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How to Sell Food From Home In (2024) [Safely]

Food is an essential part of any culture. Not only does it help sustain us, but it can also bring people together. 

On top of that, the food industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the USA. Because of that, there are plenty of opportunities to enter the market. 

So, if you’re wondering how to sell food from home, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll show you what it takes to run a catering service.

We’ll also walk you through everything you need to know, step-by-step.

Why You Should Consider Selling Food From Home

Starting a food business is an amazing way to make a little extra pocket money. Even though you may face a few issues with launching the company, there are many benefits. 

In this section, we’ll dive into the advantages of selling food from home.

1. Make Use of Skills

Cooking isn’t an easy skill to master. There are plenty of tiny details to keep track of as you work. Because of that, learning how to prepare a full meal can take quite a while. So, if you launch a food business, you’ll be able to make use of the skills that you spent years developing. 

2. Low Start-Up Cost

Starting a food company from home should keep the costs to a minimum. If you have a kitchen and a few pots, then you’re ready to go. Any other equipment you may need, you can buy as the business grows. This means you won’t need that much capital to launch your venture. 

3. Unlimited Possibilities

There are countless types of cuisines out there. You can choose any of them to be the focus of your business. No matter which cuisine you pick, you should be able to find potential customers. That means you’ll get to cook meals that you love and get paid for it. 

4. Create Your Schedule

Since you’ll be cooking from home, you get to decide your schedule. You can choose to work in the morning, or at night after everyone’s gone to bed. On top of that, you’ll get to pick the clients that you want to work with. 

Problems With Selling Food From Home

While selling homemade food can be lucrative, there are a few common issues you may face. In this section, we’ll dive into the drawbacks of launching a catering service from home. 

1. Major Time Commitment

Many people don’t know this, but cooking a full meal will take some time. You have to do all the prep work, like chopping vegetables and washing them out. 

After that, you’ll spend time cooking your ingredients. Because of that, it’ll take at least a few hours until the food is ready to eat. 

Unfortunately, that means you won’t be able to prepare that many meals per day. Unless you hire help, you’ll find that you’re spending most of your days in the kitchen. 

This can be demotivating to new chefs starting a business. 

2. Quantities Can Affect Recipes

If you’re not an experienced cook, chances are you’ll need to follow recipes. This is easy enough to do when you’re making small meals. 

However, as a catering service, you’ll need large quantities of everything. That means doubling and sometimes tripling a recipe. 

Sadly, this sounds much easier than it is in practice. When you’re making big batches of food, the recipe ratios can change. 

You may have to add a little extra of a certain ingredient to balance out the dish. Figuring this out on your own as a baby chef is a tall order. 

3. Ingredients Can be Expensive

Using the kitchen in your own home will help you keep costs to a minimum. Although, there are a few expenses that you can’t get around. 

For example, some ingredients tend to be incredibly pricey. Components like saffron and fresh vanilla can cost an arm and a leg. 

To ensure that you can fulfill any order you receive, you’ll need to have these ingredients in stock. 

4. Plenty of Competition

One of the worst parts about entering the food industry is the tough competition. There are hundreds of small businesses opening up each day in the sector. 

Because of that, it can be a little challenging to shine in the crowd. 

This may mean that your business will take a while to grow. You’ll need to spend a bit of time building up a loyal client base before you start turning a profit. 

What You’ll Need to Sell Food From Home

A couple preparing meals ordered from their online food store

Before you launch a food business, there are a few items you’ll need. In this section, we’ll walk you through all the supplies that’ll help you get started. 

  • Ingredients: You’ll need a fully stocked pantry to start preparing meals. Some of the basics include eggs, milk, rice, meat, chicken, onions, garlic, and butter. You can also invest in a few herbs and spices to give your dishes an extra flare. For this section, you can be as creative as you like with ingredient selection.
  • Pots and Pans: As an amateur cook, you probably have a collection of pots and pans. They don’t need to be anything special. As long as they can help you get meals ready, then you’re all set. If you need extra items, it’s best to buy them as you go. 
  • Oven and Stovetop: Whether you’ll be cooking or baking, you’ll need an oven. It’s an excellent tool for preparing large meals all at once. Plus, the stovetop is essential to complete any dish. 
  • Computer: Other than cooking, you’ll need to sell your food. The easiest way to do this is online. For that, a computer is necessary. You can also try selling at a farmer’s market, but you’ll only have access to limited clients. 

Where to Sell Food From Home

Now that the benefits and drawbacks are out of the way, we can look at where you can sell your food. 

1. Shopify

Shopify has been around for many years. It’s one of the largest e-commerce websites in the world. Using the platform, you can sell almost anything, including food. 

Not only that, but Shopify can also help you set up your own online store. This retail outlet can grow as the business expands. 

  • Fees/Commission: Shopify’s basic plan will run you about $33. Plus, if you use a third-party payment service, it’ll charge up to 2% in sales fees.  
  • Payment Methods: Shopify supports Paypal, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. 

2. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a beginner-friendly e-commerce website. So, when launching a new food business, you can use the platform to sell your products. 

Besides that, the store can help promote your dishes on social media. This will open up your company to a wide array of audiences. 

  • Fees/Commission: Listing any food item on Facebook Marketplace is free. Although, it charges a 4% sales fee, with a minimum of 40 cents. 
  • Payment Methods: In the Marketplace, you can use PayPal, credit cards, and debit cards. 

3. Bonanza

Bonanza is another great option for selling food online. It’ll provide you with a customizable page called a “Booth”. 

There you’ll get to choose what you sell, and how you promote it. On top of that, Bonanza offers a 14-day free trial. So, you get to test out the service before you make a commitment.

  • Fees/Commission: Listing items on Bonanza comes at no cost. However, the platform charges a flat-rate transaction fee of 25 cents on all sales. 
  • Payment Methods: On Bonanza, you can pay with Stripe or PayPal.

How to Sell Food From Home: Step-By-Step Instructions

With the basics out of the way, we can jump into what you’ll need to do to get started. Here are the steps you can follow to sell food from home.  

Step 1: Check the Food Laws in Your Area

Food isn’t like any other product you may sell online. There are food safety concerns that you have to take into account. 

Since people will eat the meals you prepared, they have to meet certain criteria. These regulations change depending on the state you live in. 

When selling food, you have to be aware of Cottage Food Law. This details what you’re allowed to cook and distribute from home. 

So, before you head to the kitchen, check your state’s regulations. Figure out what licenses you’ll need to apply for and how long it’ll take to get them. 

Other than that, it’s crucial that you schedule an inspection for your kitchen. An agent from the public health department will need to examine the area. 

That way, they can ensure it’s safe to prepare large quantities of food in the space.  

Finally, you’ll need to obtain a business license or permit. 

Step 2: Decide on a Menu

Once you’ve figured out governmental regulations, you can move on to the menu. In this part, you’ll focus on deciding what food you’ll offer. 

You can choose to specialize in one cuisine or provide a fusion of a few food types. After that, plan out the dishes that you can cook.

Write down any recipes you don’t know by heart and find out what ingredients you’ll need. 

Step 3: Look for Suppliers

Now that you know what ingredients you need, it’s time to go out and buy them. Some people like to head out to their local farmer’s market for supplies. 

Although, this can get quite expensive in the long run. Because of that, it’s a good idea to find a specialized vendor. 

They’ll be able to sell you produce in bulk and give you good deals to boot. 

Step 4: Decide on Pricing

After buying your ingredients, you should have a rough idea of your costs. Yet, there are other factors that’ll affect the pricing.

You have to remember that your effort is valuable. So, you need to take the time you spent in the kitchen into account. 

Other than that, consider the amount of gas and electricity you need to prepare the meals. 

Finally, check your competitors’ price lists. This will allow you to gauge how much clients are willing to pay for specific dishes. 

A combination of these factors will help you set the price of your products. 

Step 5: Choose Where to Sell Your Food

With the pricing out of the way, you’re ready to sell your food. You can choose one of the three platforms that we mentioned above. 

These should all be able to help you get your food business up and running. 

You may also opt for a personal online store. Although, setting this up on your own can take a lot of time. 

Step 6: Package and Ship Your Orders

At this point, your website should have started to gain traction. That means the orders will start rolling in. 

All that’s left is to cook and package up your food. While you do that, ensure that you use airtight containers. 

This will keep the meals safe while they travel to their destination. 

Things to Consider When Selling Food From Home

Starting a new food business can be a little overwhelming. So, to help you out, here are a couple of factors that you’ll need to consider. 

Check if the Food Industry Is Right for You

As we mentioned, there’s plenty of competition in the food industry. Because of that, it’ll take determination and grit to succeed. 

You have to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort when you first launch. Plus, keep in mind that it’ll take a while to generate profits. 

So, if you don’t have a passion for cooking, it’ll be tough to stay motivated. 

Delivery Services

A close-up of delivery man delivering food to a woman at home

Other than shipping out your food, you can choose to use a delivery service. This is typically much faster, which means you’ll be able to distribute more meals per day. 

Yet, these services come at an additional expense. You’ll have to pay the driver and the cost of gas. 

To help you get started, here’s a list of the best food delivery services.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Food Business Is Most Profitable?

Restaurants typically generate the most profit in the food industry. Catering services come in at a close second. 

Which Food Is Easy to Sell?

Usually, sandwiches are the easiest dishes to sell. They’re simple to prepare, and they appeal to a wide range of customers. 

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

If you’re undecided about selling food, here are a few other similar ventures.

Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to sell food from home isn’t all that complicated. Start by investigating the laws in your state.

After that, decide on a menu and look for suppliers. Then, choose a pricing scheme and where you want to sell your food. 

Finally, package your meals and ship them out. 

Did our guide help you find out how to sell food from home? Comment down below and let us know your thoughts. 

Plus, don’t forget to share the article with any chefs in your circle.

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