You can’t just open a restaurant or set up a food truck and assume customers will turn up. Even if you attract them once thanks to excellent marketing, you might be unable to encourage them to return if you don’t have a solid plan. Before opening your doors, you should devise a strategy to ensure that your food business can survive another pandemic or whatever else comes your way.
Establishing a resilient food business is not easy. But this article can serve as your guide so that the process won’t be too overwhelming.
1. Understand Your Industry
Say you love making jams and pies on the side. Making a sustainable business out of your passion would require more than just a stall at the farmers’ market.
Before going all in, you need to understand why your customers would want to buy your products, what they expect from them, how much they’re willing to pay, and where do they get similar ones, among others. This information will help you come up with a more accurate projection.
You can understand the food industry by communicating with vendors, buyers, and customers looking for specific food products. You can also read about industry trends, including those in consumer buying habits, or changes in packaging or labeling regulations. These insights will help you adapt to the market’s preferences while complying with the law.
2. Determine Costs
The next step is to identify the costs associated with starting up. These expenses may include licensing and permits, equipment, supplies, and payroll. If you are set on a brick-and-mortar store, you should account for renovation costs to, say, build a modern dining area. Don’t forget about ongoing costs, such as rent, utilities, and insurance.
Determine how these costs would affect your bottom line based on projected sales volume.
For instance, calculate how much it would cost you to open a restaurant in a specific city. Then, compare this number to the amount of revenue you’d expect from setting up at that location. From the results, you can decide if opening a shop there is worthwhile. If you are still on the fence, you can go here for restaurant success tips and be inspired.
3. Develop A Business Plan
The third step in building a resilient food business is to develop a business plan. A business plan is a written document that outlines the specifics of your proposed business and its anticipated growth. An unspoken boon of developing a business plan is that it forces you to really think through what it will take for your business to become successful.
A business plan should include a mission statement that provides direction for making decisions. This section can keep you on track as you grow your food business. You should also be clear about your short-term and long-term goals. A good business plan accounts for all possible scenarios, too. You don’t want to be grasping straws when you stumble on a financing or a stock shortage.
In addition, you would need a business plan if you’re looking for an investor to back up your company. Investors wouldn’t want to put their hard-earned money on an idea or a venture when it has no clear direction for growth.
4. Source From Multiple Locations
Another thing that you can do is to source from multiple regions and countries to reduce the risk from threats like natural disasters. This way, if one part is affected, you can still access food from other places and meet the demands of your customers, helping you gain their loyalty.
When you source fresh ingredients from multiple locations, you get the bonus of quality products at a reasonable price. You, in turn, build a good reputation for offering high-quality food products. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your suppliers are reputable so that you don’t end up with defective products and lose customers due to poor quality control measures.
5. Adopt Diversification
You can also boost the resilience of your food business by diversifying your product offerings, such as adding dry goods or non-perishable items to your inventory. This strategy enables you to run a more sustainable business and helps protect against short-term supply disruptions.
A typical example of diversification is using a food truck for catering events or parties. It allows you to sell food, beverages, desserts, and other services at events outside your regular operating hours. It also gives customers more options for where and when to buy from you. If an emergency disrupts one part of your business, you can still satisfy your customers’ needs without closing down entirely.
Another way to diversify is by offering multiple locations for customers to visit with their online orders. If one place becomes unavailable due to traffic or another issue, customers can still pick up their orders from another location nearby. This can be especially helpful if an order is placed during peak rush hour, but there are few drivers available due to demand.
6. Reduce Dependency On The Local Economy
In the past, many entrepreneurs had to shut down their business when the local economy turns for the worse or when a multinational company sets up a store locally. A good solution for this issue is to minimize your dependency on the local economy, which can be achieved by diversifying your operations and selling to a broader customer base.
You can sell your products online, allowing you to reach customers worldwide. Shipping can be a logistics nightmare for startups, but if you have a strategy solely to meet online orders, then making your products available internationally.
7. Promote Your Brand Online
Lastly, you can keep customers coming is by promoting your food brand locally and online. Let them know about the items you have to offer them so you can raise your sales.
One approach is creating a website where you can share information about your business and its mission. Customers are more likely to buy from companies with a solid online presence, especially if also provide customer testimonials.
Building a sustainable food business takes time, especially with all the competition. Resilient companies are the ones that can weather uncertainty and change their approach as necessary.
Hopefully, this article has been a helpful primer on what you need to consider in building a resilient food business. Once you’ve read this guide and thought about how it applies to your goals and plans, you should have a good idea of how to start building something that will last. It certainly won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.