Every food business entrepreneur swears by taking lessons from their mothers and grandmothers. Indian families used to live in packs, with more than ten or twelve members in each household. As well as a Head Chef (grandmother), she would have sous chefs (mothers and aunts) to assist her. They would cook delicious, aromatic food for a large household in fewer than four hours.
We live in a different time. In addition to cooking in the kitchen, men run the accounts and source raw materials at home. However, the lessons remain the same. Delivered on time, good food makes for happy customers.
Start a food business online by following these 5 easy steps:
- Choose a food to sell
- Create a business model
- Business licenses and registration are required
- Find verified distributors of ingredients
- Start an e-commerce site
1. Decide what type of food to sell online
You do not need a master’s degree in culinary arts to start cooking. As a result of the lockdown, many homemakers and home chefs sold food online.
Choosing a niche will help you create a strong customer base if you’re selling food. Consider setting up a bakery in your area of expertise as Maria George Kuruvinakunnel did. A home bakery in India called Temptations by Marie caters to special occasions, and she takes orders by WhatsApp.
Defining why you want to sell food online is also important.
2. Make a business model.
In order to decide what food to sell online, you need a business model. Business models are pretty easy to create. As a result, you will be able to better understand your target audience, your working capital costs, your logistics, and your vision.
With this in mind, we partnered with msmeX, a small business advisory platform, to help you design your dream business. You just need to register for the short, free online course on mojoVersity.
3. Register your business and obtain licenses
Choosing your business model and niche is the first step to registering your business online. It is easy for small businesses to register their businesses. The following are the different licenses and resources you need to obtain. Here is the official government website for registering food licenses.
- FSSAI registration – Operators selling food with annual sales below 12 lakh Rup are required to register (those making over 12 lakh need to apply for a license). You can use this guide to learn more about the different FSSAI registrations that your business may need.
- FSSAI license – Revenues exceeding Rs 12 lakh require a license. This normally applies to medium-sized restaurants and hotels. FSSAI registration is required by law and failure to do so will result in a 5 lakh fine.
4. Purchase ingredients from verified distributors
Your business has been registered, you’ve decided what to sell, and now you’re in need of ingredients. Depending on the size of your business, approach distributors and wholesalers to purchase ingredients. Be sure to keep these things in mind before you search for a distributor:
- Charges for manufacturing
- Raw material quality
- Delivery time and shipping
- Reviews and referrals from previous clients
- Availability of materials and communication
Is there a distributor you can start with? In terms of supplies and ingredients, Indiamart is a popular distributor among food businesses.
5. Set up your eCommerce store
It is essential for small businesses to have an online presence. Having an online store makes selling food online easier. Once you are familiar with the eCommerce business, you can upgrade to a premium store with Instamojo.
To get more sales, your food products should look and sound appealing to your potential customers. Therefore, a high-quality product photograph is essential for your eCommerce website. You can hire a food photographer or do it yourself.
Promote your food business online
Think of all the people who want tasty food but can’t find you. Online food promotion doesn’t require much effort. It’s as simple as this –
- Ask for reviews – Request reviews from your loyal customers that you can display on the homepage of your website/online store. More than 80% of customers prefer a good, honest review over a professional HD image of a product.
- Sell recipes online – Find out how to sell recipes online. Many food businesses also describe how their food is prepared. It adds a genuine touch and engages customers.
- Engage your customers in workshops – Share your knowledge. You may want them all not just to eat your food, but to learn about your process as well. Therefore, hosting a few LIVE workshops is a good idea to build your customer base.