It’s also no secret that life gets busy fast when you enter the workforce, and healthy cooking can become somewhat of an impossibility for everyday people trying to juggle jobs, families and social lives.
Marry the two and you’ve got a business idea which could be a game changer in your city – a healthy meals delivery service, bringing delicious, nutritious and affordable meals to the desks and offices of busy professionals who want to eat healthy food but just don’t have the time to prepare and cook them.
So how do you get started and who are your potential customers? Let’s dive in.
Step 1: Research Your Target Market
You’re aiming for busy professionals with at least a few hundred dollars a month of disposable income – so focus on professionals such as those to be found at law firms, accounting companies, contact/call centers and offices. These environments are likely jam packed with exactly the kind of people you want to market to.
Figure out how many office blocks and malls are in your vicinity and then find out what businesses operate in them. Try to find out how many employees work in each business, and gather as much information as possible. You can even use social media to gather information on potential individual customers who have interests such as fitness, nutrition, and healthy living.
Once you have a rough estimate of how many people you may be able to sell to, crunch the numbers and figure out what amount you need to make on each meal to make the sort of profits you desire.
If the numbers work out and you know you can make this work, it’s time for step 2.
Step 2: Get a Food Hygiene Certificate
You’re going to need a license to operate any sort of establishment which delivers food to people. An inspector will likely have to visit your premises and certify your kitchen, which will lead to a food hygiene certificate. This will likely need to be renewed annually.
Make sure you have a professional grade, safe and clean kitchen to prepare the meals. For more information on exactly what permits and licenses you’ll need to operate a food and beverage business, look up your state or country government website and contact the correct department to arrange an appointment.
After you’re certified, it’s time to progress to step 3.
Step 3: Create the Menu
This will likely require some research, but there are several different health ‘niches’ you’ll want to cater to, which are growing in popularity every day.
1) Calorie Counters – Calorie counters are mostly concerned with their weight, and eat a specific number of calories per day to maintain or lose it. They’re generally flexible about what they eat, but they will be strict about how many calories they consume per meal.
You’ll have to do your research on which foods contain what number of calories and offer a mix and match style menu since everyone’s requirements will likely be different.
2) Paleo Dieters – The Paleo diet revolves around eating foods that humans would have consumed before the agricultural revolution. Paleo dieters do not eat cereals, grains, bread and other artificial foods. They prefer things in their natural (or lightly cooked) state, and like simple yet nutritious meals such as steak and veggies or fish and fruit. The Paleo diet is huge and you may be surprised how many people in your city follow it once you get into this business.
3) Raw Foodists – Raw foodists only eat food in its raw and natural state. Some only eat vegetables and will fall into the vegetarian camp, but some consume fish, too. You’ll need to create tasty, nutritious dishes which appeal to this group which will mostly consist of salads, fruit, and nuts.
4) Vegetarians/Vegans – There are different types of vegetarian, with some who will only consume plant-based foods and others who are happy to eat eggs and animal products. The strictest of the bunch are known as vegans, and won’t consume any animal products whatsoever. You’ll have to cater to both, and keep in mind that some vegans won’t even eat from a kitchen in which animal foods have been prepared or cooked.
These are just a few of the diet types which are popular and widely followed today. To offer a diverse and complete menu to suit all types, you’ll need to do further research and try to meet the needs of as many people as possible to widen your market reach.
Once your menu looks ready and you’ve sourced supplies and figured out the margins on each dish, it’s time to go to market.
Step 4: Market Your Health Delivery Service & Get Down to Business
Your marketing approach for this business will need to be multi-faceted. There’s no doubt that having your own website with e-commerce capabilities will be essential as it will allow people to order online instantly.
Example of a Business Taking advantage of this idea: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/09/the-start-up-making-dinner-healthy-fast-and-cheap.html
You’ll also need to reach people at work or in places where those conscious about fitness and health congregate, such as the gym, so consider an e-mail outreach program, internet ad campaigns, cold calling, flyering on subways and at bus or train stations, and potentially taking local radio and magazine ad spaces.
Promotional events like free food tasting at local malls and special offers for gym members will also help get things up and running.
The hub of this business will almost certainly be your website, but it will also be necessary to have a phone number to take orders the more traditional way.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget that on-time delivery is the key to running this business successfully. You’ll need to figure out an economical way to deliver food to offices and buildings across your city. You might focus on a specific area to begin in order to save on fuel costs, and utilize delivery teams who have access to mopeds, motorcycles and light vehicles who are happy to work on an ad-hoc or casual basis. As things progress and business booms, it will then be time to look into a more formal delivery method.
Summary: How to Start a Healthy Meals Delivery Business
At its core, this is a plain and simple food delivery business – you’re just giving it a twist and catering to a specific group of people. The reason it stands a very good chance of working is because those who live the health & fitness lifestyle tend to be extremely dedicated, they tend to be habitual meaning they will probably become repeat customers, and their diets are a huge part of their disciplines.
People always have to eat, and in our increasingly busy and chaotic world, there’s always room for a food delivery business offering an alternative to pizzas, burgers, bagels and fast food.
If you have a talent for cooking and an understanding of nutrition, this could be the perfect business for you!