You may or may not know this or agree to this but, food is the music of the soul.
The feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment it renders unto us upon agreement with our taste buds can be compared to nothing short of an orgasmic effect, triggering the hormones that make us happy and elated. In a nutshell, Food is in the top three list of one of the best things in life and it isn’t 2 or 3. So if you’re a food lover and looking to translate this affection to a business, you’re at the right place. Here are some things to do to become a successful online food vendor:
- Decide On Your Niche: At this stage, it is vital that you come up with a specific kind of meal service that you choose to offer. Would you be catering to vegans or non-vegetarians? Pastries, deserts, salads, continental? There are so many options left to choose from. Therefore, this decision should be largely dependent on what you are very good at, already. Decide on which you have greater affinity to and have more expertise in.
- Do Your Research: Conduct a market research to determine your target audience, their demographic and how you can reach out to them. Look at your environment, and ask the important questions such as; What is the most likely percentage of potential customers? Would people in this city be interested in eating xyz? Who are my competitors and what should my pricing system be like? Don’t be afraid! This research doesn’t require strenuous data collection methods, as you could ask your friends these questions, create an online survey and ask a couple of people to fill. This would help guide your decisions on pricing, location and publicity streams.
- Create A System: Set up a model that guides the daily operations to ensure that it runs smoothly. This system should be one that can run in the absence of the owner, and that is where the food vendor thinks long term. The questions that should be asked and answered are; How would meals be prepared? In what quantity? By what time do we start receiving orders such that it is not a big inconvenience to us or to the customer? How do our customers reach us? What logistics should be put in place in terms of delivery to ensure that it gets to them on time? What is our inventory service like? Inasmuch as it’s a small business, having a concrete system creates room for easier expansion and smoother operations.
- Get Branded: Choose a name and tag line that represents the values your food business is associated with. It should be one that is easy to remember and write, therefore avoid all forms of ambiguity. Afterwards, get a good graphic designer to design a logo, labels, thank you cards and any other branding material you might require. This is an important stage that you need to invest in, as Image is everything. Also, use the services of a good printing company to ensure that your expectations on quality are met to bring it all to life.
- Invest In Your Tools and Aesthetics: As an online business owner, looks are everything! By that we mean that your presentation should be at its maximum quality. Look out for good, quality, durable cooking utensils and cutlery that are beautifully designed to plate your meal to capture that meal for your Social Media Posts.
- Take Great Pictures: The Smartphones we have in place now have very good camera quality, it’s time to take advantage of that. Always shoot pictures and videos of your meal in good lighting, either outside or close to a good lighting source such a bulb or window, preferably natural light so it looks soft. Watch videos on food photography tips and learn how to do flatlays. Note: You don’t have to be the best photographer and have the best phone to know how to take and manipulate a good picture. Remember that for anything online and digitally accessible, image is everything. Don’t underwhelm your customers with low quality pictures.
- Publicity: Post, post, post! Use the appropriate hashtags and get your friends, family, followers to repost and share on their pages as well. You can never get too much publicity. Consistency is key. A lot of vendors feel since they just make a particular kind of meal, it may be too much to post everyday, but that is not true. Your followers always want to be reminded of how appetizing and good your meals look. While posting, a life saving hack is to ALWAYS make your prices clear in the caption. Dear Vendors, your prices shouldn’t be a secret or something a potential client should send a direct message for.
At this point, your online food business is up and running and making good sales. Wouldn’t you want to make more sales at an event of over 5,000 persons in attendance?! Well, that’s why the Chaw Fest is about. Follow @chawfest on all Social Media Platforms for updates on becoming a vendor!
This post was written by Ugonna Eronini for Chaw Fest.
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