Step by Step Guide to Start Your Food Delivery Business from Home
In today’s pandemic time people have become very conscious about what they eat and from where they order. Healthy homemade food is the need of the hour.
So, today I have decided to write a step by step guide on how you can start your own food business from the comfort of your home without much investment. It is so easy that any housewife/ food enthusiast can start his/her own business. So, let’s start…
Step 1: Decide your food
You should know your strength and start writing down the dishes that you make best. It can be any regional cuisine or it can be any exquisite cuisine that you are a master of. Here you also need to decide whether you want to offer a la carte (separate dishes, priced separately like you see in a restaurant’s menu) or pre plated meal. Or offer both.
The important thing to consider while deciding the above is how much space you have in your kitchen to keep your pre preparations ready and how much space you have in your refrigerator to store the raw material. Please understand you can’t go to purchase raw material once you receive the order. My suggestion would be to start with pre plated meals and later once you understand the business you can increase menu items.
Step 2: Decide your target audience
Actually step 1 and step 2 needs to be done simultaneously, because, the menu that you decide should be appealing to the target audience. Please understand that you can deliver your food in a maximum radius 3 to 4 km. So you should know what kind of people are in that radius you can serve. Are there too many PG there or there are many students who stay out of home. Are there too many offices around and so on…
For example if you stay in a locality which is highly populated with people from Gujarat and Rajasthan, you can’t offer a non veg heavy menu, otherwise you are planning to fail.
Step 3: Name your business
This is a very important step, because, the first impression on a consumer’s mind is created by the name. The name should tell your consumers what he/she can expect to eat. For example a consumer would never expect Mexican food from an eatery with the name ‘Mom’s Kitchen’.
Name is the first impression you create on a consumer’s mind, and it should be such that the consumer should be compelled to order once. Repeat order would depend on the taste of your food.
These kind of sites might help you in deciding on a name! There are many more you can explore.
Step 4: Get all the licenses
To start a home kitchen, you just need four licenses. Please don’t get scared when you read a list of 11–12 licenses that other websites write about. The below chart shows what licenses you need and from where you can get them. I have also given a rough estimate of how much each should cost however it may differ from city to city. In present day all licenses can be acquired online.
Please note, with the above 4 licenses you will still not be able to sell through online food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato. For that you would need GST number. GST number can also be obtained online. You can click on this link to register.
Step 5: Register yourself in online ordering platforms
I strongly suggest in the beginning, please do not spend on making your app or website. Start with all the online platform available. If you do not have a GST number you can still get customers through sites like Justdial and Sulekha. Whichever website doesn’t collect payment on your behalf would allow you to register without GST. Would suggest you to check online.
If you have applied for the GST number you should immediately start to register on food delivery apps because it takes 10 to 15 days for you to go live on these apps. Once you have uploaded your documents in these sites, you should start doing up your kitchen because these app’s employees will come to inspect your kitchen. Some examples are given below. Check them out!
- Eat Fit
Step six: Decide on your packaging
Now you should check online or websites like indiamart for the vendors in your vicinity who supply packaging material. Get in touch with them and ask them for their catalogue or pictures on your WhatsApp. Most of them will have different rates for bulk purchase versus retail purchase.
I suggest, that you should not purchase more than three to four types of packaging containers. All your menu items should fit in either of these containers. Also, initially just to get the rate benefit don’t order in multiple cartons. I would suggest you start with 50–100 containers of each type. Once you start getting money from your orders you can any day go back and purchase more. This will save your capital as well as space because packaging material cartons are generally huge in size.
Step 7: Decide on your delivery model
This the most important step because delivery cost is the largest component in your business value chain. Each delivery can cost you anything between Rs. 40 to 80.
Option 1 — use third party delivery. There are many organizations like Dunzo or Shadowfax with whom you can tie up and they will charge you basis the distance with the minimum amount capping. There are many local players too in every city so please check online.
Option 2 — keep your own delivery boy. A typical delivery boy in a city like Mumbai will cost you Rs. 17000 to 18000 plus a fixed amount known as petrol charges for every delivery (typically between Rs.10 to 20). This will differ from city to city and hence you need to do some research work by talking to few restaurant people and then decide.
My suggestion would be to go with option 1 initially incase you are accepting real time order which means you are accepting orders on phone and through other means. Companies like Swiggy and Zomato will send their runners to pick up their orders. However, if you are serving pre plated meal and taking orders in a certain time (for example if you are offering homemade tiffin and for lunch the cut off time to place order is 10:00 am and your delivery boy goes out one time and delivers all the orders one after the other) then go with option 2.
Step 8: Market your brand
Create a logo — this looks very heavy work but believe me it is not. For this you don’t need to go to any marketing agency or DTP operator. To do this there are many websites where you can go and after filling some details and it creates a logo for you free of cost. I have given some examples you can click and check out. I would suggest don’t think too much about this right now, because you can change your logo anytime. What you cannot change is the name. So just pick one.
Create Marketing fund — here we need to understand, that the consumers cannot visit your place and understand the look and feel of your brand. Hence it is imperative to market your brand. I would suggest you should start by keeping a fund (Typically between Rs. 50K to 1 Lac would suffice) aside for such activities. There are many ways to market your brand, like taking banners in the food delivery app, or being a sponsored brand in search engines. Initially don’t start sending it right away because whichever food delivery app you are registering in they will initially mark you as a new restaurant till you have certain number of ratings to display. I will write a separate article on how to market your food brand.
Hope I could answer most of your questions. If you still have some you can comment with your email id or mail me at email@example.com.