Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Why The Food Business Is So Hard To Break Into

If you are a bit of a whizz in the kitchen and you love nothing more than settling down in front of the TV to watch Masterchef, you might be tempted to give up your steady wage, excellent career prospects and office banter for the allure of setting up your own restaurant. The food business is a fickle creature and what is in one moment is out of fashion the next. To make it in the food industry you have to be tenacious, have supreme business acumen, and of course, be an extremely talented cook.

Food businesses take on many forms, from the corporate sandwich makers to the wedding caterers, and the street food stall owners to the restaurateurs. The camp that you find yourself falling into can be a tricky one to discover. You might love the idea of pitching up your fully converted catering horsebox to the masses with your Caribbean offerings, but you might equally be swayed by the formality and rigidness of a little bistro. Discovering the best way to sell your grub to the masses can be hard to work out. However, hopefully, by reading this article you will be a little clearer on the sorts of food business outlets you can aspire to and the pitfalls that you should be avoiding.

Food Festivals

If you are just starting out in the food business, it's a sound idea to make your set up as flexible as possible. You could choose to purchase an outdoor gazebo, some camping stoves, and some tables to set up your mobile eatery at a range of street food events across the country. As you are dealing with food, you need to ensure that your business is fulfilling its legislative requirements. You need to ensure that you have had an environmental health officer at your premises to check out your kitchen area. Your paperwork needs to stringent, as do your temperature checks, hygiene standards, and public liability insurances. This all needs to be in place before you can even begin to think about trading.

Street food events are a great way to sell your food to the masses. Little tasty morsels showing off a sample of your menu will be devoured by foodies who have chosen to come to a specific street eats event. Think about the sort of cuisine that you want to rustle up. You could jump on the vegetarian bandwagon. Perhaps you are obsessed with food from your heritage whether this is food from Trinidad, bangers and mash Cockney style, or all American grits. Consider how best to serve up your food, and consider your eco-credentials.

Being a street food vendor, you will need to price your dishes appropriately. Too low, and you will find that your turnover needs to be too great to make any sort of decent profit. Too high, and you stand a chance of selling very little, especially if the food being served up around you is flying out of the gazebos for less money. Consider the ingredients that you have used and work out how much it costs to cook each dish. Then try an eighty percent markup. If this equates to the retail price you were considering then you are onto a winner.

A pitfall you need to avoid is using too costly ingredients. Buying at retail establishments like supermarkets is not wise as you will be paying over the odds. Go for bulk buying at cash and carry type retailers to get more bang for your buck. While you might want to serve up a red snapper ceviche or a lobster thermidor, the markup will be too high, you won't be able to sell many units, and your profit margins will sink.


If you want to launch yourself head first into the restaurant trade, then you need to consider the sort of establishment you want for your gastronomic delights. Does your food lend itself to fine dining? Or is a less formal eatery more your bag? The answer to this question will dictate your target market. If you want to open up for the busy lunchtime window, then young professionals on a break in the middle of a city center might be your ideal target market. Price your grub accordingly, make it easy and quick to get out to the diners, and ensure your premises gets plenty of foot fall.

The old adage of a smaller menu means a classier eatery is true. There is an ethos of exclusivity to these places and they often charge more because of their allure to the foodie. As you are only just starting out, keep your menu succinct and ensure that you know the recipes like the back of your hand. People want quality not quantity so fulfill this wish.

If you are looking to hire staff whether these are waiting staff or kitchen help, ensure that you check out for some sample interview
questions that you can ask any potential candidates to be sure of their skills. Poor front of house can lead to slow service and mixed up orders. This, in turn, leads to negative reviews online. This can be the death knell for your business as restaurants and eateries rely on the reputation that they can build online. It's vital that you avoid this pitfall and hire the right people.


If you’re considering going down the catering route, you need to work out the sort of events you wish to provide food for. Weddings can be highly lucrative when working out the price per head for a buffet or sit down three course meal. Corporate events can also charge higher prices than your average dinner party. Because they are willing to pay more, they expect a certain caliber of food so you must make sure that you’re up to scratch.

Tweak your menu and practice in your kitchen as much as possible. Hone your sauces, your jus, and your side dishes. Make sure that you are bringing something a little different to the table. People catering weddings are sick of the standard three course meal with prawn cocktail starter steak main, and chocolate dessert. Fusion food is all the rage, new taste sensations are being sought after, and you need to provide this to your clientele. You can specialize in a cuisine but you also need to be willing to try new techniques and understand what your diners want. This is why you must conduct thorough market research before you begin trading.

Get Visible

You can have the most fantastic eatery known to humankind, but if no one knows about it, then what’s the point? Get online, get an SEO bod on board like the ones listed at if you need, and set up a barnstorming website to attract clientele. By hiring an SEO guru, you can be sure of appearing on the first page of Google. With an online presence, your food will get a global audience. With any luck, they will see your website, notice your social media links and start following you.

Social media is the perfect free way to publicize your restaurant or catering outlet. Use Instagram as a tool to display perfectly filtered image of your grub. Show people eating and enjoying your food. And post snippets of exceptionally glowing testimonials to enhance your reputation. Keep the content fresh, regular and relevant. People can be seduced by awesome images, so utilize the hashtag and show your gastronomic delights to the masses.

The food business is hard to break into with restaurants going out of business on a weekly basis because overheads are too much, premises rents are too high, or business acumen wasn’t up to scratch. Ensure that you don't fall into this trap by working out what it is you want to achieve in the food industry and using this guide to help you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Talk to me!