Building a website for your food business doesn't have to be difficult. Create an online order form or store, accept payments, keep track of customer details, and more with Castiron's food business management tools.Grow Your Business
Easy to start, created specifically for local, handmade food: Castiron’s food business management platform is built to help you grow. Create an online store for your business, sell where and how your customers want to buy, and look professional without being technical.
Food entrepreneurs, this is your moment. Your community is more and more conscious about what they buy and where it is from. They want food made with love. With ingredients they can pronounce. And they want to support their community while doing it.
Castiron is the best fit for your food business because we're not a one-size-fits-all tool. Selling local food is different from pre-packaged warehouse products. Whether you sell cooking classes, need local pick up, utilize pre-sales to plan inventory, or need a fully custom order form — we got you.
No code required. Add products, upload your logo, share your story, and link to your social profiles from your flexible store. We'll handle the tech so you can focus on growing your food business.
Never track down a payment or oversell products again. Real-time inventory tracking and secure payment processing make life easier for you and your customers, and our order form builder makes managing custom requests a breeze.
With our marketing tools, your email marketing can go on autopilot. We make it easy to promote your latest products, announce custom order availability, and stay connected with customers.
Who doesn’t enjoy a fresh home-cooked meal? It’s a classic for a reason, but in the modern rat race, a lot of people don’t have time to make great meals at home. A lot of amateur cooks do their best, but instant meals and takeout dominate a lot of dinner tables.
There is plenty of room for a home-cooked meal market, and indeed it is beginning to emerge. There are apps that aim to bring home-cooked food to the doorstep, working kind of like Uber for at-home chefs and customers. There are other apps that allow home cooks and cottage food entrepreneurs the flexibility to sell their food from their homes, for pickup, shipping, or delivery. A few homemade food delivery and ordering apps in particular are rising to the top, and each has its own take on how to make home cooking accessible to consumers.
If you have a great homemade food product but need to reach more customers without blowing up your budget, an app for home food sales may be the solution. Businesses like Castiron have developed an intuitive platform to support cottage food chefs with an app able to put you at the top of the "homemade food delivery near me" search results. Learn how this unique food-selling app can help to kickstart your business.
Across the nation, more people are learning how to make money selling food from home. After you have a fabulous menu, you need a platform to connect with customers. A food selling app like Castiron starts with a free website customized to your business. Add your menu, upload images, tell your story, and let your fans know where to find your products. Castiron can accept orders, take payment, and help you to manage your inventory in one easy portal.
Once you have your website, your cottage food business becomes visible to internet searches and social media.
As a person that bakes an awesome chocolate chip cookie or creates delicious beef jerky, you might not be the best at marketing. A food-selling app can assist with the business side. Design coupons, send out emails, share today's specials...it can all be done via a single platform. You can stay focused on doing what you do best, while the app helps to maximize sales when foodies are searching for homemade food near me.
Unlike a wholesale food business, your cottage food industry focuses on small batches and delivering fresh products to customers. An app for selling home-cooked food can take a lot of the mystery out of starting your business. Set your hours of business, tell your fans where you are selling today, and accept orders when you are asleep. Check your orders every morning and check them off when you send them out the door.
Whether you are doing local delivery, participating at a farmer's market, or shipping out-of-state, your app keeps all the logistics in one place. The stress of building a business is minimized while you see your sales and profits climb.
Are you wondering if you need a permit to sell food from home? Should you charge sales tax? While every business person needs to do research to learn about local laws and regulations, a good food app like Castiron also provides one-click access to all that information. Simply add your address and the system automatically turns on sales tax. Find monthly reports. Track which ingredients were used. Place orders for supplies based on sales at your last event. With more answers at your fingertips, you are better equipped to manage your homemade food business.
Now that you have your website up and running to answer the need for homemade food near me, you might want to expand your offerings. Partner with a local farmstand and become a top-ranked result for the "takeout homemade food near me" search. Do you want to be able to ship? The Castiron app helps to integrate your shipping costs and streamline the order fulfillment process.
Why is the cottage food industry seeing such huge growth? Everybody wants a home-cooked meal, but doesn't always have the time, tools, or ingredients on hand. Adding homemade food delivery to your business expands your customer base — which adds to your success. A food delivery app that also supports your at-home business will optimize your time and profits.
Depending on your state and local regulations, there are a number of ways to respond to the demand for "home-cooked food delivery near me."
You may have a food truck or van that serves as a pop-up shop at the city park, weekly markets, or seasonal fairs. Your neighbors may enjoy a fully prepared meal delivered to their door. Some products such as baked goods, dried herbs, jams, fruits, and nuts can do well with shipping. If you have a small farm, CSA boxes are a great way to ensure that your crop gets to local tables and restaurants.
In order to optimize your time, you will need to standardize your portions, recipes, and offer an easy way for your customers to mix and match. A home-cooked food app will help.
Using a home-cooked food delivery app paired with your Castiron store can help you to accept orders, determine needed supplies, and streamline your deliveries without skipping over a client.
Your customers have access to ingredient lists, allergen information, pricing, sizes, and reviews.
No matter if you are at home on your laptop or on the road with your tablet and phone, Castiron allows you to sign in and access orders, customer information, and accept payments. Paired with a navigation app, create delivery routes that save on gas, time, and ensures a fresh homemade dinner delivered to their door.
The best part of adding an app like Castiron or DishDivvy to your homemade food service is that you can finally control yields and reduce waste. Send out a email blast and social media posts announcing which kind of cake, cookie, or jerky is being prepared today. Your fans will place an order, which also helps them to plan their meals. Make enough for pre-orders with a few leftover. You are less likely to run out early in the day at the market. There are also fewer leftovers in your refrigerator at the end of the day.
You might be tempted to start your homemade food business using free online tools that are targeted at retail shops or online auctions. Using homemade food websites designed by experts in the field like Shef, Homemade, DishDivvy, and Castiron mean that you have the tools you really need when you log on. There is no need to keep surfing to find a plug-in or extra software to get your online food store open.
When you use a best app to sell food, your account includes a free website. Personalize it with your own images, descriptions, and contact information. All the pages you need for easy navigation are built-in. Just fill in the forms, connect links to your social media accounts, and open the door. If you are short on pics, using stock photos will get you going.
Once you have the basic business description up, your online store for homemade food needs a menu. Adapt the menu to suit your own product line. Create your homemade food list for single serve, family meals, or a pick n' mix approach. Built to help you create a page that your clients can easily use, it includes quick links to ingredients and allergy information.
Your homemade food website will change as your menu evolves. Are your fans asking for a larger or smaller loaf of bread? The intuitive platform helps you to create multiple serving sizes, flavors, or even add toppings. Are you crafting artisan pizzas or baking trays of pasta? Each product can have a quick click and a custom form for special requests. The idea is to make ordering a homemade food delivery easy for you and your client.
Once you have the homemade food app up and running, use it to print out or display order receipts. Tie it in to your label software and create packaging that looks crisp and professional. Include everything required by your local home food regulations such as ingredients, calories, nutrition, and serving sizes. As you streamline your production line, add small touches like stickers and bows that thank your customer for every purchase.
For the home cook, getting paid is one of the hardest parts when you decide to sell homemade food online. Your Castiron app guarantees that money goes into your bank account every week. It provides an easy to use portal to accept credit cards via Stripe. Over time you may be able to expand to include other popular services like PayPal and Venmo. Your app logs every sale and once a week, your profits are automatically deposited into your bank account. Instead of wasting time on accounting, you get to focus on baking more delicious food!
Now that you can accept requests for homemade food to order, it's time to reach out and connect with more customers! Your online food app should also help you with your marketing. It will collect and collate emails so that when it is time to advertise a new product, sending out a message is quick and easy. Get suggestions on how to build a better ad, where to place them, and even what time to send it out. A quality app such as Castiron depends on your success to continue to grow your business.
It's time to get started! Take your homemade online food business to the next level by downloading and activating one of the best apps for home food today at Castiron.
Shef is distinctly unlike Uber and DoorDash. This is not connecting customers with restaurants to deliver food right away. Instead, Shef aims to pair hungry people with a specific chef to order home cooked meals. This is more like a health app pairing you with a doctor.
Here’s how it works. Customers browse the home-cooked app to find a meal or chef that looks appetizing. They place an order, and then the chef sources the food. It’s important to understand that this comes with a time delay. Customers are not ordering their food and getting it in 20 minutes. Instead, they are ordering ahead, and they can get chilled meals that are ready for reheating whenever they like. Shef shines as a way to order prepared meal delivery for the week, or whatever schedule suits the customer.
Castiron is purpose-built for home-based cooks and food artisans, allowing them to pursue their culinary dreams while serving their customers in the most efficient and simple way possible. Cooks from around the world who have previously depended on messy Instagram DM ordering processes or haphazard email ordering systems have a new place to build and grow their businesses: on Castiron.
Whether you sell bagels from your home kitchen or churn out ice cream at a shared commercial kitchen, you’re welcome to sell on Castiron. Join Castiron for free here.
DishDivvy inverts the model used by Shef. Instead of delivering home cooked meals to hungry people, this app delivers hungry people to the cooks at home. DishDivvy emphasizes putting control in the hands of the cooks. The cooks set their menu, price and availability. When they are active, people can order food. The customers then pick up the food at a designated location and receive it curbside.
Foodnome is something of a side-gig app for professional cooks and chefs. The goal of this app is to make things easier for anyone trying to run a home restaurant. Foodnome makes sure that cooks are vetted and permitted, with an emphasis on that second term. If you live in an area where home restaurants are not permitted, Foodnome is not available.
That said, Foodnome allows for more options. Customers can order dine-in, or they can choose from takeout and delivery. This empowers the customers and puts more burden on the cooks, but the extra options can help with increasing traffic.
The downside to these apps is that they are limited to larger markets, leaving a large chunk of the United States unserved.
One of the reasons these apps are springing up is because being a professional home cook comes with incredible challenges. The foodservice industry is already packed with competition, and it’s not easy to succeed. Despite that, the growing desire for access to quality home-cooked meals is creating a space where cooks can succeed, if they can overcome the hurdles.
Food laws are probably the greatest challenge that home-based cooks run into. There are so many food regulations, and they exist at every level. There are more than federal and state regulations to understand and meet. Counties and even municipalities set their own rules on who can serve food and how it has to be handled. Worse, the fines for violations are intense. If you’re planning on selling home cooked food to the public, you must become familiar with your local cottage food laws and home-based business regulations.
Even after you master compliance, there is the problem known as logistics. It takes so much time and energy to run a kitchen. It doesn’t leave a lot left for finding customers and getting food to them. Are they coming and eating in your house? Are they dropping by to pick up the food? Are you delivering to them directly? The logistics of getting food to hungry bellies is not a small challenge.
Food prep is expensive. The ingredients are not cheap, especially if you’re selling a premium product or being mindful about using local ingredients. Cooking equipment is pricey. When you add logistical and regulatory costs to that, it becomes very difficult to turn a profit. One of the most common challenges in food service is finding the right price. You have to cover your costs in order to stay afloat, but you also have to compete with other food providers. It is an intense balancing act.
The good news is that your home cooked meals app will help with the primary problems. Apps automate most of the logistics that stand between a cook and their customers. This includes food delivery, finding customers, payment and so many other issues that all contribute to the overall equation.
It’s obvious that an app can make things a little easier through visibility. If you’re on a list being browsed by customers, that should improve your overall traffic, but that’s not the end of the story. Home cooked food apps offer a lot of services and features that help any cook, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or trying this for the first time. Below covers some of the major benefits of food apps, but the pros are certainly not limited to these few items.
Apps help with pricing in several ways. First, you can browse other cooks’ storefronts and see how your competitors are pricing their food. Additionally, the apps have some price controls and recommendations on them. Some of them use automated pricing tiers. Other solutions, like Castiron or the DishDivvy app, give you complete freedom when it comes to picking your prices.
The primary benefit of using an app is that it connects you with customers. You can build your profile and present your dishes. The app makes you available to a large customer base, and you can even use multiple apps to expand your visibility — you just might encounter some inventory and order tracking complications.
Home cooked food apps try to connect cooks with people who will enjoy their food. If you’re making spicy cajun, you want an audience who appreciates the spicy food. Mismatching cooks and customers leads to major problems. The apps help avoid this by carefully categorizing food and using algorithms to help customers match up with the best cooks for their tastes.
Home Cooked Food Delivery
Anyone considering using a food delivery app to be an at-home cook has plenty of reasons to ask questions and think about their concerns. It’s a fairly new concept, and there is still a lot of room for improvement across the board.
That said, the major apps are off to a great start. You can see below some of the major concerns that at-home chefs face, and you’ll also see how the apps address and resolve these concerns.
Delivering food that is appropriately hot or cold is an issue. It has to go out in insulated packaging, and you’re on a tight clock. Plus, insulated packaging costs more.
The best way to overcome this is to order in bulk, which is something you can effectively do by partnering with your home cook delivery app. They can get wholesale prices and bake that into the cost of doing business. That gives you access to good packaging that improves the delivery quality and extends the amount of time you have to deliver food before it suffers from temperature changes.
If you’re not yet on an app, consider partnering with another local cook in your area to split the cost of bulk ordering.
If you’re going to deliver food during a meal rush, you don’t have time to cook and deliver the food yourself. You need help, and each of the major apps solves this problem in a unique way. Some apps may have the customers come to you. That’s certainly simple.
Shef builds time delays into the equation, so there is never an intense rush to get the food delivered. It was ordered in advance to begin with.
Foodnome provides many options for getting food to customers, and the app can help you select a dedicated delivery service or person to ensure that food gets to the right place at the right time.
Castiron offers cooks the option to serve customers via pickup, delivery, or shipping. Customers can select delivery or pickup times when they purchase an item.
Ultimately, communication is the key. If you can’t understand delivery instructions, it’s hard to get food to the customer. The same can be said for special instructions related to the meal itself. You want clear declarations of food allergies that prevent anyone from being harmed.
Thankfully, each home food delivery app works hard to automate communication and make sure issues are circumvented before they can occur. Addresses are verified before you ever see an order. Payment is automated. Most of the app resources are geared towards improving and streamlining communication.
Even disputes are handled efficiently. If there is a disagreement between a cook and customer as to how the order was fulfilled, the home cooked food delivery app works as the mediator that can simultaneously protect both parties.
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