A vegetarian who loves to cook and excels at creating new ways to serve vegetarian cuisine may eventually wonder how to start a home vegetarian food business.
The first thing to consider with any business is whether there is a market for your service or product. Conduct a market survey to discover the percentage of people who will be interested in purchasing vegetarian food. There are approximately 20 million Americans who are vegetarians. Some of them must live in your neighborhood. With an online vegetarian food business, your prospective customers would greatly increase.
Where to Begin
Aside from the fact you will be selling vegetarian foods, your home food business will be like any other. You will need the proper permits to operate your business. With a food handling business, there are even stricter rules and regulations than you may find with a different type of business. You will have to meet all requirements by the Board of Health. Contact your local Health Board to find out what is required to operate a food business from your home in your city and county.
Create a plan of all the steps necessary to get your business off the ground. Do you know what type of vegetarian foods you are going to sell? Think of additional avenues for income, such as catering, gift baskets, lunch delivery services, vegetarian cookbooks, condiments, home canned products, etc. How will you do your bookkeeping - Quick Books or manually in a log? What suppliers are you going to work with? How will you package your products? What is the shelf life of your product?
Additionally, look into how your business will earn revenue - is your business plan viable? Restaurants usually operate on a 40-40-20 basis. That means that 40 percent of the income will go toward operating and overhead; another 40 percent will go toward food costs; while 20 percent is the gross profit. The remaining 20 percent must be large enough to sustain your business and provide you with a decent income. Most new restaurant start-up failures stem from poor planning. The idea you have for this niche business must be able to turn a profit. There must be a large enough market for your products in order to be successful.
How to Start a Home Vegetarian Food Business
Begin by determining the products you're going to make. Conduct a market survey to see if there is a large enough market for those products. If not, you will need to adjust your plan and test the market for new products. Think of your sales avenues - will you sell only locally, will you deliver, will you offer catering services, will you sell home canned goods or baked goods, and will you sell online? If you sell online, you are going to need a website with the ability to accept credit and debit cards. Even a home-based local business will do better with the ability to accept credit and debit cards.
To find out all the steps involved in starting a home based food business in your area, contact your local board of health and chamber of commerce. You will probably need a certified kitchen. Get a list of all that is involved in certifying your home kitchen, or find a certified kitchen that you can rent. Your board of health or chamber will most likely have a list of all certified kitchens in your area, and other valuable resources.
All this planning and thought leads you to the next step, which is to make your business legal and open the doors for trade. In the beginning, it is fine to operate your home business as a sole proprietorship. This means that you will be responsible for your own business taxes. It also links to your personal credit. Canvass all your available funds to see how much you have on hand to start this venture. Are you going to need financing? A great place to get more information on financing a small business is the website of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Now that you know how to start a home vegetarian food business, what are you are going to call it? Before you can get financing, open for business or get your required permits, you will need to have a legal name for your business.
One great resource for this business is The Vegetarian Resource Group. Contact your local chamber of commerce, Lion's Club, U.S. Small Business Association, and other business networking groups to avail yourself of the wide range of information that is freely available for new business owners.