How to get a Food Business Started: Susbcriber Questions from Marketing Food Online Youtube Channel

Posted by Damian Roberti on

I've got several questions from my subscribers. I want to thank you guys for sending out those questions and as always keep the questions coming. I'd be more than happy to dive into them as soon as I possibly can and create a video and get those responses. And I'd like to do these kinds of Q and a videos, cause I've actually want to cover the question because many of you have similar questions. So it gives me an opportunity to kind of reach out to more of my subscribers, as opposed to just simply emailing or sending back a response. So do keep your questions coming in. I do appreciate them. All right. So I've got four specifically for questions today. I've got my board behind me. So if you see me gazing over just to double check the questions, that's exactly what I'm doing.

30 Small business ideas with LOW investment.

So let me dive right into them. They are actually four fantastic questions. And the first, and I believe it's second or third one it's actually very, very interesting and I'm glad that you asked them. So the first question, and this is kind of a, I'm going to give you my full experience with, with exactly what happened when I did this on my own. So the first question is actually, should I when I start my business, should I get a loan to start a business? That's a very interesting question. And here's why I say that you have to think of it this way, when you start something from scratch and it could be a food business, or it could be any type of business for that matter. When you're starting a business, I personally would not take a loan out for that.

See what the FDA can teach you about starting a food business

When I started our bakery my wife and I, I, I actually dug, honestly, I delved into our 401k. We had a good amount of savings saved up in that. And to be honest with you, we went through all of it. Was that a good move or not? I'm not going to say whether that's a good news or not, because I learned from using that, I learned over the years I probably could have planned it out better as opposed to diving right into something. And just basically handing slapping down a bunch of money up front without having a little bit more of a game plan. It's I don't look at it as being a mistake. I look at it as something just to learn from was it a challenge financially for us when we did that and started it?

Read Chris Freyler's answer to What happens if your card is declined at a restaurant and you’ve already eaten the food? on Quora

Yeah, it was, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna lie. If I could do it again, or if I would go into starting a business from scratch specifically a food business, I would probably take smaller incremental steps. My advice to you is if you're starting a food business and you have not sold it just yet, you haven't got the packaging or you are literally in the infant stages of the product development or, or the business itself, try to start it locally, sell it as you can go to farmer's markets may be presented to local stores or cafes, something to that effect to see about getting the interest locally. The idea of delving into going into full throttle maxing out credit cards, which I would not recommend you do getting into 401ks, getting into those types of things. If you've got them, I would say, be very cautious doing that.

Can you use that to fund your business? Yes. What I recommend you do it? I would say yes and no. I would say yes in a very small, slow way. Okay. To test the market for your product. See the thing is, is that a lot of people want to start businesses specifically. Let's talk about food businesses. They want to take the recipe P and they want to create a business from it, but you don't have any type of sales history. You don't have anything to go on to really motivate you to take big chunks of 401ks, start keeping a credit card bill where you've got start charging things in charge of things, for packaging, for marketing, for ingredients for equipment. Yeah. If you don't have anything behind that to really substantiate the use of those funds, don't do it just yet. Okay.

Home based food business requirements

That's, I'm just kind of air to the side of caution. What I did is, well, my wife and I were both laid off and we needed to generate some type of business ASAP. For quite some time I had the passion inside me. I had the idea to do a business, but I had never actually operated it and had all of the, all of the, what I know now, as far as how it really works and the profit and the profit loss statements and the idea of a business plan. These are things that I really didn't think that much ahead of, or didn't put a lot of time and effort into. So did it create a stressful situation at that time? Yes, it did. Did we push through it and did we create a business that we have now that's extremely profitable. Yes.

But honestly, take aside all the glamour and all that possess about owning a business. It took a lot of energy and effort from myself and my wife. A lot of 12, 13, 14 hour days just to get it started with no guarantee that it would actually succeed. But for me inside of my mind, once we were both laid off there was no option to not succeed. We had to succeed and I had to make it work. And that was my, for me, that was the end goal. And of course that's what we are now. We're doing it very, very well. We have been kind of blessed with a lot of opportunities, but they didn't just magically come to us. I had to create those opportunities. So not to get too far off the question, but if you're going to take a loan out on a business, establish it first give it about honestly, eight months to a year before you start really passionately delving into your own monies.

Is your Food Facility registered with the FDA?

You need to have some type of track record. You need to have something going on that would merit you from actually doing it. Okay. So just keep that in mind. So I don't want to, I don't want to prevent you from doing it and don't say, Hey, don't ever take a loan out well, but have some type a business up and running where you've got some type of cash flow. So you know that your product is just more than a recipe. It's just more than a bunch of family and friends telling you all. That's a great idea. Wow. That food tastes so good. You should sell it. You need to have a little bit more behind it before you start. Just slap it down your savings. Okay. Now, should you save up? The other part of the question was, should you save up? Yes and no.

And here's what I mean by that too. Time is the most valuable thing you'll ever have. Money can come and go and you can get money any time. Okay. You can, you can, if you're, if you're young or if you're, if you're in a position where you have a lot of opportunities or you can make mistakes and learn from them and then keep going on, you can make more money. You cannot get time back. Now you want to save money. Well, that really depends on what you believe as far as how much money do you really need to get going? A lot of great businesses are made with decisions, not with money, because if you wait too too long and you don't have enough time left for you to do what you really want to do, maybe it's starting a business and then traveling or whatever the case may be.

Time is the most important asset that you have. It's not money. Money's gonna come through your hands and go out the door and that's okay. That's actually a good thing. Having cashflow in anything is very good. So did you save up, well, if you want to do that, sit down and make a plan, figure it out. What exactly it is that you really want to do. If you have a recipe, you have a food product in mind and that's all you have. That's not enough. I'm just going to tell you up front. It's not having a passion for making it, having a passion for bringing it to your friends, parties. That's great, but that's not what businesses are built on. You need to sit down and you need to create a business plan to figure out how can I make this recipe into a food product?


Where could I sell it? If tomorrow I gave you a million dollars and I said, go out there and start selling it. Would you even have any idea where you're going to go with it, figure out where you want to go with it, figure out how you want to package it, figure out how much it costs. You figure out all of these different dynamics to creating the product. And then from there that will help you determine, well, should I save up maybe about six or eight months? And then that way I could do a product, launch a, sell it online and get it up and running with a, with a store on Etsy or eBay or Amazon or something to that effect. Or should I just stick locally? What I, what I tell a lot of my phone clients when I do these one hour consultations is that think locally starts small e-commerce and selling it to retail store selling locally are two different things.

They are not one of the same. Okay? If you have no experience with e-commerce, don't delve all, you push all your money into having someone to design a website, someone to create packaging for you, labels and all this other stuff. And you have nothing. You have no idea how that operates. Start small, find local venues, get the wheels spinning and let it go. It's going to take time. No, there's no business ever. That's been become a success. That's going to be happening for you in about seven to eight months or even a year. We've gotten to where we are now, 10 years into it. Is that going to be the same for you? I don't know. You could, within a year be selling a million dollars worth of your product. That would be amazing, but honestly, probably not going to happen. So take the time to do it.

If you truly want to build a business, understand the concept that the process is, what's the most important part of, of building a business. It's not some glamorous thing where you create a website, then you jump up and down and run all over the neighborhood, telling your friends and your family that you're an e-commerce, you know, businessman. That's not how it works. You need to create the product itself, see how it will work locally. And to take those baby steps to do something bigger and bigger. So taking out a big lump sum of money before you even can prove that the product's going to sell. Not a good idea. Next question. All right. So the next one up was about the FDA. So there was one of my subscribers who actually owns a restaurant, which is awesome. It's fantastic and has a certain food product that they want to produce.

But they wanted to see about the FDA registration. So let me clarify a little, something really quick. The FDA, sorry. I have the lights by the FDA. In 2011, it was in January, 2011 created the, there was an active, it was a food and drug administration came up with an act that was actually making sure that any facility that was creating, producing, handling, or warehousing food products, registered that facility with the FDA. And it was really about the food safety. It was really just a food safety issue. And it would allow them the opportunity that if they had any questions or if they need to inspect the facility, that it would give them an opportunity to come in to make sure everything is really being processed properly. It was handled properly invoicing and everything that goes on with the business.

As far as the production of food that a human being would consume, it would need to have that registration with the FDA. And that allows them the opportunity to come in, just to make sure that the facility is run properly and to keep everything safe for the consumer. So if you're operating a restaurant right now, I would assume that that that's, that's probably your restaurant is already registered with the FDA. What I would recommend you do is to double-check with the FDA, if any additional registration would be necessary, if you're already in the restaurant business and you've already got it registered, there would be no need to second register the bit that registered that specific facility again. But if you're looking to produce it on the premises premises, that's already recognized as a commercial food handler. And you've already got that registration. There.

Wouldn't be a need to do it second. And the second time. Now, if you're going off your property, if you're going to off your premises into a commercial commercial property facility to manufacture the food item separate from the restaurant, then I would register that to make sure that you're following those guidelines. That's recommended by the FDA. Now I will do what I'll do is down below in the description. I'll put some links for these questions. So if you aren't the one, obviously you weren't the subscriber who asked that question. But if you were interested more in this idea or what is required by the FDA, I'll put some links down there. So that'll it very easy for you to understand the registration process is, is really, really kind of quite simple. And I'll actually, I'll do a little research and find that specific link to the registration, to the application to make it easier.

Okay. But yeah, I would recommend that, that you definitely want to follow some of the guidelines that are established by the FDA in regards to the registration of the facility itself. And that way it's just, it's really all about food safety guys. It's not about something where the government's taking over everything that you're doing, or they're keeping the big brothers keeping that they really just want to make sure that everything is really kept safe for the consumer. This actually goes for food products and I believe the website, if I'm not mistaken is also for the cosmetic industry to cosmetics and that type of thing that people are putting on to make sure that it's just, everything is being followed by the guidelines they establish. So it's a, it's a good thing. It's actually good for everybody. So the next question now this was really interesting was Uber eats and the com the question was if you had a commercial kitchen, or if you have use of a commercial commercial kitchen, can you utilize Uber eats to promote the products that you're producing in the commercial kitchen?

And I hope I got that question, right. I, I rewrote them on the board here. So here's the good thing. Here's the, the, the good thing and the bad thing. Now, the good thing is yes, Uber eats is a fantastic way to allow your business to grow in the immediate area where you are, right. This is not something that you would ship on through the internet or anything, but here's the, here's the, here's the trick. If you're producing stuff in a commercial kitchen, Uber eats is normally going to pick up products, food products that are like Bates order. If I were to call in, let's say a hamburger fries and a drink, and you had a commercial kitchen and you're producing that yes, Uber eats has the potential to come over to deliver that food product to an end user or a customer.

Now you want to double check in the County and city, not normally the States, but the County and city that you are low, that you're operating in the commercial kitchen, double check with them to make sure that it is allowed through the County and city ordinances. Okay. Because the cities and counties can actually write their own laws, their laws in regards to how food can be delivered or prepared or where it could be made. But if you're in a commercial kitchen, I would say 99% of the time, Uber eats should have the ability to come there and deliver those food products. But here is the problem. Okay. If you're not operating a restaurant, if nobody knows about your food products or your use of that commercial kitchen, and you're producing something that's made to order them to be eaten relatively quick. So let's say hamburgers, fries and a drink.

The, the use of a commercial kitchen costs you by the hour. So I personally wouldn't go, I wouldn't go to a commercial kitchen and rent it for five or six hours. And then how do you promote that? How would you let people know that you were there in order to buy that food product, to have Uber eats come and bring it to them? Okay. So like a marketing perspective, or from an advertising perspective or within the community, you got to figure out how can I make it profitable? Because some commercial kitchens let's say they can cost up to a hundred dollars an hour. If I rented it for four hours and I spent $400 on a commercial kitchen, but nobody knows that I'm there. And that's where, that's where the trick lies. That's where the challenge lies is that you got to make sure you make it profitable, make sure it's, it's going to be used.

If I knew that I was going to get a hundred orders that day during that timeframe, I would say, heck yeah, I would go over to the commercial kitchen and rent it. But how do you market that? You got to figure out what's, what's the menu. What's the, what's the drive behind it. How are you going to get the local community to know that in order to utilize your reads? Okay. So keep that in mind. Can, you can use the service, the potentially yes, you could. But how do you do that? How are you going to use the commercial kitchen at what timeframe during the day from like noon to dinnertime? That sounds fine. But how does the community know you're there, if you were an RBS or a Wendy's or McDonald's, and you're on the corner of the street, and you just want to use your breeds to get your food from you, from pickups and stuff from McDonald's.

Yeah, that would be great. But then again, everybody knows that they're there. Okay. So if you're going to use a commercial kitchen to make your products, you gotta promote it, advertise it, market it, let people know, and then make specifically a menu geared towards things that people will eat in the community. Okay. So just keep that in mind. The next one up the last question I've got really quick was actually was about starting a popcorn business, a gourmet popcorn business, which by the way, is one of the most profitable things on the planet. I'll have to do a separate video, literally dedicated to that. Gourmet popcorn and flavored popcorns can come in a ridiculous amount of horizon. I'll actually show you how to set up a gourmet popcorn business, and you can attend festivals, events, music, art festivals, it's ridiculously profitable. This question in particular was start selling on Amazon.

Do they require ingredient listings and co calorie content, which is the nutritional label. This Amazon, this, this question was about selling gourmet popcorn on Amazon. Now Amazon doesn't really Institute laws or regulations about what is required, but what they do is they want you to follow what the USDA, the department of agriculture or the FTA, any governmental agency, you need to follow the specific directions. As far as labeling the content, the nutritional analysis ingredient listing, all of that stuff they say on the Amazon website that you just need to follow those guidelines. So when you're abiding by the local laws, ordinances and such in the FDA, your state, then you're good to go. Okay? Amazon doesn't really make any laws per se, about having a packaging. Following these guidelines. They simply say, look, if you're going to sell food, if you're producing it yourself, you need to make sure that you're following the USDA, the FDA, and all of the governmental regulations about food production period.

Okay. So that's one thing. That's a kind of a misunderstanding that there's a lot of people who actually asked me a similar question about that. So Amazon doesn't necessarily write those laws. They just say, look, you can sell on here, but listen, you got to make sure you follow all of the instructions set up by those government agencies. So that's the first one. So the next one was if you PR produce it from a commercial kitchen, they make the, the popcorn and such do you need to have product liability insurance and all that? I always recommend it. All my videos. You need to have yourself incorporated. You need to make sure that you're allowed to make the food product wherever you are. If it's a home-based kitchen or commercial kitchen, then also you need to have insurance. If you have insurance for your food business, then you're good to go and you'll be fine. Always protect yourself guys, no matter what, even if you're making stuff from home and selling them locally, have food, producers, insurance it's a liability insurance. It's going to protect your personal from your business assets. Okay. So keep that in mind. So with that being said, I'm going to wrap up the question. So as always, if you guys have any more questions, let me know down below. If you have any questions about these questions if I didn't clarify something.


Listen to "Marketing Food Online Food Entrepreneur" on Spreaker.