With the global success of reality television concepts such as MasterChef, and the growing brands of celebrity chefs, the food and restaurant industry has become one to be reckoned with. From high-end restaurants to pop-up bars, consumers are always looking for the next exciting invention to titillate their taste buds. If you are using time at home to consider new business ventures, or even side-businesses to keep yourself engaged and your portfolio growing, looking to the food industry could be a very smart idea – if you can find that all-important niche in the market.
There are plenty of business opportunities in the food industry, from retail to supply, in many different forms. All have their advantages and pitfalls. Below are a few options you may want to consider; or you could invent your own completely new idea to blow the market apart!
The most well-known and publicised businesses in the food industry are those which provide the general public with meals and foods in different formats. The possibilities here are endless:
High-end restaurants are gaining in popularity and adventurousness. However, there is also a market for independent eateries in global cuisines, and even restaurants with a particular theme can attract high footfall. If you can make your premises Instagram-friendly, that can be a brilliant way to market and attract potential customers.
This is the business which requires the least amount of capital in order to get off the ground. Ingredients are cheap, your product can be made in quantity, and delicious novelty baking and pastry work will never go out of fashion.
An area of huge competition, particularly from global brands such as Starbucks and Costa, the coffee shop is a staple of most people’s routine. It can be a hard market to break into, but if you find yourself a stand-out model, and a delicious product, the rewards can be great.
Pop-Up Stalls and Food Trucks
A brilliant option for someone considering a side-venture, pop-up stalls are trendy and attract great word of mouth in particular areas. Another benefit is your ability to adapt and specialise the product you are selling, from ice-creams to street-food, or any exciting and fresh idea.
Catering and Supply
If you would prefer to work more exclusively or behind-the-scenes, a catering or supply business might be more up your street.
Catering companies offer services to other businesses, for example for conferences, meetings or other events. This can be highly lucrative, particularly if you are able to produce high-quality options in reasonable quantities.
On the other side of catering, these services are geared towards private events such as weddings, birthdays or similar functions. If you can build a business which feels exclusive and personalised, this would be a fantastic area to look into.
Research and Creation
Finally, if you are more interested in the development of new foods and cuisines, it may be worth investigating routes into the production and creation of dishes. This is a fascinating and often-hidden world which can offer interesting and lucrative business opportunities.
Ingredient production is a huge part of the industry, and one it is hard to find a foothold in given the number of big companies already out there. It will also require large start-up costs due to the equipment, infrastructure and real-estate required. However, investigating new and upcoming trends such as the desire for gluten-free and vegan alternatives may yield niches that can be occupied with great success.
Perhaps the most exciting area to work in is the creation and invention of new food combinations. Many big supermarkets use in-house teams to develop new recipes, but others do outsource. If you have the skill or desire to start experimenting with flavour combinations, this could be a perfect area to explore. When building your dishes, especially using complex or chemical ingredients, make sure you are sourcing from reputable sources or a company trusted by the world’s top food researchers. This will help you to keep any inventions within food safety laws, and make them more tempting to buyers and investors.
In short, the food industry is ripe to be explored, and well worthy of further research. If you are planning a new business venture, you must first choose the area to which you feel your skills and knowledge will be most suited. However, most importantly and as with any industry, you need to come up with that killer idea which will create its own niche in a huge and growing market.