The online food industry is fast becoming a reliable alternative to traditional restaurants and eateries because it means people do not have to leave the comfort of their homes to get the meals they desire and it eliminates the stress of having to be in the midst of a crowd, ordering food which many people find discomforting.
Starting an online food vending business can be done either from your house, a shop or truck and it all depends on what works for you.
It is a profitable business which rakes in thousands of naira daily once one follows the right steps, from planning stage to commencement of operations.
The society today has gone online, a lot of people spend a disturbing amount of time on their phones, some are so addicted to their devices that they even forget to go out to eat, which is where an online vendor comes in because your job basically makes the food come to customers instead of them going to where the food is made.
Just like you follow some laid down guidelines while trying to open a restaurant, you will also need some fundamental planning and knowledge to start online business, only difference is that there is little to no physical contact or interaction between buyer and seller.
We will help you learn how to start and what you need to start an online food business.
You have to research your target market as well as already existing competitors, so that you can map out a strategy on how to break into the market and get patronage.
A proper research helps you review your business and the options which are available for you to choose from. The study not only provides insight into the starting of the business, it also provides tips on ways to manage and sustain the business.
CREATION OF MENU/SPECIALTY
The selling point of any food business is its menu, this part is for you to decide the kind of meals you will like to prepare for customers. For you to get this part right, you have to figure out what is your niche or area of specialty and dwell on it.
Having a menu is as important as the manual that comes with a new technological device because you are basically telling people what you can do and helping them know how they can enjoy the experience better.
This is a cost-effective business that you can start without breaking the bank. Let’s say you have between N60,000 to N90,000, you already have the capital to commence.
If you don’t have that amount of money, there is always the option of getting a loan from friend or family. But if that does not seem to be yielding fruits, the ultimate backup that people rely on is getting small business loan from banks or microfinance banks.
There can be no food if there are no equipment or ingredients to prepare them with. After you’ve gotten the capital, next step is to figure out what you need to buy.
Below is a list of cooking equipment;
Plates, bowls, and trays
Large cooking pots
Large gas ranges
Paper napkins (optional)
Food storage boxes and covers
Salad bar item
Knife bags, rolls, and cases
Plastic plates, food pans, drain, trays and lids
Disposable trays and food boxes
To get the ingredients will be determined by the types of meals you want to be preparing. But you can still buy the basic cooking ingredients that’s needed for all or most meals eg, seasoning cubes, salt, pepper, fish, meat, groundnut oil and palm oil to mention a few.
BRAND NAME AND LOGO
For many business owners, they do not focus so much attentin on their brand name, but this part is an important yet overlooked part of marketing your product. Also, the logo needs to have a professional outlook, and the brand name should be captivating and easy to pronouce or spel,l so that it will stir people’s interest.
REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS
You may be thinking that since you operate from home and sell online you do not need to get registered, well, the reality is that whether it is remote, mobile or public, once you intend to start a business, there is a need to visit the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to register the brand name obtain an operating permit. In regions where obtaining approval is mandatory, you will need a business license, federal tax number (EIN) and health inspection of your kitchen.
What is the essence of cooking great meals or how will people attest that you are the best if they are unaware of what you do, and this can only be achieved through marketing. Just like your target market is mostly online, you need to have an online presence like social media account for your business.
Here are some advertisement Strategies you can adopt;
Word of mouth – The simplest and most cost-effective way to promote your business is by satisfying your customers. A satisfied client will go a long way in recommending you or referring their friends, family and colleagues to you, and if you satisfy them too, they bring more people and the cycle continues.
i. You can also advertise by creating leaflets or flyers and share on your social media pages.
ii. For an office meal delivery business, it is best to meet your customers personally.
iii. Create an online ordering shop to simplify the process, or set up a website for people to order their meals.
RELIABLE DELIVERY PERSONNEL
Find a reliable dispatch company or personnel who will always deliver with promptness whenever a customer places an order. For some online food vendors, they deliver the meals themselves, but as the business grows, customer base will increase and you may not be able to combine preparing the meals and still do delivery.
PRICING SYSTEM/PAYMENT METHOD
Fix amount that each meal should be sold for, and the prices should be made clear to clients from inception. There are different options for the payment method, which includes; mobile transfer, Cash on Delivery, POS.
An online food business is in the field where health and environmental cleanliness are taken very seriously. You need to get a license from the health department when it comes to food or any intake. Regulatory body like NAFDAC are in charge of issuing licenses for this business.
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