The best jobs are by far the ones that don’t really feel like work at all. If you’re a foodie, a career in the restaurant or food business niche can be so much fun that your paycheck takes a backseat. (Okay, maybe not quite that far.) Calling all dedicated lovers of cuisine: here are 10 food business ideas that will ignite your passion for all things delicious!
If cakes, cookies, and pastries are your jam (pun intended), starting a home bakery could be right up your alley. Depending on your state’s laws surrounding the sale of homemade foods, it may be very easy for you to sell your baked goods at local farmer’s markets or even in nearby stores willing to carry your products. Learning how to start a bakery business from home is more than just learning how to bake though; you also need to have good business sense and at least some education or experience in operating a food business. Not only will your product need to be appealing to consumers, but you’ll also need to know how much to charge to make a profit, how to abide by commercial food safety laws, and more.
If you enjoy making smaller portions of high-quality foods, consider learning how to become a personal chef. Personal chefs are hired by individuals or families and usually work in the home to prepare food for its residents. They may prepare a number of meals in advance at one time, or they may prepare a fresh meal at designated times. Sometimes, personal chefs may be “on call” for meal requests. Typically, personal chef jobs aren’t as demanding or stressful as a restaurant job or other food service careers and instead focus on creating meals that meet particular needs, such as cooking for weight loss or specific dietary restrictions. Personal chefs should have good food preparation skills and a background in nutrition.
Recipe blogs are an easy way for amateur foodies to break into the food business arena. Many blogs are free, or you can buy your own domain name for just a few dollars per year. Post new recipes with high quality photographs regularly and feed them to your social media channels. As you grow your blog, look for ways to push your boundaries and expand your brand. One of the key components to learning how to start a food blog is to create compelling content with solid branding; something that can’t necessarily be learned in the kitchen. An education in food careers can help you augment your cooking talent with reliable business knowledge, making you a formidable food blogger with a vast expanse of applicable skills.
If you have an extensive amount of experience cooking and preparing food, consider sharing your knowledge with others who are less advanced. Learning how to teach a cooking class can help you brush up on your own skills as well as help you learn how to develop your class curriculum, how to grade students, and what you can do to help them succeed. If you can’t find a cooking class to teach near you, ask your local chamber of commerce how you might start one. If teaching a class in person doesn’t feel like something you’re comfortable with, starting a YouTube channel could be a great alternative. You can post videos in your spare time and earn supplemental income with YouTube ads as you pursue other food industry jobs that align with your personal goals.
Starting a catering business is another great food business idea; it’s higher paying than many other food industry jobs and allows for a great deal of creativity. Be prepared to work some nights and weekends, and if you want to take any holidays off, you’ll likely need to have someone who can fill in for you while you’re gone. In exchange, develop unique menus and one-of-a-kind dishes for weddings, holiday dinners, parties, and more. Be as sophisticated or as casual as you like, or meet somewhere in the middle. Learning how to start a catering business is certainly an investment, but it’s one that has a high probability for a great payoff. A catering experience certificate can help you get higher-paying catering jobs sooner than if you start your business without any formal training.
Grocery delivery jobs may not be glamorous, but they’re a good resume builder for young professionals who are still in school getting an education. Even better is a position as a personal grocery shopper; some cities have a market for individuals who put together meal plans, shop for the ingredients, and deliver them to a person’s residence. You’ll need to be able to create meals within certain guidelines, taking into account family size, food allergies, likes and dislikes, and any other special requests. These services are often included when people hire a personal chef, but not always. Consider offering your clients an a la carte “menu” of services that allow them to select only what they need.
Specialty food products are becoming more popular as vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, and non-GMO diets become mainstream. Like operating a home bakery, you would make specialty products in a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)-approved kitchen and sell them in different venues. Depending on the market in your area, you may want to make a larger amount of one or two specialty products or you may want to offer a wider variety of different products. An education in food business and related industries can help you better analyze your target market so you can make the products that are most likely to sell well in your area.
A food truck business offers excellent flexibility in the food service industry. They’re usually fairly affordable to start up and you don’t need a lot more than a list of events within driving distance of you, enough helping hands, and plenty of fresh ingredients. When learning how to start a food truck business, it’s important to identify what will set you apart from your competitors (especially since your competitors will often be lined up side to side with you). What can you offer with your current skills and equipment that is a little different than what most food trucks offer? Then, be sure to advertise your unique value proposition prominently on your truck in an eye-catching way.
If you’d like to eventually distance yourself from your food business and allow it to continue running and earning you revenue even after you step back, a restaurant franchise may be an option. Restaurant careers tend to be quite lucrative when you are in a higher management or ownership position, and there’s more flexibility with your schedule when you have others who are trained and able to take over when you’re not available. Look for restaurant franchise opportunities in your area by assessing what you already have in your area and if there’s a gap you can fill. Avoid investing in a restaurant franchise that offers similar or nearly identical food to other restaurants in your area. Instead, go a little bit outside your comfort zone to discover something new to offer your area. Getting a restaurant management certificate before investing in a franchise is a smart move; don’t put down the money to open a franchise until you know for sure what it’s going to take and if you’re all-in.
If you love the science of food but prefer to be more hands-off with its preparation, consider learning how to start a food business as a nutritional counselor or wellness coach. Nutritional counselors are often employed by hospitals and doctors offices to help patients who need to alter their diets learn how to find new foods to cook and eat. However, some health and wellness coaches offer services outside of the medical field for individuals who simply want to optimize their vitamin and mineral intake. When you get a health and wellness coach certification, you’ll help your clients come up with meal ideas that meet their dietary goals, give tips on how to prepare foods without altering their nutritional content, and help them navigate eating out at restaurants while staying within dietary guidelines.
Careers in the food industry can be extremely rewarding for even the novice gourmand. However, today’s food industry jobs are highly competitive and you’ll need a solid education with a dash of experience to go toe to toe with other talented foodies vying for exciting, well-paying positions. IAP Career College offers certificate courses for aspiring bakery owners, bed and breakfast owners, bar and brewery owners, catering business owners, and more.
Whichever career path you choose, IAP Career College offers comprehensive online certificate courses in all of these specialties, so you can begin your journey by completing a course in just four to twelve weeks from anywhere online.