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Old 24th September 2010, 01:55 PM   #1

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Default Meal Delivery Business???

Hi all, I'm new to this forum and the idea of opening a small business all together, so I wanted to bounce an idea off of you guys. I love to cook, this is my biggest passion that could translate into a profitable business. I also struggle with weight and healthy eating choices, as most do. I've often wished for a personal chef to cook healthy meals for me and deliver them to my door, that would make eating better so much easier. So I'm considering doing just that. My idea is to open a small home operated business where I cook healthy meals, >500 calories and $5 a meal. I would only deliver once a week, with the intention of people ordering a weekly mealplan at a discounted rate. I live in a business driven area, population approximately 120,000. As a consumer, is this something you would have an interest in? As a business owner, do you think this would fare well? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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Old 28th September 2010, 09:51 AM   #2

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First thing I would do as a potential business owner is research the niche for this idea. At first it sounds like a great idea, but then I get to thinking of where I live, and the fact that a few companies already diluted the market for this idea. But this doesnt necessarily apply to your home town or chosen business city. I think it's Jenny Craig that does this almost everywhere, and offers customized diets and nutritional help, though all-in-all its very expensive.

$5 a meal seems like it would be worth it for a huge group of single business oriented people but I wonder if there has to be a compromise on the quality of food. And I noticed you said you'd like to deliver once a week. Does this mean if I choose to have 7 days worth of meals (21) delivered, 20 of them would be frozen? I think I would rather have a $5 unhealthy pizza then $5 frozen chicken & salad.

$105(21 meals) per week X Family of 4 = $420 per week on <500 Cal. Meals

Just a few things I thought of. Good luck!

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Old 1st October 2010, 12:37 AM   #3
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I think nch1987 has a really good point. $5 per meal is cheap but when you look at the weekly total it looks expensive. I have a number of coworkers who go out for lunch most days and will spend $5 to $7 plus gas - but would then have trouble with the weekly total.

How about selling to local supermarkets?

In some of my local supermarkets in their section for things like bake at home pizzas they have locally prepared bake-at-home foods. These foods are not low cal so perhaps there is a "guilt-free" niche there.

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Old 27th November 2010, 09:51 AM   #4

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Location: North Carolina
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Food cooked at home is a very difficult thing to sell due to Board of Health regulation, etc. A grocery store cannot buy home cooked food due to that type of liability. People will be leary of purchasing home cooked food for the same reason. They are going to focus on 'how do I know it's a sanitary operation?' and 'will there be dog hairs in my food?', etc.

My thoughts would be: First, you have to find out if it is even possible or legal for a home operation to be Board of Health certified in your state. Many school systems can't even have bake sales anymore because of these regulations. If it is, then I would look at teaming up with a local nutritionist or two and offer to cook meals that would meet with their recommendations to individual clients.

Second, think even further outside the box and think about a food truck or vendor stand outside large business areas. People will buy from these before they will buy from your kitchen, even if they may actually be less safe. I just watched a story the other day about a food truck who mixed healthy items, like salads and fruits, in with the usual hot dogs and nachos, and became very successful selling outside a local college.

Endless research is going to be the key.

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Old 27th November 2010, 07:31 PM   #5
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Hi ashleybrooks! Welcome aboard!

To start, I am going to tell you that I am answering with my 'gut' feelings. They are in NO WAY intended to offend or upset you. My comments are just what popped into my head when I read your post (and the replies).

I was once told that good chefs don't make good restaurant owners. I understand you're not opening a restaurant.. but your 'food supply' business is about as close as it could be.

Now, I don't have a problem with the weekly total. After all, there are a bunch of diet commercials that state 'food costs are extra' or some other 'pricing'... but I think buyers are smart enough to figure it out. If in doubt... simply add it. If it's $25.00 a week, add something like 'that's just $5.00 a day'. YOU do the math so there's no confusion.

Where I really have a problem is this. The costs. You can't control the costs. Food costs change. What about delivery?? What happens when nobody is there when you deliver?? Ok.. you go back. Who pays?

I am not sure what $$ profit you have in a $5.00 meal, but if the meal is more than just two or three crackers... there isn't much 'margin of error'. I really, honestly, do not think it's worth the attempt. I am sorry.

I am saying that because you're only one person. Help? That costs! Car? Gas? Promotion? That costs! If you're dealing with food, it BETTER BE FULL COLOR PRINTING. Oh yeah... that costs.

Now... having shot it down... why not consider this. I will cost you far less than your idea. It will mean only a few hours of work a week. Your downside risk will not be much at all, and your chance for success.... well, that's killer.

One of the most profitable niches online is diet and weight loss. Why not target part of that market with the diet handbook/ cookbook. In fact, it may very well grow into the food delivery business you're talking about... but at least I am confident that you could make the online business profitable within a year.

You MUST develop a list. You create cookbooks and other content that you can sell. If you work this right... you develop a bunch of smaller products that eventually 'spin' into a huge, all in one... gotta have diet and good eating manual and home study that sells for... uh.. maybe $200? maybe $300.?? Maybe more?!?

All of this takes time. It is very, very possible. You will have to get a website and proper SEO (Search Optimization) but it is possible. You may even start local by hosting diet cooking lessons... that's just another slant on the business.

I think you will have a much, much, much better chance at being a success that way... as opposed to trying to be a glorified pizza delivery person.

I hope this helps. If I can help you more... don't be afraid to PM me.

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Old 27th November 2010, 09:07 PM   #6

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Location: North Carolina
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Love the cookbook idea! How about this:

Create menu cards for each day (must be simple, no more than a few ingredients & steps per meal); one weekly shopping list with all ingredients needed for that week.

Now, think outside the box: team up with a local grocery store chain that offers online shopping and make it easy for your customers to put in their weekly order with one mouse click (the store pays you for recommending them exclusively)and pick it up on the way home (or have it delivered if the store offers that).

Now, think outside the bigger box: get food companies to pay you for using their brands in your recipes.

Your only real costs will be printing the cards, and a lot of your time devoted to promoting your business. Because you will have no overhead to speak of, you will make a great deal more money. Almost nothing will be eating into your profit margin. You charge people for subscribing to the service, you charge the grocery chain for being the grocery service of choice, you charge food companies for incorporating their foods into your recipes.

Then you branch out and provide the service as a subscription online to people anywhere.....

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Old 31st January 2011, 03:41 PM   #7

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Location: Charlotte, NC
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Default Cooking from Home

Hi Ashley,

You cannot cook from home for profit in most states, there are some that allow you to build a commercial kitchen either in a separate part of your home, with a separate entrance, in the garage, basement etc. I don't know where you live but some states have what is called a cottage food law. This law allows you to prepare non-potentially hazardous food products, cakes, cookies, pies, breads etc.

There are currently 25 states that allow citizens to bake (in some fashion or form) from home for profit, these states include: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming. Now the law is different for every state and may vary depending on the various counties within a state. Getting to the bottom of who can and who cannot bake can be complex and frustrating. Drop by for a chat if you have questions.

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Old 13th March 2017, 02:28 AM   #8

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Check this out http://otrmeals.com/

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