Starting a Business in the Food & Drink Industry

Entering into the fiercely competitive food sector can understandably appear daunting at first glance.

It’s an industry filled with plenty of high-pressured challenges along the rocky road to success (ever watched Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares?).

It requires hard work, dedication and it can be an incredibly time consuming process. If you are up to the challenge, though, and have the necessary drive and commitment, it is the perfect opportunity to forge a career out of something you are truly passionate about.

Start with a Solid Business Plan

Starting a Business in the Food & Drink Industry: Arepas Chilli Candy at Terre a Terre Vegetarian Restaurant Brighton - By Annie Roberts

Image Source – By Anne Roberts

Before you enter into the food and drink industry, it’s imperative that you first produce a detailed business plan. This will be a clear blueprint for your burgeoning business, describing your methods and targets as well as your expected finances.

One of the most important aspects of any business plan, however, needs to be your market research. Before your business can progress you need to take stock and make sure you know the market you are aiming at.

Who is your target audience?  Is there suitable demand for your product? What is the current competition? Who will you be competing for market share with? What will make your business stand out when compared to them?

These are the types of questions you must have clear answers to before you begin.

Get Your Finances in Check

Starting a Business in the Food & Drink Industry: Fruit Stall in Dallas Farmers Market - By Alen Sheffield

Image Source – By Allen Sheffield

Equally, it is also important to have your finances in order and have a precise idea of how your business will be sustained. Make sure you know what you will need to spend money on, your start-up costs and your ongoing operating costs.

Likewise, make sure you have an idea of what your pricing strategy is going to be so that you can then gauge your target income. Finances can be tricky to get your head round, so don’t rule out hiring an accountant to help with it all at this stage of the process.

It’s worth remembering that you will need to reinvest money into your business in order to keep it growing. At first this will mean long hours for very little financial reward.

It may take some time for you to break even and it really does need to be seen as a long-term investment.

Check You Comply with Rules & Regs

Your next step is to ensure your business complies with the array of necessary rules and regulations involved in setting up within the food and drink sector.

Understandably it is an industry where there is a great deal of legislation in places to ensure customer safety. You will need to contact your local authority and register your business’ premises with the environmental health service; this ensures that your business is recognised by the local authority and also that waste and recycling collections are arranged for it.

From here you must ensure that your business complies with the General Food Law requirements and that your place of business also meets legal health and safety requirements.

The best bet is to contact both your local Environmental Health Officer and Food Standards Agency (FSA) who can go through the relevant food hygiene and building code requirements with you.

For tax reasons, it is also important you keep detailed records of your income and expenses as well as your employees pay and the payments you make to any suppliers you work with.

You should also be sure to work with a trusted partner in the food sector to provide your ingredients and products – and check they meet all the relevant regulations, too.

If you are prepared to put the work in, have your market well researched, your finances mapped out and your food regulations fully met, then you are all set to make the first step into the industry.

It’s a daunting prospect, but one which can ultimately be extremely rewarding. Best of luck with this great adventure!