If you are someone who has always dreamed of starting a food business in Australia, 2019 might be a good time to turn your hobby into a money-making machine.
Do you cook homemade delicacies that your friends and family are in love with? Then it is a sign to take one step further and open your own food business! It can be anything: a book cafe, gourmet restaurant, home bakery, or even a food truck. Options are endless and are only limited by your own imagination and personal preferences.
Without a doubt, launching a small food business from scratch might be tricky but it has a certain advantage over other business models: all human beings have to eat, and considering the tremendous number of modern dietary options such as Paleo and Keto, it won’t be too problematic to find a niche where you can thrive.
If you believe in your cooking skills and have a solid Business Plan, opening up a successful eatery with lots of loyal customers won’t be too difficult for you. In this article, Zenprint will help you get started with your foodpreneur journey.
Before the Launch: Research and Preparation
Being passionate about cooking and sharing great tasting dishes with others is great but, unfortunately, not enough. To succeed in the hypercompetitive environment, you will need to know how to beat the competition and learn a great deal about hospitality marketing, branding, product positioning, and sales.
Here are 6 key steps you might want to consider before launching a brick-and-mortar food business:
Find Your Niche and Target Audience
Being too vague and having dozens of items on your menu isn’t the perfect strategy for a newcomer. Is there anything particular that you like to cook? Your cuisine preferences can help you focus on a specific group of foodies that would appreciate your dishes the most.
Study your target audience to learn more about the current trends; this will help you create the perfect recipes and a unique offer. To find the most up-to-date information, keep an eye on your audience’s Instagram accounts and favorite Facebook Groups; these two platforms are the fastest to catch new trends.
Craft a Unique Selling Proposition
In case your niche is too crowded, you will need to set yourself apart with a clever Unique Selling Proposition. According to Business Dictionary, USP is a benefit of a product that differentiates it from the competition and gives its buyer a logical reason to prefer it over other products.
While crafting the USP might sound easy, in fact, it can become a time-consuming process. If you are not serious enough about your unique selling proposition, you can end up with the message that sounds something like this: “Our Restaurant serves the best homemade Italian food in the city!” A presumptuous statement that doesn’t give your customers any detailed information about your business. To get the attention, your USP needs to be creative and fresh so people would naturally want to learn more.
Let’s take a look at the company that has succeeded in standing out in a very competitive environment, Jack in the Box. Jack in the box is a fast-food chain selling classic burgers with fries. Instead of following the common pattern, the company decided to focus on a very specific group of people: young people that don't sleep at night.
The company came up with the video that featured the company’s mascot, Jack, and a youngster having night munchies. The goal was to promote “Munchie Boxes” available only after 9 p.m. The audience loved this funny and creative commercial, which lead Jack in the Box to 100% increase in the stock price in less than a year.
Study the Competition
Having competitors is not a bad thing per se. They can be someone to learn from.
Identify restaurants and other foodpreneurs who offer a similar product and do the following:
- Visit their brick-and-mortar eateries to taste the food, look at the quality of service, interior design, and a number of visitors
- Study menus and ingredients to come up with unique products to offer
- Follow the competition on Social Media. Look at their followers, current marketing strategies, and engagement. This will help you build an effective Digital Marketing campaign later on
By following these steps, you will avoid making mistakes that could potentially harm your business and will be always one step ahead of the competitors.
Work on Prototypes
Fortunately, food is quite easy to prepare and you won’t need any third parties to work on your menu prototypes. Stick to one theme and build a menu where each dish compliments one another.
When your perfect carte is ready, invite your friends and neighbors to taste your creations in order to get your first reviews. Encourage constructive criticism to get useful insights and change your recipes accordingly.
Remember that every food business starts with a big idea in someone’s small kitchen, and your friends are the best companions to help you get started.
Set Up the Right Price
Many food businesses shut down due to a lack of revenue. To avoid this situation, food business owners should set up prices that would allow them to stay afloat during the first months after the launch. Probably, you will make little or zero revenue in the beginning but choosing the right pricing strategy for a restaurant will guarantee that you won’t lose money while running a business.
Think About Product Packaging and Design
Now, when you have your menu, USP, and competitors’ analysis ready you can move on to the fun part: product packaging and design.
You might think that if you have an amazing product you don’t really need to do anything else to sell it. But how are you going to encourage your potential customers to try your menu if they have never heard of you before? The solution is the appealing packaging and design.
Packaging is more than just a pretty wrapping paper; it is a key to a successful food business launch. If you don’t have a vast budget you can start small. Instead of working with a big Graphic Design agency, you can hire a freelance designer to create a logo and a couple of brand fonts on Upwork or Freelancer.
If you don’t have too much money to spend on branded packaging, you can always stick to more affordable options:
- Stickersto put on take-out boxes, bags, and disposable cups
- Non-Woven Bagsfor takeaway orders
- Product Tagsto make branded jars and bottles
Pro Tip: When a customer orders take-out food, put a folded leaflet or a menu with your best-selling products to encourage them to order more.
How to Promote Your Food Business Before and After the Grand Opening
Marketing is an essential part of launching and maintaining a food business. If you have a tight budget, it might be tricky to reach your target audience. However, there is a number of proven yet very affordable techniques you can try to promote your restaurant:
One-time investment, outdoor marketing is a great way to target people who live nearby your business. With large format banners and X-Stands outside your cafeteria, restaurant, or a bar, you will inform the residents about your new business and make them want to check you out.
Another outdoors marketing trick is handing out food or beverage samples outside so people who are not familiar with your eatery yet can appreciate the taste of your food and come back later to get a bigger portion.
At Zenprint, we constantly talk about the Importance of Flyer and Leaflet Distribution. An old-school but highly effective technique, flyer distribution can drive more sales as nice images and a strong call to action motivate people to try out a product more than anything else.
To learn more about flyers and leaflets, check out our article with steps to create professional leaflets.
Farmers Markets and Food Festivals
Food events are a great opportunity to network with other foodpreneurs, build meaningful relationships with the community, and let the world know about your business. To attract attention at bigger events, don’t forget to set up a bright, appealing banner or an x-stand and display your food in a way it is hard to resist.
Social Media and Directories
We don’t need to tell you about the positive impacts Social Media can have on your business as you probably already know everything about it. However, we would like to remind you to add your business to platforms such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Business to benefit from their traffic volumes.
The secret to successful Social Media Campaigns is to have attractive visual elements. You don’t need professional cameras to snap perfect pictures, a simple smartphone will do.
Starting any business is a scary and tricky endeavor, but when your mind is set to achieving the goal, nothing is impossible. Take your time researching the market and your efforts will pay off.
To promote your small business, get started with traditional print marketing and order essential products such as menus, business cards, and many more. Zenprint will happily help you get the best printed promotional materials. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us at (02) 8488 3160. We are always here to help!
- Posted In:
- Marketing Tips