How to start a food delivery service from home

how to start a food delivery service; how to start a food delivery service from home

Brits are bonkers about having food delivered to their door.

At the most recent count, it was revealed that an estimated 39 million people used food delivery services and that number is set to increase.

With that in mind, setting up a business in the sector looks like an excellent idea.

The beauty of starting a food delivery service from home is that you won’t have the kinds of overheads involved in opening a restaurant or café, yet you can indulge your passion for creating delicious food for others.

However, while you won’t have to hire premises, you still need a checklist of essentials before you get started, from the necessary paperwork to food containers that ensures customers receive their goodies in their optimum condition.

How to start a food delivery service from home

∙ Devise a business plan.

You may be launching a food delivery business from home, but you still need the blueprint that steers you towards success. A business plan is always a good idea. It’s here where you work out who your customer will be, how you will raise funds, and how you will promote your service.

You will need to:

∙Do the market research:

Before you start, it’s vital that you do your research, so you understand the local market and whether there is a demand for what you plan to offer. Work out who your target customer is – for example, consumer or corporate clients – and the square mileage you need to cover to make a profit.

∙Look at what kind of business you wish to set up.

Are you a sole trader? A limited company? Partnership? Or something else? Deciding this will determine what legal procedures you need to follow next.

∙Set up a business model.

What kind of food delivery will you be offering your customers? This could be anything from traditional restaurant deliveries to ready-made diet meals. You also need to look at your pricing strategy and the way in which your orders will reach customers.

∙Implement your marketing and sales strategies.

This is all about making people aware of your services, through traditional media like fliers and newspaper ads to paid for social media ads, and referral marketing. You may wish to do this yourself or pay for a professional to do it for you.

∙Work out how you will pay for everything.

As part of your business plan, you need to assess how much revenue and expenses will be for a certain period. Remember that profit is the name of the game, so you have to ensure your incomings and outgoings are covered by your pricing structure.

∙Get the legals sorted.

For example, if you’re selling food or drink in the UK, it’s essential, you’re registered with the local council at least 28 days before opening. This registration is free and can be done online. Also ensure you have insurance in place to cover everything from your property to your delivery vehicles and workforce.

∙Devise your menu.

At last, we come to the exciting bit – the menu! We are sure this is what has originally driven your decision to open a food delivery business from home, it’s important to be focused when doing this. You’ve done your research, so if you’re focusing on busy professionals, ensure you offer them food that fits in their tastes and lifestyle. Including dietary options such as gluten-free and vegan is a must and remember that listing allergens on both prepacked and non-prepacked food and drink s a legal requirement.

∙Organise your kitchen.

When considering how to start a food delivery service you probably wondered just how you would be able to make a viable business from your kitchen. It’s been done many times before. You just have to get organised. Remember that it’s vital you observe the same health and safety rules as apply to all food and drink business because you will be inspected by the local authority. You need sufficient space in which to prep food correctly, ensuring that there is no cross contamination, as well as enough space for storing ingredients. You may need to invest in a new oven, fridge, and other appliances, as well as shelving and you may need planning permission from the council if running a business from home, so apply for permissions soon as you possibly can.

 ∙Invest in storage.

Storing ingredients as well as your finished product is a necessity. You need containers suitable for each type of product and their transportation.

This is where we come in. 

Venturepak has containers to meet all your food delivery needs. You need it, we’ve got it.

From round containers, square containers, rectangular, meal prep containers, plastic buckets, ice cream containers, popcorn & candyfloss buckets, we have everything covered, plus you can be assured that they will be created from food safe plastic and fit for purpose.

Planning to deliver ice cream? You need to right storage container to ensure that your iced creations remain as creamy and delicious as they were when you first produced them. Retaining your product’s quality is key to your delivery business which is why food safe containers are a priority.

And if you’re unsure what you need for your business, Venturepak is here to help. The simple fact is that if you make a mistake when bulk ordering anything, including storage, it will cost you money and that will eat into your profits, so it is vital you get it right!

You can take a look at our astoundingly versatile range by following the link here:

∙Create a website.

The one thing you need if looking at how to start a food delivery service from home is a website, or at least a presence on social media. This is your shop window and possibly the primary way you will get customers, so you need to stand out from everyone else. It’s important you get your branding right from the outset, with a name, logo, and colour scheme to reflect the identity you wish to project. Primary colours are eye-catching and will work if you are delivering low priced fast food, but you may need more sophisticated branding if you are focusing on corporate clients.  Your website needs to be optimised so that when people are looking up things like ‘takeaway food services near me’ or ‘diet food deliveries’ then the name of your business pops up on Google. You also need to include your menu and price list and contact details.

∙Set up an e-commerce platform.

ShopWired and Shopify are two of the biggest e commerce platforms in the UK. These are software services that help you to set up and run your online business. Others include EcWid, EKM and Square Online store. When choosing your e-commerce platform, you should ensure it’s both easy to use and affordable.

∙Do a trial run.

The one thing you need to do is get it right from the get-go. A good idea would be to trial your service with friends and family first before you deliver to paying customers. You can for example test out the best containers for your product and you’ll certainly need to know how fast your deliveries can reach your customers, so by doing a trial run you’ll have the chance to iron out any glitches.

∙Get ready to launch.

Once you have registered your business with the council, taken out insurance, sorted out your menu and who your target customer will be, bought in supplies and have the necessary equipment including proper storage containers, then you are ready to launch. If you’ve implemented a marketing strategy then you should have already distributed fliers, advertised on social media, sent out emails and paid for advertising online and in traditional media. It’s important that people know you exist!

You can also consider offering first-time customers discounts and freebies, loyalty points, and free delivery to entice them. You may also want to team up with other small businesses, for example local Airbnbs, or craft ale pubs with exclusive launch offers for their clientele.

∙Make sure you can deliver – literally.

Customer satisfaction is paramount. Nobody wants to order that speciality pizza or business lunch only for it to arrive too late or spoilt. You need to decide whether you will make your own deliveries or use an online food delivery platform such as Uber Eats. This all depends upon what kind of business you are running, but the important thing is you deliver. On all counts. Great food packaged perfectly and arriving within the agreed timescale. Hiring your own delivery drivers is probably the best way, as it will ensure you have more control but do this only if your budget allows for it to happen. You also need to create a delivery window, which is essentially the cut off time people can order the food. If you have a fast-food delivery business then you need to be able to go from kitchen to door in about 30 minutes, however, if you are catering for corporate lunches the lead in times will clearly be a lot longer enabling you to work out the perfect time to start prepping the food. Or if someone is ordering calorie counted ready meals from you then you may only be delivering these once a week on a regular time and date.

∙Keep up with changing trends.

The recent vogue for meat-free options looks like it’s on the wane as some vegan restaurants are now being forced to sell meat to survive. This is a prime example where food businesses are having to reassess their offer, and as a food delivery service you too need to be aware of the fluctuations in demand. Also, as a small business you have the ability to simply change the menu if something isn’t working out. There really is no use in flogging a dead horse as the saying goes. But if something becomes really fashionable you can respond to that too. And don’t forget seasonality, special occasions, etc. These can all present great marketing opportunities.

∙Continue promoting the business.

It is important that once you are up and running you keep promoting your business. Some customers will remain loyal, but others will drop off after the “honeymoon period” so you must continue to create interest in your business, for example, by promoting a date night menu or “Perfect Picnics” – then promote these on social media. And if you think your idea is so quirky and original then contact local newspapers and TV stations with the story.

To sum up…

Hopefully you now have a good idea of the basics if you are looking at how to start a food delivery service from home.

A complete devotion for all things food is of course a given, as this will be a business involving long hours and maybe some sleepless nights.

But the rewards will be great if you are spot on with the planning and execution.

Of course, things can and probably will go wrong so having the right insurance in place is important and you need to make sure that you have the right business for the area you are targeting.

If you are serving the community you live in, then you probably already know where there is a gap in the market and that’s an excellent start. Oh, and don’t forget to enlist the help and advice of those who are experts in what they do.

For example, as we have mentioned here, at Venturepak we can help and advise you when it comes to the correct storage you require to ensure your food deliveries arrive in great shape – as well as the number of containers you might need to keep in stock.

In this way you’ll have one less thing to worry about as you strive to make your business a roaring success!