What is homemade food as a business? It’s exactly what it sounds like — people cooking food in their own home kitchen and then selling it. It has become its own industry.
In fact, the homemade food industry is huge. It eclipsed $20 billion in 2019, and all indicators show that it grew considerably in 2020. 2021 is not showing any signs of slowing down. Tons of people are putting their own kitchen to work to make extra money, and it’s easy to see why so many people are excited about it. This is more than just finding an alternative means to make extra cash. Running a business out of your kitchen gives you complete control and freedom in how you support yourself. Anyone who enjoys cooking can consider it as a viable option.
So, if you want to thrive in this space, you have to embrace the digital resources that are available to you. Most homemade food businesses use online marketplaces to reach customers. They might build their own homemade food website, or they will make use of ecommerce tools that manage much of the digital stuff for them.
Homemade food delivery apps can help cooks and customers find each other. Other web resources can make your business show up when people search for “homemade food near me.” Additionally, ecommerce tools can give you access to digital analytics and all kinds of powerful tools that help you with the operations of your business.
When you take advantage of all of this, you get more than just a meal delivery service. You gain the power to interact with your customers and figure out exactly what they want. You also get digital infrastructure that helps your home cooked food delivery business fulfill promises and build into a sustainable practice.
There is so much to cover. You can run a successful business out of your own kitchen, and when you find and implement the right tools and resources, you can thrive doing it. Below, you will find much more information about specific apps that can help your business, how to approach your business model from a products point of view and how to get into the startup space for home cooked food. It’s a big industry, but it is one that is broken into small pieces that anyone can handle.
Having a great app for selling home cooked food can make all the difference in the world. Surely, you have used apps to find and even order food before. It’s ridiculously convenient, and if that level of convenience was working for you, it’s easy to see how it would help your business.
So, you’re bound to wonder, what is the best app to sell food? In order to answer that question, we have to look into what makes a good homemade food delivery app. We can look at examples of good homemade food apps, and we can discuss how you can make use of these resources.
So, what makes a good homemade food app? In general, you want three things from any app. First, you want it to be convenient for your customers. In such a competitive space, you are going to struggle if you make it hard for people to give you their money. You need a well-developed app that can present your menu and let people order cooked food online with just a few touches.
Part of that ease has to include delivery. Now, you do not necessarily have to provide home delivery to your customers. Pick-up is a viable option, but that needs to be clear and easy in the app you use. In this context, ‘delivery’ is a word that describes the food getting to the customer. It does not have to be done via a home cooked food delivery service.
The third thing your app needs is promotion. It has to make you visible to customers. This is the key ingredient in how to make money selling food from home. Your online homemade food delivery needs customers, and you need the app to somehow connect you with them.
So, what are some good homemade food apps? Castiron comes to mind quickly. It’s the easiest way to build a homemade food website so that you can sell your homemade food online. Castiron allows you to build your own webpage on top of their digital infrastructure. You get to customize what your customers see, but everything runs on professional software that you can trust. Castiron makes it easy to not only create a homemade food website, but also to market your website.
Other examples of apps include Homemade and DishDivvy. Each explores a different way to connect cooks with customers, and you should explore all of them to get an idea of how the process can work.
When you’re using these digital resources to build and grow your business, you have a ton of opportunities. Ultimately, success or failure will be determined in the kitchen. You have to have a homemade food list to determine what you actually provide. It also helps to have a few business ideas that can bring something special to the table of your customers.
So, what are some good business ideas for selling cooked meals from home? Obviously, the expectation is that you can provide food from your kitchen to your customers, but what makes it special? Are you just committing to an American dinner food list, or are you offering food that is harder to find? Are you providing homemade food recipes that allow your customers to try their hand at their favorite meals in the future? Maybe you bottle and sell your special sauce so that they can enjoy it at the time of their choosing. You could even provide a questionnaire that helps people decide what to eat for dinner at home. These are just a few ideas to help you think about the service side of the business.
When it comes to the food itself, you have two options, and they are not mutually exclusive. You can provide a list of meals for dinner (or any other time of day) that are widely popular and try to beat the other kitchens with your food quality. If people like your food the best, they will order it.
Or, you can try to corner a cuisine that is underserved in your area. If you are the only one offering your special fusion of styles, then there is less direct competition. That helps you stand out as someone selling cooked meals from home that can’t be found anywhere else. You can see how both approaches have merit.
Whatever you choose, it always helps to stick to easy homemade food. Easier dishes are typically cheaper and more reproducible. This allows you to keep up with demand, and it gives you the highest growth potential for your kitchen. That said, if your hook is that you give people the prettiest custom cakes in the area, that can provide you with a competitive edge. Ultimately, you have to determine your own capabilities in the kitchen and market around what you know you can and cannot do for your customers.
The best way to further explore the homemade food industry is to look at some of the most popular and successful startups. Three that are perfect for case studies are Shef, Dishdivvy and Watscooking.
Shef is a homemade food startup that streamlines the customer experience. You can choose a chef or a type of dish. The app will help pair you with a home kitchen that makes the food you want. You then get to pick your food, and it will be delivered. The food comes refrigerated, so customers only have to heat it up and eat it. It’s quite simple, and Shef focuses on certifying that food is safe and authentic. It provides a wide range of cuisines, and it allows tons of aspiring home kitchen cooks to break into the market.
DishDivvy is a startup that pairs local home cooks with customers. The primary difference is that DishDivvy does not provide delivery. Instead, customers pick up their meals curbside, and they get to enjoy the food hot and fresh. This is different from other homemade food startups, and may make the buying process less convenient for customers because they have to make a trip. On the plus side, home kitchens rarely have the kind of traffic backup you will find at commercial restaurants.
The third app to explore is Watscooking. It sits somewhere between the other two startups in execution. It delivers fresh-cooked food to customer doors, and it does not require that the food be reheated. That said, Watscooking operates much more closely to apps like Uber. Customers hop on the app and browse kitchens that are currently active.
My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!
The Whimsical Cookie
Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.
Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets
Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.
Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.
I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!
I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.
Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.
Easy to start, created specifically for local, handmade food: Castiron’s website builder was created to help you grow. Create a website in minutes with our templates, sell where and how your customers want to buy, and look professional without being technical. Keep customers coming back with email marketing tools, customer records, and more.
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 pages, sell your products, build order forms, and show off your beautiful work. 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.