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I want to cook out of my home and start a lunchtime food delivery service, but I don't know what to do!
What a fun idea, Tanita! Before you decide, however, please consider the expenses involved as well as the potential income.
Start by acquiring as much information as possible. Why not buy an inexpensive notebook to keep all the information in one place?
Your City Hall will be able to tell you a lot about business license and health inspection requirements. Be sure to ask about costs and please dont neglect insurance (if someone gets sick you could lose everything).
Youll want to make a few decisions about your business structure. Will you have a partner or are you doing this by yourself? Do you want a separate bank account for your business? Your book-keeping will be a lot easier if you pay all the bills from this account and, similarly, deposit all your earnings to that same account. Of course youll want to pay yourself too, but Id advise to keep it simple and pay yourself once a week after all the other bills have been met.
Do you have a reliable vehicle? Do you have a menu in mind? How are you going to let people (potential customers) know about your service? Are you considering a specific group of people as your clients? People who work all day, for instance, single people as well as couples who both work? Theyre usually too tired to prepare meals for themselves at the end of the day. If youre considering lunches, are you targeting seniors? Bear in mind many of the elderly are on fixed incomes and you may not make much profit. Do you intend to deliver lunches to people at the places they work? Will you require permission from employers ahead of time (banks, for instance, have restricted areas)? Have you considered catering to business lunches and if so, how are you going to compete with the people already supplying that service?
Are you a good cook? Are you promoting healthful meals? Have you investigated wholesale suppliers? What are you going to do about packaging? How much are you going to charge and will you ask your clients to pay on delivery?
Its a lot to consider, I know (having also given it a fair amount of thought: I love to cook) and please dont take my questions as criticism or rain on your parade.
Wishing you every success!
In our area, one must have a public health inspection certificate for a home kitchen. A friend of mine did such a business with cakes, pies, etc. She had a special kitchen put into her basement for this purpose. Another caterer I know uses a kitchen in a community hall, rather than her own home kitchen, because of the strict rules. This is the first thing that you should check. I know it is certainly possible, as many people sell home baking at the Farmer's Market, but you must find out the rules for this first.