How to Start a Food Business

Knowing how to cook and starting a food business are two different things. While you may have mastered cooking in culinary school, your next step is to learn how to start and operate a food business. You must decide what whether to sell cooked, baked, packaged or fresh food products. You must also decide if you want to own a retail store, sell your goods wholesale, or distribute your goods to other stores. You must comply with all the local health codes and labeling regulations [source: Start a Food Company]. Once you have decided the direction you want to go, this article will help you implement it.

  1. Find a niche Be different. Find a niche in the market and run with it. This might be an interesting and catchy name or a new flavor.
  2. Get recommendations Before people buy a new food product, they want to know that it's tasty. Offer your product to well known establishments, such as restaurants or gourmet shops and ask the chef to rate it and recommend it. Once the word gets out that the product is good, you're on the right track [source: Oprah Magazine].
  3. Register your business All food establishments must comply with federal, state and local food and health regulations. You must register with the local health authorities and obtain a license. All states have different requirements, so check your state's requirements.
  4. Get insurance You can never be too careful. No matter how careful you are in making sure that your product is safe, accidents can happen. You must have product liability insurance in case something happens to a consumer who eats your product.
  5. Compliance You must comply with all health and safety regulations. Set up a meeting with the local Food and Drug Administration office to find out what you must do.
  6. Facilities You will have to rent the necessary facilities to house your business.
  7. Labeling If your product will be sold in stores, you must label the product correctly with ingredients and nutritional value. Get the product evaluated by a laboratory to obtain the correct nutritional values.
  8. Pricing Figure out how much to sell your product for [source: PSU].