There are tons of opportunities in the digital space for anyone to make a living. And if you know how to cook food and sell it online, you can make a good one. Knowing the ins and outs of cooking is undoubtedly an excellent way to make a consistent income without opening a shop or cafeteria.
This is different from online grocery shopping. Here, the foods are cooked at home by you and delivered to customers who ordered them.
That’s basically how it works. But there’s more to it.
You don’t just wake up one beautiful morning and cook food; later, you open a website and sell the food online. You’d have to make specific preparations, findings, investments, and commitments before starting. All that will be covered in this article.
Now, if you’re still in doubt about the feasibility of this business, well, it’s possible to cook food at home and sell them online, although this isn’t joint relative to online grocery sales.
Need more proof? The global food industry is reportedly worth $12.24 Trillion, while America’s online food supply industry is worth $17.5 Billion. These statistics weren’t collated from grocery stores and markets alone; online food sales are in the mix and will soon stand alone as a stat.
With the doubt out of the way, let’s look at how you can start cooking foods at home to sell online and the challenges you’ll face, which are very important to note.
How to Cook Food from Home and Sell Online to Others
1. First things First
For starters, you need to have a passion for cooking. While your drive to make money off the process might be intense, you need passion as fuel.
You’d have to cook every day, and without the passion as gas for your engine, you’ll lose the will to continue. Money is the intent and gets you started, but power is needed for continuity.
So it’s essential you love cooking, and beyond just loving it, you need to be extremely good at it. In this line of business, taste is everything.
If your delivery routine gives customers their meals late, they won’t mind if the taste is extraordinary. So your meal needs to taste better, and you need the passion for continuing even on days you don’t feel like it.
2. Do your Research and Survey
One of the gross mistakes entrepreneurs make before starting a business is the failure to research the industry they’re going into deeply.
So you see people delving into an already occupied lane where the competition is too high and barely surviving.
Proper research can expose you to certain revelations that will make you thrive in your industry.
What are the most popular foods people love and would gladly buy if I make them better?
How are the top brands in this industry faring?
What unique direction will mine take when I join?
These and many more questions will form the basis of your research, so you don’t go into the online food business blindly.
It would help if you also researched the business to understand the laws surrounding its operation in your country. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law with your new business.
3. Pick a Niche
You won’t be doing all kinds of dishes and selling to people, and it would help if you carved a niche for yourself in the growing industry. This way, you won’t wear yourself out with a boatload of food to cook every day.
Furthermore, specialization makes you a pro at what you do, and you can build a brand or strong reputation around it.
Think of your brand as the first port of call for anyone who needs urgent french fries or vegan soup.
While the pressure to satisfy a larger audience with variety might be high, you mustn’t succumb to it.
Carve out a niche for yourself, and remember that a Jack of all trades is hardly a master of any.
4. Branding and Packaging
Branding isolates you from the lot. It gives you a unique identity, and it starts from the name of your business, the logo, its colors, and the inscription or motto.
Branding also has to do with what your business is known for, as seen in the “niche” section.
So you have to pick a choice name carefully. One that is unique and easy to pronounce. Your choice of colors for the logo and your brand in its entirety should be excellent.
6. Unto packaging
Packaging also separates you from the lot, like branding, but it does so in how your foods are delivered to clients.
You need to have a unique packaging material with your logo emblazoned. You could also add table water to the package to create a difference if others aren’t doing so.
Your packaging should be unique and appeal to your customers’ tastes.
7. Create an Online Store
You can choose to create your e-commerce site to sell your homemade meals or sell through Etsy, Amazon, and any other platform where you can rent virtual stores.
Since you’re starting, you can use Etsy, Shopify, or Amazon to gain a foothold in the industry. These sites will also help you with publicity and exposure. When you’ve amassed a certain income level, you can float your e-commerce site and enjoy the liberty of selling in your domain.
Selling through these popular online marketplaces comes with some limitations and rules that you’ll have to abide by. However, you are just starting, and you need a platform to rise. If abiding by some stringent rules would get you the exposure, it’s not too high a price to pay.
This is an integral part of any business, whether online or offline. You have to set a price that will be comfortable for customers and, at the same time, for you.
The essence of every business is profit, and if your pricing is not giving you that, there’s a massive problem with it.
It would help if you incorporated all it takes to make your food ready into the price so you can make your profit out of it.
Don’t overprice it either because you want to make gains. People will opt for cheaper brands.
To get the best out of pricing, you need to have a trusted supplier of groceries that will be fair about the price as it relates to you.
Beyond that, you need to order your groceries in bulk so there can be discounts on them.
You get to pay less for making your meals while charging the regular price. It’s good business because your profits will soar.
It would help if you considered a couple of other factors too. If using gas is more expensive to cook and there are cheaper alternatives like coal, you can opt for them.
The idea is to pay less for all the processes involved in preparing your foods for sale and gain more from the results.
So take a survey and find out how much other brands are charging for the same meals you prepare and stick to that pricing.
You don’t have to reduce the price to bait more customers; your free delivery should handle that. But ensure you’re spending less behind the scenes.
Challenges of Selling Cooked Food Online
Challenges are the norm in every rising business. You’ll have to endure a low-profit margin at the onset since you’re building a reputation. Customers want more quality for a lesser price; you’d have to grant them that at the expense of your profit. However, your business will outgrow this challenge with time and as your customer base expands.
You’ll also encounter issues with delivery. Unprecedented challenges like traffic, truck breakdown, minor accidents, and the like can threaten your business, especially if you’ve got one delivery vehicle or system. The delivery cost might also take a toll on your business, especially if you are starting with free delivery as a strategy to win customers.
Other minor challenges like waking up early at dawn to prepare meals, getting grocery supplies, cooking to satisfactory quality and taste, and dealing with impatient clients will come your way.
However, all these are characteristics of a rising business and will disappear when the business booms to global consciousness. At that point, you’ll have plenty of staff and equipment to handle any surprises.
When it comes to e-commerce, people first think of clothes, shoes, accessories, gadgets, and many other things but food. Not just food, but cooked food served hot.
It’s a niche many shy away from, thinking of how challenging it can be.
But many who have dared the odds are smiling at their success. It takes passion, critical planning, research, capital, and other factors to get your foot on the door.
But more importantly, it demands premium quality in taste and consistency to thrive and succeed in this line of business.
You can cook food at home and sell it online to others without a physical restaurant; you can make it big on this path. It’s all possible because, in the end, you know how to cook and how to make a profit out of it.