What you need to know to launch your culinary business

Are there opportunities to grow a successful business within the culinary industry? Well, the answer to the question, is yes! According to the United States Department of Labor, Employment of chefs and head cooks is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

With an increasing demand for new cuisines such as street foods, including ethnic dishes, entrepreneurs like yourself, have an endless amount of possibilities for exploring business opportunities. Here's a step by step guide on how to turn your culinary concept into a successful business:

The Business Plan

Your business plan is like the “blue print” of your company. It’s the “architectural design” of your business. The key to building a successful business is having a solid foundation to build upon.

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The Business Concept

What is a “Business Concept”? It’s a basic idea for a business that includes a product or service. It is often used as part of the business planning process. From what kind of food you want to serve to deciding on if you want to be a Private Chef or a Caterer.

Another business concept you may want to create is popup dining events rather than owning and managing a full service restaurant. If so, think about the experience you want to create. Remember, this is your brand, with your name attached. How do you want this event to represent you? What kind of ambience are you going for? How do you want your customers to feel stepping into the restaurant? What do you want your customers to walk away with after attending your popup event?

Additional questions to ask when deciding on a business concept as a Caterer/Private Chef:

Who are your customers? Going back to the dining experience paragraph, what kind of experience will your customers walk away with having tasted your food? Will you incorporate meal planning as an added service?

Target Audience

When identifying who your target audience is, ask yourself the following questions: Who is your target audience? What age group do your customers fall in 18-24? Who is your brand designed for? What type of customer attends your popup event, restaurant or, who is your ideal client as a private chef?

Research

Research other chefs and or culinary entrepreneurs, who are your competitors. Not necessarily for the sake of comparing your brand to theirs, but to find out what they’re selling? What’s on the menu? What is their pricing? Where can you add to what already exists in the market? The customer experience? Your menu?

Remember, its not about who does it first, it’s about who does it the best! Even though restaurants or private chefs already exist, don’t let that discourage you! Find out if there are ways that you can “tweak” the business or enhance it. What customers are they not catering to? What makes your food stand out from the rest?

Menu

Deciding on a menu can be a little "tricky" considering you don't want to have too many options, and you want to ensure that you get it just right so that it fits your brand and your customer's needs. Here's a few tips for preparing your menu:

Seasonal and Fresh

If all else fails, you can always rely on what’s in season and fresh to create your menu! You can even incorporate seasonal themes, to use as décor for your events.

Ethnic Cuisine

Explore cuisines from around the world while adding your own “twist” on a unique dish. It’s a fun, way to give your guests a culinary experience they’ll never forget!

Create a "tasting panel""