need for a busboy. Daily marketing for supplies can be assigned to your cooks.

c. Work on all the necessary government and health requirements to open up a business legally. Legalizing your business saves you a lot of troubles later on.

d. Marketing strategies: As in any business, advertising play a big part if your are to grow. Here are a few suggestions you may consider:

1) Flyers to let clients know what you offer and for how much.

2) Offer a special price (and smaller portion) for a particular item for the day. This is to let them sample your food without giving it away for free.

3) Offer a free meal for groups of 4 or 5 (whichever is viable to your budget).

4) “Bring-a-friend” incentives (you may give special discount cards to your endorsers).

With the above guidelines, I hope you will find it easier to START your dream food business soon.

NOTE: There are those who engage in this business who give up after only a few months of operation. Among some reasons for this are:

a. Lack of sustained interest.

b. Realization of a better business venture for them. A change of heart is not uncommon.

c. Seeming “slow” growth of the business as per their expectation. Remember, there is a sound Latin adage that says: “Festina lente”(hasten slowly) which can be adopted in running a business.

d. Loss of patience due to the feeling that the business does not seem to grow at all. Usually this situation happens when we fail to apply simple arithmetic in running the day-to-day operation of the business.

Remember that doing exactly the same thing results in getting exactly the same result each time. So if the amount of your investment stays the same each day, your profit will be as was yesterday’s as well. What to do? This may seem to be a slow process BUT it surely works:

At the end of each day, compute your gross income. Deduct a certain percentage of that income (1% or 2%) and add that to your investment for the following day. In this way, your investment grows by so much EACH day painlessly. You will be surprised that your investment (and your net profit) has grown so much in a month’s time or two!

GOOD LUCK!

Food Production Still Depends Too Heavily On Oil

Oil and petroleum products play a major part in every aspect of food production from synthetic fertiliser and pesticide production through processing and packaging right to final delivery in the shops.

The industry is one of the biggest users of fossil fuels and therefore is often at the mercy of fluctuations in oil and petrol prices as well as being both energy inefficient and unsustainable as reserves of oil in the world are gradually being depleted.

It is calculated that it takes more than 400 gallons of oil to feed one person for a year in the USA. Approximately a third of this goes to the manufacture of fertilisers, while another fifth is used in farm machinery. Add in the costs of the machinery that processes and packages the food and the transportation costs to the point of sale and these together explain that figure of 400 gallons per person per year.

In terms of energy conversion this food production system means that it takes three calories of energy for every single calorie of edible food produced on average. The difference when this calculation is applied to grain-fed beef is an astonishing 35 calories of energy for every one calorie of beef. Both these figures exclude the additional cost of energy input involved in food processing and transportation.

Those who advocate sustainable and organic farming point out that it is the industrial system of food production that accounts for what is argued to be such an inefficient use of energy.

The chief culprit, they say, is the amount of energy that goes into producing artificial fertilisers and pesticides, derived from such things as nitrogen or natural gas. It is calculated that as much as 40% of the energy that goes into the food production system goes into this part of the process.

It is also argued that the need for these products is precisely because of the structure of the food production system, both meat and vegetables, which have become increasingly produced in concentrated and specific areas of many countries.

Over time, such concentrated activity has depleted the nutrition of the soil, damaged ecosystems and polluted water supplies. There have also been increasing concerns about the long-term effects on human health of the residues of such chemicals in food.

Systems such as integrated pest management, organic farming and the use of more natural, low-chemical agricultural products are part of moving to more sustainable farming methods.

Using natural sources for biopesticides, yield enhancers and biofungicides can protect the land and crops and increase crop yields while leaving little or no residue in the food produced and this is the focus of the research and products being developed by biopesticides developers.

Such low-chem agricultural products are gradually replacing the older generation of artificial fertilisers and pesticides which are being withdrawn or phased out by many governments around the world. However, the process of getting this new, healthier generation of products tested, registered and licensed is both costly and lengthy. The process has also not so far been harmonised across the world and the need to do so is becoming increasingly urgent.

Other measures to reduce the energy inefficiency in food production include buying locally and organically produced food as well as reducing the amount of packaging used. While plainly consumers can take action about what they buy for themselves, they can also pressure the bigger food store chains to source more locally as well as to cut back on packaging.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Preparing for Your Food Product Development Consultation

Whether you’re scaling an established product line or creating something entirely new from scratch, your food product development consultation will set the tone for the rest of the collaboration. It pays to be prepared – this guide will help you gather the materials and information that your development company will surely request.

Understanding Food Product Development

If this is your first time working with a product development firm, it helps to familiarize yourself with the services typically offered. Some firms keep things relatively basic – going no further than typical consulting – and others will have full scale laboratories that can analyze your product from top to bottom completely in-house.

Full service firms even have marketing experts on staff to direct everything from market research to launch, and development companies often have close connections with graphic designers and packaging agencies as well. Scour every development company website you can find so that you’ll know what the development company can likely handle and what you’ll have to take to a third-party resource.

What You Will Need

A strong description of your goals, current capabilities, and long-term projections are necessary. Your product development firm needs to know which resources you have at your disposal and how you plan to scale your product in the future.

Goals are important, but your recipe will take center stage. Your recipe should detail a list of ingredients by weight, the quality standards you use to choose ingredients, whether your ingredients are wet or dry, and the brands or formulations that you prefer. A detailed explanation of your current production process is also important: how long you marinade certain ingredients, whether you stir gently or vigorously, cooking and cooling times, etc.

The food product development company will also want a sample of your recipe as you make it.

Other non-recipe related requirements will include a workable budget and projections for scaling needs. You will also need to have a good idea of how you will approach production now and in the future – whether you use a co-packer, shared kitchen, or your own commercial prep space. These will all affect the way the development firm will approach your new commercially-viable product.

Before talking to any development firm, you’ll want to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The firm itself often provides this agreement – a firm that starts asking questions without an agreement should raise red flags. Stories of stolen recipes are rare, but surprisingly there is a market for such things.

Don’t worry about having every single piece of information documented and filed. The entire job of a food development company is to make the process easier for you, whether you are a brand new startup or an experienced culinary genius. Just get out there, keep an open mind, and let your initial consultation serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for the lengthy development process.