The food industry is an exciting place, allowing you to share your delicious cuisine specialities with your customers and create a lively atmosphere. Although there is so much potential, competing with existing food services and knowing where to start can feel intimidating. Whether you’re thinking of starting a café, restaurant, takeaway, food truck or catering company, we’ve pulled together some overarching tips so you can get the most from your new venture.
Finding your niche
Before you get started, decide on your sector and establish whether there is a demand for it in your local area. Your unique selling point could be your cuisine, unique flavour combinations, where you source your ingredients or even your involvement in the local community, but finding an area which has not been tapped into is a step in the right direction. Now you can work out your ideal consumer, which will enable you to target everything from prices to your eco-friendly takeaway packaging, working around your audience.
Set up your station
Make the most of your space and ensure you have enough room to carry out your role and meet demand effectively. If you are a restaurant, ensure you establish the correct split of tables and behind the scenes kitchen space, or if you run purely off a takeaway service, find an establishment which will allow you to work efficiently. It is also important to take storage space into consideration, with plenty of fridge, freezer and countertop space which can all be accessed with ease.
Meet industry regulations
The nature of the food industry requires extra planning, with legal obligations required to ensure you meet health and safety standards. Each council will have a slightly different approach, so ensure you check the regulations in your area, or across the different areas if you plan to have multiple locations. From food hygiene to staff training, ensuring you have all the necessary procedures in place before opening day will take a lot of the pressure off, but we highly recommend starting early as it can take a while to gain approval.
Make yourself known
If you’re opening up a new establishment, you’ll need to convince the locals to give your service a try instead of their favourite local spots. Make sure those based nearby know that you’re coming and incentivise them to pop by, getting your name out there and building up some customer relationships. In particularly competitive areas, offering special discounts or online campaigns is a great way to stand out from the rest and start to generate some excitement.
Start getting prepared
There is a lot to remember in the early days, so the sooner you get started the better. As you get caught up in all the basics, it can be easy to forget some of the smaller touches which can make all of the difference. Consider extras such as condiments, napkins, and different glassware and for those offering takeaway services, look into the different packaging you will require to keep customer orders packed without the risk of leaks and spillages.