So, you’ve started a food business from your home kitchen and things are going well. Congrats! You’ve taken the first step towards becoming a successful entrepreneur. But what comes next? If you’re planning on taking your business to the next level, you’ll need to start thinking about mass production. Here’s what you need to know to make the transition from small-scale to mass production.
Determine What Direction You Want to Take
Before you expand, you first have to know what direction you will take, and this will largely depend on what kind of business you already have and what your product is. Is your food best consumed fresh, or do you make food that can last for weeks? Do you make meals like a catering business, or do you make drinks or sweets?
These are questions you need to answer because these will dictate your next steps in terms of the following:
- what equipment you need
- what packaging you need
- what workflow you will create
Get a Bigger Location
Another thing you’ll need to do is find a commercial kitchen to rent. This is a necessity, as home kitchens are not equipped to handle large-scale production regardless of what product you are selling.
Once you have a commercial kitchen, you’ll need to start thinking about how to streamline your production process so that you can churn out products quickly and efficiently. This also gives you space for new equipment, more staff, and more storage space, letting you produce a higher amount of products and make more profit.
Procure the Equipment You Need
Again, the equipment you need will differ based on what product you are selling. If you serve meals for delivery, you will need food processors, mixers stoves, pots, pans, ovens, and other traditional equipment, albeit in bigger numbers and sizes. If you produce desserts, you’ll need more industrial mixers, ovens, scales, and other baking equipment and supplies. If you produce drinks, you’ll need vats, brewers, bottle-filling machines, and label makers.
Packaging and Labeling
You’ll also need to rethink your packaging and labeling. When you’re selling on a small scale, you can get away with using recycled jars or hand-written labels. But when you’re selling to stores or online, your packaging needs to be professional and up-to-date with current food safety regulations. Apart from health and safety, you also need to consider the customer experience—many customers say that bad packaging may keep them from purchasing products. This means investing in things like custom labels and printed packaging materials.
Hiring a brand designer can help take your business to the next level. You can also give them the responsibility of designing your product’s packaging.
Optimize Your Workflow
In a catering kitchen, the workflow is designed to be as efficient as possible. Staff is usually divided into specific roles and tasks, with each person having a set job that they need to do in order to get food out the door.
If you sell take-out food, you’ll probably take orders online or through an app. Distribute tasks to different people so that different people can handle order-taking, cooking, packaging, delivery, and handling customer relations.
On the other hand, food businesses that sell drinks and other products with long shelf life can greatly benefit from an automated production or assembly line. It may be better to have more machines for filling up products and packaging them.
An automated production line can be customized to meet the needs of your specific business. For example, if you produce drinks, you can have machines made that automatically fills bottles with products after the liquid is mixed. This eliminates the need for a human worker to do this task, which can speed up production and reduce the chances for errors.
Invest in Marketing
Finally, you’ll need to create a sales and marketing plan. This is how you’ll let potential customers know about your product and convince them to buy it. If you’re selling online, this may include things like search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing.
Social media marketing in particular is very effective since you can create lots of engagements over social media. If you get influencers to support you as well as genuine recommendations, you will be able to build hype that revolves around your product and get more business. However, you should be careful as creating too much hype may lead to disappointment for customers, especially if your product does not end up living up to their expectations.
On the other hand, if you’re selling through brick-and-mortar stores, you may need to work with distributors or setting up in-store demos. You should also visit potential sellers who to distribute your products. Whatever route you decide to go, make sure your sales and marketing plan is comprehensive and well thought-out.
In order to be successful in the food business, you need the right equipment, a well-designed workflow, and an effective marketing plan. But most importantly, you need to have a great product that people will love. Do your research, invest in the necessary equipment, and put in the hard work required to create a top-notch product that will make your customers happy. With a little luck and some dedication, your food business will thrive.